As Gethals and Allison mention there are 12 types of heroes. They call it a Taxonomy of heroism. Out of the 12, two of them are the types that put themselves at physical risks. These are the military personnel and courageous civilians. The remaining ten are heroes who take social risk.
1. Trending heroes
As the name mentions, trending heroes are heroes whose influence are always changing, it can be either on the rise or on the fall. Trending heroes can be stars or presidents, they follow the laws of gravity, what goes up must come down.
2. Transitory heroes
The 15 minutes of fame hero. Unlike trending heroes, transitory heroes have a very short self life. After their heroic act and glimpse of fame they are forgotten.
3. Transitional heroes
Transitional heroes are our heroes who change as we grow up and mature. The heroes themselves do not change. We outgrow our heroes and we pick new heroes to replace our childhood heroes.
4. Tragic heroes
Heros who become their own downfall. Oedipus, Hamlet, Macbeth and Brutus are some of the best examples for tragic heroes.
5. Transposed heroes
Individuals who start as a hero and convert to a villain. While Tragic and Transposed heroes both fall from the hero status, Tragic heroes never recover. Transposed heroes on the other hand will thrive in their new role, making the choices to become the villain. Best example of this is Harvey Dent/Two-face from batman.
6. Transparent heroes
The behind the scenes heroes. The most under-appreciated hero. They are our teachers, our parents, healthcare workers, etc.
7. Traditional heroes
The prototypical hero, the classic hero. Noble, morally good and all that jazz. (my words not Gethals and Allison)
8. Transfigured heroes
People are often hungry for heroes, Transfigured heroes is when a person’s actions aren’t very heroic but are exaggerate. It’s often said people will hear/see what they want. Transfigured heroes settle our need for heroes.
9. Transforming heroes
Hero whose actions change them as an individual and trasform the world around them. They change a way we see or think about the world around us. Albert Einstein, Elvis Presley and Steve Jobs are some good examples of Trasforming heroes.
10. Transcendent heroes
Lately there is Transcendent heroes, these are the heroes who don’t simply fit into one category of the Taxonomy of heroism. These heroes could be a mix of two types of heroes. A hero could be a transforming hero but also a traditional one.
I think it’s really nice having all these types of heroes, it really helps explain what a hero, how to define one and how some of us have heroes that other people wouldn’t see as a hero. It also helps you see why someone is labelled as a hero. I also think it’s really good to know that a hero isn’t just a knight in shining amour ready to take down the dragon and save the princess, you don’t need to be physically strong to be a hero.
Goethals, George R., and Scott T. Allison. “Making Heroes: The Construction of Courage, Competence, and Virtue.” Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 46 (2012): 183-235.