Friday, May 14, 2010

Are you my hero?

There are numerous types of heroes in books, but here are some of my favorites, as seen in YA, romance, women's fiction, etc.

1. The unwilling hero - Usually found in romances, especially those about Scottish Highland chiefs (I'm a sucker for them). This guy has no time for love or intimacy, he's usually fighting a war or running a secret mission that no woman can get in the way of (except that she inevitably does). He fights tooth and nail not to fall in love or admit that he has feelings of any kind, which is a losing battle. Their corresponding heroine is just so sweet/warm/kind or brave/fiery/independent that this hard, unfeeling rock of a man has no choice but to rescue her and admit that he is really a big soft teddy bear on the inside when it comes to her.

2. The all-too-willing hero - The opposite of the unwilling hero, this guy is probably a firefighter, a police officer, a body guard, etc. He pretty much walks around looking for a vulnerable woman in need of rescuing, and when he finds her it's love at first sight. He then spends a great deal of time rescuing said woman repeatedly and convincing her that she needs him. Corresponding heroine, who I call "Perilous Penelope" (anyone remember that cartoon?) is for some reason in constant danger from numerous threats from which she is always rescued by willing hero who is conveniently stalking her. She will eventually admit that she needs said hero to defeat the evil forces after her, feel guilty for putting him in so much danger, and get pregnant.

3. The best friend hero - "Hi, my name is Jacob Black. I've been a best friend hero for 2 movies now." Hi, Jacob! This is the guy who is there for the girl when her unwilling hero is being, well, unwilling. He steps up and comforts heroine (depressed, beautiful crying girl) and might receive a kiss on the cheek as a reward, but eventually fades into the black when unwilling hero has epiphany and shows up again to make crying girl knock off the tears. Pretty common in YA.

4. The bad-boy hero - Different from the unwilling hero in that this guy is really not a hero at all, but his heroine chooses to ignore that fact and believe that under all the tattoos and jail-time is a guy who will lay in bed and cuddle for hours. Sometimes best-friend hero shows up after bad-boy hero messes up irrevocably, and sometimes bad-boy hero is miraculously rehabilitated into the perfect guy (but you have to wonder how long after the book ends he ends up like Jesse James).

5. The Backstreet Boy hero - Very popular in YA, this guy is your average high school student that the cheerleader/new girl/geeky girl can't resist. He's pretty much harmless and asexual, most often being described as "hot". He gets a few chaste kisses if the girl is lucky, and if she's not he just sits at his desk while she stares at the back of his head longingly. He's mostly in the story as eye candy, shows up as needed and spends the rest of the time playing basketball.

6. The Accountant - This is the husband in many women's fiction, literary fiction, historical, etc. He's basically oblivious, he goes to work as an accountant, insurance salesman or similar while his wife deals with traumatic inner turmoil and depression resulting in a near affair, at which point she realizes how stable and great her husband is. Many times at the end of the book he reveals that he is a real person capable of thought and is very sweet and loving towards his wife now that she has resolved whatever issues she was having. Also the father in many YA books, remote and irrelevant.

7. The Widower - This it The Accountant made interesting by the fact that his wife has died. Now he will meet beautiful nurse/teacher/dead wife's best friend and must accept that his wife would've wanted him to be happy or his two-year-old needs a mommy and make himself fall in love again. After much inner-struggle and mourning of dead wife, The Widower will ultimately marry new girl who would never want to take dead wife's place (yeah, right) and feel overwhelming sense of peace knowing dead wife is smiling at him from Heaven.

So, who are your favorite stereotypical heroes? Who did I miss? Know of any unwilling Scottish chiefs I should be reading about?


Lydia Kang said...

This list is sooooo true! I had to laugh about the Jacob Black line.
You hit them right on the mark!

Deb Salisbury said...

Love this post! Well done. I'm linking back to you.

Anonymous said...

Ahh! You forgot the most important hero, not so much in YA but in many other types of books. You forgot way too over-the-top action guy. Sometimes he's just a lawyer on the wrong end of a plane ticket headed for disaster. Other times its a hardened war veteran/criminal who wont take no for an answer and had his middle name legal changed to "explosions". Either way you're headed for a book filled with plot holes and one liners...which might be awesome.

DaniSue said...

Ooo, good one! I guess I forgot that one because I hate them and tend to avoid books like that, although who wouldn't love a guy with the middle name explosions!? LOL!