Character Analysis: Heroes Part 1

After considering heroines I like and dislike, I decided to turn my attention to the hero.

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Like with the heroine posts, I’m going to break it up into a couple of different posts.

One of the things that stuck with me when reading about heroes is that even if I liked them in the story, they might be people I’d give a very different label to in real life. But that discussion is for a separate post.

Stephanie Plum Series – I never really liked Joe Morelli, the sort of male love interest. Not that he wasn’t fine when he was “on screen”. But I disliked the fact that he magically disappeared the moment we put the book down. Never called. No texts, etc.

Journey’s End – The hero was pompous, arrogant and overly worried about his reputation. Yes, his father ran off with his mother’s sister. I get it, a scandal. But when you’re one of the richest men in America, why, exactly, do you care?

Deliver Me from Darkness – Another hero I never really liked. His brooding because he became a vampire was beyond annoying. Pick yourself up and make something of yourself. Use those powers for good, evil, something.

Tycoon Club – I wanted to like the hero, but there was nothing to him. I didn’t like him, but I guess I didn’t dislike him either. A farm boy from Ohio becoming one of the richest men in the world seems like there should be so much more to him . . . Instead, he’s waffling and really not developed at all.

Accidentally Compromising the Duke – I didn’t completely dislike him. I had some sympathy for him, but I did grow tired of the brooding over his first wife’s death and irrationally blaming himself for it.

Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard – This hero was so busy brooding and trying to ignore his feelings that it almost cost the heroine her life. Um, yeah, not so much.

The Highwayman – I am okay with alpha heroes, but he was beyond the norm. While I had compassion for him, I never liked him. I can get behind a cold and ruthless hero, but this went too far with that.

The Rogue Not Taken – Hero was a complete ass. Again, an alpha hero is one thing, but kicking her when she’s already down, which is the way he treats her through the whole book – I wish the heroine had been more like Elisabeth in Pride and Prejudice and told him off!

 

As I think through all of these scenarios, a couple of things stands out to me:

  1. Brooding Characters –  Get over yourself. You made a mistake, life happened, or life wasn’t fair. Yup, I live in that world, too. When you’re as rich, handsome, powerful or whatever most of these characters are, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for him not stepping up. This leads into point 3 below.
  2. Alpha Male that Bleeds into “Jerk”– I’ve seen this in too many books of late. Yes, there is an alpha male trope out there, and yes, it is a favorite among many readers. I, myself, enjoy them in books if not real life. But there’s a difference between Alpha Male and arrogant jerk. Once you cross that line . .  .
  3. Indecision/Inaction – Perhaps not fair, but I expect the hero to be out there doing something, and I expect that something to either help him reach his goals or help the heroine. A hero who chooses to turn his back on the problem, run away, or be paralyzed by indecision is a quick way to make me dislike him. Sure, he might not like or want the feelings he’s having, but I expect him to do something about them and the something is not run away.
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