Villain, miscreant, trickster, wretch, rascal–however you choose to describe such characters, they all fall under the term “rogue”. Show of hands, how many of us likes rogue characters? We’re certain everyone raised your hand. The only reasons one would not are because they are unfamiliar with the term or they are sleeping. Rogues cause trouble in a playful way; they have the eternal essence of the bad boy/girl/person. They creep into your heart and have you secretly rooting for them to succeed.

Rogues: Unlawful but Still Likable, Lovable Even

The term Rogue has history, dating to the 1560s. The word likely derives from the English term “rogers” (with a hard G). This slang, used by vagrants and thieves, meant to act as a poor scholar from Oxford or Cambridge. Today, rogue has the more pointed meaning of a dishonest or unprincipled man. These scoundrels make their way into many books, movies, comics, TV shows, video games and all forms of pop culture. From Damon Salvatore from the hit TV series The Vampire Diaries to the character Bast from the short story The Lightning Tree by Patrick Rothfuss and all the way to Captain Cold, who rivals the Flash in comics. There is something about these characters and how they capture our attention, almost as if they manipulate us as much as they do the characters around them. Whether they wield magical powers or dubious half grins, or just look damn good at being bad, they are staples of entertainment.

These characters carry a stigma yet we are compelled to like them. Either they are so mysterious and wounded that we need to step up to save them or they hold the appeal of the elusive personality that we hope to pin one down and show them why we are wonderful for them in every way. Mostly though, we cling to rogue characters because it’s forbidden. Who doesn’t like bending the rules every now and then? It’s a compelling urge even if you aren’t romantically attracted to that particular rogue. The thrill of living on the edge with this character and leaving your life behind for a little while–you’re thinking of your favorite rogue right now, aren’t you?

We asked our co-workers at Bookmans Phoenix to see what being a rogue means to them and which characters they favor.

“A protagonist who lives by his own rules. He probably died once or twice and is most likely a smoker. They have to be very wise. My favorite rogues are Spike Spiegel and John Constantine.”

“Blatantly not following the rules, never asks permission. They Just do it. Favorites would be Inuyasha and Edward Elric.”

“Someone who always does the unexpected, like Crowley from Supernatural. He is always doing something unexpected!”

“They live in a way that breaks away from the standard way of living. Have you heard of Moss from the IT Crowd? That’s him.”

“Someone who disassociates from the community or ‘burrow’ because of anger or resentment. Luke Skywalker from the new Star Wars movies or Obi Wan Kenobi.”

“They are outlaws! Unlawful but still likable, lovable even. So of course Kvothe from Name of The Wind. He kills a king according to the trilogy name! Also Green Arrow. He is based on the O.G. (Original) rogue–Robin Hood.”

“A bad ass who doesn’t follow the rules. Does whatever they want. I don’t think all rogues are like pirates only wanting monetary gain. They color outside of the lines and for the right reason. I’ll go with Harry Dresden, Harry Houdini, Harry Potter and Han Solo. Also Malcolm Reynolds.”

These swindlers of entertainment, the rogues, pack a punch straight into our minds and hearts. Whether it’s from being not of this world, traveling solo because they “only work alone”, sulking in the shadows longing for love but keeping that hidden, or just manipulating everyone just for kicks and giggles, they are the masters at what they do. This is why we love them so much, even if maybe we shouldn’t. Who are your favorite rogues? Leave your answers in our comments section down below!

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