5 Authors More Badass Than The Badass Character They Created
When you read a story of a manly hero slaying a dragon and then bedding the princess, it's easy to imagine there's a 300-pound author sitting behind the typewriter in a tiny apartment full of cats. After all, fiction is all about escaping our real life, right?
Not always. In fact, if you look at the authors behind some of the most iconic heroes of all time, you find a writer who's every bit as badass. Not only did these guys insert elements from their actual lives into the stories, they actually toned them down a bit.
We're talking about the creators of characters like...
We know what you're thinking: "I don't need you to explain to me who James Bond is, fool! Don't waste my valuable time!" But we do need to explain that the Bond from the books is not the wise-cracking, lovable rogue that you've seen in the films (that was, in fact, just Sean Connery being himself).
No, literary Bond is a ruthless, slightly amoral man who does whatever he needs to do to get the job done. He doesn't get laser wristwatches or jet packs, just an assload of fucking guns.
Even Daniel Craig's portrayal, while much more accurate, failed to express the extent of Bond's badassery. At the end of Casino Royale (the book), upon learning that his girlfriend is both (A) a double agent and (B) dead, his only reaction is to call up M and say, "Yep. She's dead." Yeah, the novelized Bond is a damn sight more hardcore than any of the movie versions.
He doesn't need puns to punish you... shit, wait.
Before he invented Bond, Ian Fleming was personally recruited by the Director of Naval Intelligence to aid them as a spy during World War II. Fleming rose to the rank of Commander and started devising ingenious plans to disrupt the enemy forces, including Operation Ruthless, in which British troops would masquerade as injured Germans and then kill their rescuers, and Operation Goldeneye, which covertly kept an eye on fascist Spain in case it decided to join the Nazis.
We're assuming it looked something like this.
Later on in the war, he was chief planner for the 30 Assault Unit, a special task force composed of 138 commandos who were trained in doing basically everything James Bond has ever done. After the war, he built his own house/slice of tropical paradise in Jamaica and, a couple years later, President Kennedy (a big fan of the Bond books) invited Fleming to dinner. While there, Fleming suggested that JFK should discredit Fidel Castro by announcing that beards attracted radioactivity and made you sterile, a suggestion that was apparently taken quite seriously by CIA Chief Allen Dulles.
Near the end of his life, Fleming said that his biggest regret was that he was "always smoked and drunk and loved too much." We're pretty sure that's awesome.
We couldn't figure out which of these was more badass, so we're just going to use both.
Seriously, now. Of all the characters in the world that are the result of the author just writing a thinly-veiled version of his own life, did you ever think James freaking Bond was one of them?
You know the story: After pulling the fabled Excalibur from a stone, he was crowned King of England, because pulling things out of a stationary object is the only qualification necessary to lord over a powerful empire.
"You are now the sovereign ruler of Office Max."
Arthur refused to pay tribute to the Roman Empire, deciding instead to muster an army to go kick them in the balls with a plate-armored boot. But before he even reached the battle (which he won convincingly), Arthur decided to take a quick detour to fight a goddamn giant, because hey, it's a giant.
"Really, when am I going to be here again?"
Arthur defeats the giant by "swappis genytrottys in sondir," which we can only assume has something to do with a claw hammer and male nudity. Oh, and did we mention that he has a scabbard of invulnerability? Because he totally does.
If there's one bad thing about Arthur it's that he was always too much of a goody-two-shoes. Thankfully, Thomas Malory--the guy who wrote/compiled King Arthur's tales--didn't cotton to any of that bullshit. He was basically a one-man crime spree and a mixture of Robin Hood, Harry Houdini and Sean Connery.
He and a bunch of his friends ambushed the Duke of Buckingham and stole everything he had. He then proceeded to seduce another man's wife twice, robbing the guy the second time around. Thomas also broke out of jail three times, once by swimming across a moat at night, once by using swords, daggers and other pointy objects to stab his way free, and once by somehow getting a royal pardon.
Meaning he looks like this and will rob you while making your daughter's virginity disappear.
"Because he's fucking awesome, that's how. And he signed my crown."
Malory remained free for a while but spent his last remaining days in prison, using the time he had left to write a masterpiece of English literature instead of more typical inmate hobbies such as lifting weights and having sex with men.
At the tender age of 16, when most (read: one) of us were sitting alone in our bedrooms listening to The Cure and crying over our stifling unpopularity, Don Juan has an affair with a 23-year-old married woman and kicks the shit out of her husband--and that's just the first chapter.
What follows is a series of sexual conquests that makes the STD playground that is Bret Michaels's Rock of Love seem like a third grade pizza party.
"Which one of you busted strippers ordered the sausage?"
Among Juan's many seductions include a pirate lass, a sultana, a teenage concubine, a Duchess and Catherine the Great (yes, the supposed horse-fucker). When he wasn't busy with his lady friends, Don Juan found time to survive a shipwreck, fight a pirate gang by himself, conquer the city of Ismail, rescue an orphan girl from killer Cossacks, and shoot a cockney mugger to death. We think that last one had less to do with the mugging and more to do with the accent.
"O'right guvna, fer a shilling I'll shoine yer shoesFUCK I'VE BEEN SHOT!"
