I don’t watch much TV. In fact, I binge on one show per year on Netflix, maybe two if it’s a good year in television, but that’s about it. (There are just too many good books to read.) But recently I’ve become addicted to the political thriller House of Cards and the indomitable Frank Underwood. With each episode, I find myself absolutely gripped—both fascinated and horrified by this character. I wait with bated breath for his next brilliant comment, his crocodile smile, and the twist of his knife in someone’s back. Another superb detail I adore is that Frank is from a small town in Georgia, so his lilting accent and charm almost make you believe he’s a gentleman. Almost.
Frank Underwood got me to thinking. What’s so great about him? He is egotistical, driven, conniving, adulterous—even murderous, yet he’s an amazing orator, a statesman with manipulative skills that are unparalleled, and above all, powerful. Also? He loves his wife. Though his needs are often first and foremost, he truly loves his wife and it shows. Frank isn’t the only anti-hero that has drawn my attention in recent months. I’ve really locked on to them in the last year. But why?
In search of an answer, I skimmed my myriad of bookshelves (Yes, I’m a print girl, despite my smart phone, fancy computer, and e-reader device. The experience of reading a la device just isn’t the same for me. I like to stroke the book covers and…I digress.). So I skimmed my books, looking for these dark characters and after I had gathered a few, I analyzed what made them so dadgum fun to read. This is what I discovered: