“Everyone is the hero of their own story.” You’ve probably heard some variation of this quote at some point. Well, to be a hero you must have a villain. So what of the villain? If they are the hero of their own story, who is the villain in the story of their life? Are our ideas about right and wrong, good and bad, heroism and villainy, simply a matter of perspective rather than of universal truth?
“Why so serious?” you might ask. I am waxing philosophical on the nature of heroism and human nature because some lunatic just made a not-terrible argument that The Joker is the real hero of The Dark Knight.
Reddit user generalzee has put forth the theory (drawn from an article in the Houston Press) that the murderous clown, not the Caped Crusader, is the one to whom Gotham owes thanks. He writes, “Joker, although a lying psychopath, is actually the hero in The Dark Knight. Before the Joker, Gotham was a mess. Entire sections of the city were closed off due to madness, organized crime ran rampant, and the majority of important city officials were wildly corrupt. The city even tolerated a renegade vigilante who ran around wearing a rubber suit (Okay, special armor and carbon fiber, but they don’t know that).”
If you want to wade into the argument and the ensuing debate head over to read the rest. These flipped perspectives can be fun, and offer a chance to look at the world, real or fictional, in a different light. For example, I’m Team Johnny now that I know the Karate Kid was a jerk.
I mean, the conclusion to this theory is technically accurate.
In the end Gotham is actually clean. It wasn’t because of Harvey, who died too soon to do any good, except as a martyr, and it wasn’t because of Batman who was ostracized and treated like the criminal such a vigilante truly is for 8 years. Gotham was safe because the Joker had cleaned up the streets. He eliminated the corrupt police, he destroyed organized crime financially, he uplifted Gotham’s spirit, and he even got rid of the flying pest that had been corrupting Gotham ever since he declared himself its protector.
So does this theory hold water? Are there any other villains that are secretly the hero? Tell us below in the comments.
IMAGE: Warner Brothers