Tuesday, March 27, 2012
I Need a Hero ! ( Cape Optional )
Come on! Admit it!
Those of us "of a certain age" had the hots for Christopher Reeves from the first moment we saw him in those tights and cape. Turns out he was a hero in real life as well. The way he handled every day after the tragic riding accident that took his mobility and eventually took his life made him a Superman no mere film could capture.
I'll be forever grateful to Gerard Butler and the film 300 for
introducing my nephew to the wonderful world and history of ancient Greece. A few simple questions to his "history nut" aunt and he dove into Homer's The Iliad and The Odyssey and from there became so fascinated by the history of Greece he has been studying the language of ancient Greece at the University of Alabama. The film 300 produced images of Gerard Butler no doubt used by romance writers everywhere as inspiration, computer screen savers and just plain nice scenery. I mean, really ! You could do a whole load of laundry on those abs !! The actual Battle of Thermopylae produced heroes who lived the axiom "Spartan, come home with your shield, or on it." Gotta' love a man like that.
So what is a hero, exactly?
Does he have to have super powers? (A romance novel hero had BETTER have super sensual powers,but we won't get into that here.)
Does he have to be "drool worthy" good looking? (I give Gerard as Leonidas 5 out of 5 drooling towels. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine too.)
He has to be brave, of course! I don't care how many times I see shots of those firemen going up the stairs at the World Trade Center while everyone else is running out, it still gives me chills. There are all sorts of bravery. What sorts make for good heroes?
My own father fought in Korea. At the age of eighteen he and his unit were ambushed by Korean and Chinese forces. They were pinned down with no way out. My father drew fire onto his position so the rest of his unit could retreat. Then he went back for three of his comrades who were injured and hauled them back to the fall back position. His commanders wanted to give him a bronze star. He refused. "You don't get medals for doing your job." Did this make him brave? Probably. But I didn't know him then. The man I knew worked every day to look after his family. He never treated my mother with anything less than appreciation and respect. We weren't rich, but he made sure we had what we needed and he taught us the world didn't owe us a thing. Anything we wanted we could have, so long as we EARNED it. He is forever my hero for the things I saw him do every day.
So, tell me, my fellow writers, what makes a hero? What sort of hero appeals to you in a romance novel? What flaws are a deal breaker for you? And who are some of the most surprising or unique heroes you've encountered in romance novels? What made them so memorable?