I'd like a #3, super sized.

LurkerWithout reads a billion books a month. This is why I value his feedback as a beta reader. He reads a book a day, so I consider him a measure of the purchasing public. He's the target audience I'm aiming for, people who like to read fantasy. I have no delusions of being the author that makes fantasy sexy or being some phenomenal cross-over hit. I just want to grab the fantasy niche and make it mine. (If that niche gets bigger because of me, I won't complain, but it's not getting the attention YA, urban fantasy, or paranormal romance are, so let's be practical.)

Lurker just finished his read of THE TRIAD SOCIETY and he commented that Otwald's decisions as the story's protagonist are not driven by any fundamental virtue, but by noblesse oblige, his sense of noble duty. While I did not necessarily set out to make it so and it certainly doesn't hold any subtext on class structure, I can tell you that I am bored.

I'm bored with the same people being heroes all the time. We've created McDonald's heroes where you can order off the value meal menu. #1 gets you Captain America, the forthright and virtuous son of virtue who virtuously fights villainy. #2 gets you Deadpool, the wisecracking anti-hero who does what's right because of a pervading sense of guilt or convenience1.

I wanted to make a protagonist who didn't relegate the world into good and evil (or varying shades of kryptonite). And I didn't want a slippery snake oil salesman. I wanted someone who had chosen a path and walked it regardless of how difficult it was. Nobility has a specific meaning and he would be an example of such. That might not always sit well with other nobles as no one likes to have someone demonstrate their own shortcomings.

Noblesse oblige is used sardonically with growing frequency, but at the root of the phrase is the classic "power/responsibility" relationship, something that Otwald takes to heart more than anyone else in the story (except for a very minor character who gets a larger role in later stories.)

I like Lurker's assessment. I like Otwald. I don't find him to be a value meal hero, and that makes me happy.

1 This is why I didn't want Bastin to be the main character of WANTED. He's a #2 protagonist, the charismatic flimflam man who feels responsible for the death of his surrogate father. SEEN IT!