Some of my favorite characters are good-hearted rogues. Their good sides may be well hidden, and they may not always be on the right side of the law, but when it’s all on the line, the good shines through.
Perfect example: Han Solo. He’s a good-looking guy — a smuggler, soldier-of-fortune-type, cocky and cynical. He’s in it for the money. Just pay him, and he’ll ask no questions. He and his sidekick, Chewbacca the Wookie, travel the galaxies, dodging the authorities and bounty hunters, in his souped-up ship, the Millennium Falcon. He’s proud of his exploits and brags of them to Luke Skywalker, when Luke and Ben Kenobi want to hire him to take them to another planet.
When things go wrong and he gets tangled up with the Rebels, he extricates himself as quickly as possible, takes his money, and leaves. He wants no part of the rebellion against the Empire. He finds, though, that Luke’s and, particularly, Princess Leia’s regard is more important to him than he wants to admit, and that good side of himself, buried deep, begins to emerge.
I saw the original Star Wars movie in the theater, and my favorite moment was right at the end where Luke is careening down the trench, pursued by Darth Vader and the TIE fighters. Vader is just about to blast Luke into oblivion, when from out of nowhere, laser fire shoots into the trench, takes out the TIE fighters and sends Vader spinning through space. Han in the Falcon is yelling, “Yahoo!” and everyone in the audience, including me, is cheering along with him. Han the rogue became Han the hero, a key member of the rebellion, and I became a Star Wars fan for life.
© Lori L. MacLaughlin and Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams, 2015. All rights reserved.