We all have our favorite heroes and heroines. What makes them a favorite is completely subjective and often hard to explain. To make things more complicated, favorite characters often represent archetypes and sometimes characters can include the features of several.
My favorite type of hero is one that many readers are extremely vocal in their dislike of – a combination between the playboy and the bad boy hero. I enjoy other characters as well, including the alpha hero – but not the alpha-jerk, even though I have a hankering for one from time to time, too.
When I think of the playboy/bad boy, I imagine one who is self-absorbed, seeks pleasure, and flaunts society’s rules. That is, until he meets the heroine, of course. And, if you throw a little self-torture into the mix, my fantasy hero is created. However, once my ideal hero meets the heroine he must change, though he may struggle against it or even be unconscious of it. Once this happens, she must be his central focus and he should be protective of her regardless of his resistance.
Though I’ve read tons of books featuring protective heroes, I can’t think of too many that do this without spoiling the fantasy for me in some other way, such as making the character extremely jealous, manically controlling, or just plain cruel – especially for extended periods of time. However, there is one historical romance character who perfectly fits my ideal: Sebastian, Viscount St. Vincent.
Yes ladies, I consider myself firmly on Team St. Vincent. As a matter of fact, I’ll be the captain. Lisa Kleypas’ Devil in Winter features my favorite hero, who to me is all the qualities that I’ve described above, though he does have problems and comes across as a jerk from time to time. However, from the time Sebastian meets heroine Evie Jenner, his actions speak for themselves. He’s cruel with his words at first, mainly because she knows his weaknesses and he uses callousness to cover his vulnerability. But even from their first contact, the playboy/bad boy’s actions are those of protector – he makes sure she’s fed, warm, and as comfortable as possible in their extended carriage ride across England.
Much to his extreme aggravation, he gives her what she wants in their hasty wedding, even though it’s not within his nature and is largely unnecessary. He takes her to her father’s and stays with her, but wants her to be careful around him when he realizes the risks. He protects her from her family and even gets a little jealous around Cam Rohan. He learns her father’s business and finds his niche. He takes a bullet meant for her and comes close to death. Finally, he realizes how much he loves her and how vulnerable that makes him. Though he’s flawed, he is the perfect romance hero in my opinion.
There are other heroes and archetypes that I’m partial to as well and they’re often easier to explain because they are so obvious. This group includes Mary Balogh’s Wulfric from the Slightly series, Jo Beverly’s Rothgar from the Malloren Series, and Julia Quinn’s Anthony Bridgerton from the Bridgertons, Lisa Kleypas’ Sir Ross Cannon from Lady Sophia’s Lover, and Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’ Wulfgar from The Wolf and the Dove. There are other heroes and archetypes that I’m partial to as well, but these are my favorites.
What hero types are your favorites?