Friday, October 07, 2005

Flawed Heroes

Over on Romancing the Blog, they're talking about anti-heroes. It got me thinking - I love flawed heroes and so do most readers. Why??

I mean, wouldn't it make more sense for the heroic knight in shining armor to be this perfect beacon of light who makes the heroine's life beautiful and completely without stress? Surely no one wants more stress? And yet the heroes we love are men who will undoubtedly raise our heroine's temperature, make her crazy on occasion and have the potential for as much dark as light.

Every single one of the heroes I love falls into this category. Here's a sampling.

from the In Death books by J D Robb - um, he was a criminal mastermind (need I say more?).

Mr. Darcy
from Pride and Prejudice - the man is so stubborn and proud, he drives Lizzie half insane.

from Remembrance by Jude Deveraux - not only is he selfish and vain, he thinks the heroine belongs to him. That's it. He's not even going to try to woo her because as far as he's concerned, she's already his. And yet he's one of my absolute keeper heroes.

from Dance with the Devil by Sherrilyn Kenyon - even his friends think this hero is certifiable (as in should be locked up and the key thrown away).

All of the heroes listed above have deep and sometimes dangerous, flaws. And yet that is the very thing that makes them so powerful for me - their imperfections turn them from characters on the page to something far more real, far more human. I can't imagine a perfect knight, but I can imagine a flawed man who has the courage to rise above his flaws when the circumstances demand.

What about you? Do you love flawed heroes? Why? Who's your favorite?


Anonymous said...

I don't know. Does is humanize them to us?

P.S. Zarek is my favorite

Laura said...

I think we can relate better to someone who has some part of them that's "flawed". My absolute favourite is the character of Scarecrow from Matthew Reilly's books. A man with a dark and mysterious past, whose heart is protected behind layers of self-imposed barriers. Makes the woman in me just want to get my hands on him!

Bronwyn Jameson said...

I also think the flawed hero appeals to our need to be needed. I mean, that perfect knight is already perfect, what can we (as in we, the placeholder for the heroine) offer them? The man's already perfect, what can we provide? But the flawed hero, well he needs to change to find happiness and in order to change he needs the heroine.

My many to choose from. How about my FIRST favorite, Vidal from Heyer's The Devil's Cub.


Nalini Singh said...

Kendra - I definitely think that's part of it. Like Bron said, what can the heroine offer a perfect man?

Laura - I've never read Matthew Reilly but I might have to track him down now. That hero sounds perfect (in a flawed way of course).

I think part of it is also the heroine (us!) feeling special because we can get past barriers a flawed hero puts up, while the rest of the world is shut out.

Dee Tenorio said...

Hey Nalini!

I think it's because it just makes them more real. To quote the Matrix, we define ourselves by our misery. Meaning, I guess, that if there ain't something wrong with him...well, he's just not a man.


Nalini Singh said...

Hey Dee! I don't remember that quote from the Matrix but then again, I was probably fixated on Keanu *grin*

bina said...

not entirely sure, but flawed heroes have 2 grow at the end. Darcy comes 2 mind, but i can't pin-point others as they seem close 2 perfect. also would they want an ordinary woman?

p.s. years ago i had a Darcy/Liz moment, the meeting of eyes-no one else existing. when we both looked away, it was like losing your best friend in the whole wide world.

Nalini Singh said...

Bina - good point re the growth. That's so important to characters as a whole but I really think it's central to a hero in a romance novel. Who can forget Darcy's redemption? *sigh* And wow on your own Liz/Darcy moment. Sounds completely beautiful.

bina said...

Yes, the moment was beautiful. Except few months down the track, he wrote a note to me, of which the only thing i remember is - "his feelings 4 me r in different". 2 this day i not sure wot it means, but it hurt me all the same.

Nalini Singh said...

That's so sad. The romance writer in me immediately wants to rewrite the ending.