Adia Robinson Butler
I want more heroes who are down to kill. Give me more heroes, more good guys, who
will shoot, maim, stab, behead a villain no questions! No backtalk! I’m tired of seeing this
warped sense of morality playing out in books, movies, TV, whatever.
“We can’t kill them, because then we’ll be as bad as them!”
First of all, no. No. That’s not how any of this works. Second of all, shut up and tear the
Before you try and lecture me about narrative, I know. I know they don’t kill the villain to
keep the story going. I’m a fiction writer, I get it. But it doesn’t make it any less stupid and weak.
Turning the other cheek is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes you gotta hit ‘em with a quick
one-two! A swift slice and dice! A little click-click-bang-bang! “Don’t condone violence” my
ass, even Thanos told Thor he should’ve gone for the head! If Thor had killed that overgrown
raisin when he first had the space and opportunity, we would’ve been spared from the nightmare
that was Avengers: Endgame!
I get the morality argument, I see it, and I raise you a philosophical argument so basic,
white girls wearing knit cardigans and knee-high boots and drinking pumpkin spice lattes during
fall look fresh off New York Fashion Week: do nothing and thus kill many, or kill one and thus
save many, otherwise known as the trolley problem. Utilitarianism 101. Maybe if you had
bucked the fuck up and killed the one, your mama wouldn’t be dead. Half the city wouldn’t be
dead. No, killing won’t make it better…emotionally. However, physically, that’s a completely
different story. The end justifies the means! Because unless you’re going around killing
innocents for kicks and giggles, no, you killing the sadistic bastard who is going around killing innocents for kick and giggles is not the same thing. Not literally, not morally. You’re. Just. Soft.
I want to write as many protagonists who are down for murder as possible. And not in an
Amy Dunne kind of way—that woman simply belongs in prison—but in a Percy Jackson kind of
way. (Deadpool is good too, but he identifies as an anti-hero, so I’m not gonna include him in
this because I respect him.) Half of the first book in the Percy Jackson series is this 12-year-old
kid talking about how he wants to square up with the adults around him, including literal gods.
More of that energy! I’m begging like a poor Victorian child!
I promise your heroes can still be good people if they kill. And even if they aren’t, that’s
okay too—fandom will still turn them into their poor little misunderstood meow meow uwu
baby. They’ll be fine! So you might as well go ahead and give them a little murder, as a treat!
Honestly, leaning into morally grey territory makes them all the more compelling because
they’re less predictable…but maybe that’s just me.
If you enjoyed today’s moot, follow Adia on Instagram and check out more of her work on her website. If you are feeling generous, consider donating to the George Floyd Memorial Foundation, Adia’s charity of choice.
*For each moot, we generate a cover image using DALL·E, an AI art platform that generates images using natural language processing. This image on the right was generated using the title, 'Finish Him!' in the style of Edgar Degas, Adia's favorite artist.*