Remember how Don Juan started with the whole "seducing a married woman and fighting her husband" thing? Yeah, that actually happened to Lord Byron, who, as it turns out, based Don on himself more than a little.
"They say write what you know, and I know pussy."
Byron had numerous love affairs, the most famous of which was with Lady Caroline Lamb, who became just a tiny bit obsessed with him after Byron dumped her. It all came to a head when she covertly wrote "Remember Me!" on one of his books. Byron, fed up, penned the scathing poem Remember Thee! Remember Thee! which was basically a highly literate version of "99 Problems."
"Get thee off mine nuts, bitch."
In his spare time, Byron took care of his pets, which included a fox, monkeys, a parrot, cats, an eagle, a crow, a crocodile, a falcon, peacocks, guinea hens, an Egyptian crane, a badger, geese, a heron and a bear (beating out every U.S. president by a good mile for having badass pets), and also liberated Greece. Oh, and he was probably the inspiration for the modern vampire (we mean Dracula, not goddamned Twilight).
Sherlock Holmes is probably best described as "Sherlock motherfucking Holmes," a man capable of making incredible deductions from the smallest of details with the power of logic alone. Also, he's an expert with all sorts of weapons; from guns and swords, to singlestick cane fighting, to beating your ass with a riding crop.
If for some reason none of those things are around, Holmes is a formidable boxer and a proficient student of Bartitsu, a martial art which he used to simultaneously kill his arch nemesis Moriarty and save himself from death.
Hold on: incredible powers of deduction, badass fighting abilities, general unkillability--where have we heard this before?
Arthur Conan Doyle seems to have spent every waking moment either writing or being awesome. As a 20-year-old kid, Doyle joined a whaling expedition to the Arctic, presumably hanging off the bow and waving his dick at all the whales. After finishing medical school, Doyle mucked around on boats being a ship doctor for a couple years before settling down to start his own practice, take both a wife and a mistress, and churn out some books.
When the Boer War broke out he promptly enlisted as a medical officer and spent months in Africa patching up bullet holes and battling hundreds of cases of typhoid fever. For his service in the war, he was made a knight and then spent his time "playing golf, driving fast cars, floating in the sky in hot air balloons, flying in early archaic and rather frightening airplanes, and body-building."
The man was pure mustache.
Right before WWI broke out, Doyle wrote essays that talked about the importance of submarine warfare and aerial combat, conceived the Chunnel, and detailed such preposterous and fanciful inventions as "inflatable life jackets," "inflatable rafts" and "body armor," proving that in addition to all of his rugged manliness he could also see the goddamn future.
Robert Jordan (from Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls)
That's right; here's the one case on our list where the writer is so much more famous than any of his characters that we had to explain who he was.
Robert Jordan is a guerrilla fighter behind enemy lines during the Spanish Civil War tasked with blowing up a vitally important enemy bridge, which sounds a lot like the opening sequence of a Jerry Bruckheimer movie. Before he gets around to the bridge, he seduces a beautiful young woman named Maria, presumably in a bid to fill the monthly quota imposed on all badass heroes.
An enemy spy infiltrates Jordan's camp, so he shoots the guy on sight and steals his horse. He rides the horse out to the bridge and kills all the sentries guarding it before finally blowing it to hell.
Unfortunately, during the escape Jordan's horse falls on him and fatally wounds him. Instead of yelling different variations of the word "fuck" as loud as physically possible, Jordan calmly decides to stay there and keep conscious long enough to kill the enemy troops pursuing his friends, and while we don't actually get to see what happens, we'd be pretty surprised if anyone made it past him alive.
Originally titled My Giant Fucking Balls.
Ernest Hemingway is a guy that was so manly you grow a beard just reading his name. He was a boxer, a track runner, a football player, a water polo player and a key figure of the debate team, presumably winning most of his arguments with terrifying scowls.
Hemingway served in the first World War as an ambulance driver for the Red Cross in Paris, which at the time was getting the shit bombed out of it. While there, he was seriously wounded by mortar fire but managed to carry an Italian soldier to safety, becoming the first American to win the Italian Silver Medal of Bravery.
"Either give me that medal or I'll take it from you."
He spent the next few years vacationing in Key West and the Bahamas, hunting big game in Kenya, and getting shitfaced with James Joyce. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, Hemingway traveled there and saw combat as a reporter, and in WWII he served in the Navy, tasked with destroying enemy submarines off the coast of Cuba. Later he organized his own partisan group and helped liberate Paris, proving that he could win any conflict with or without the military.
Hemingway spent the last years of his life refusing to die, surviving two consecutive plane crashes, a concussion, temporary paralysis and a massive bushfire.
At one point he was so injured that some American newspapers ran his obituary. Yes, that's right--Hemingway was so badass that he got to read his own obituary.
As for his love life, he went through four wives in 40 years, never spending more than three months as a single man (and in one case, only 17 days). We're guessing that the instant he announced that he was available, a line of women formed outside his door that wrapped around the block.
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Now check out some authors that weren't quite as badass, in 6 Writers Who Accidentally Crapped Out Masterpieces. Or find out about some soldiers that eat guys like Lord Byron for breakfast, in 5 Real Life Soldiers Who Make Rambo Look Like a Pussy.
And stop by Cracked.com's Top Picks to see how closely Brockway resembles the main character in his book (he's "Everything").