Monday, August 15, 2011

My Favourite Hero

I’ll start by telling you some types of hero which would never be among my favourites: vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, aliens, ghosts, angels, demons, or other magically-empowered beings.  Okay, I know they’re very ‘fashionable’ right now but – confession time – I’ve never read any fantasy-type story.  Not even Lord of the Rings or any of the Harry Potter books.

I loved Hugh Jackman in ‘Australia’, in ‘Kate and Leopold’ and as Curly in Oklahoma. 

But Wolverine?  No thanks!
Even as a child, I preferred stories about ‘real’ people, and not ‘fairy’ stories.  I have absolutely no interest in ‘fantasy’ in the strictest sense of the word.  Most of the paranormal beings are, to me anyway, the stuff of nightmares, not of romance. 

I don’t like ‘bad boys’ either.  Never liked Heathcliffe, for example, or the ‘Byronic’ type of anti-hero. Maybe Mr Rochester in ‘Jane Eyre’ is also an anti-hero – keeps his wife locked up, pretends to be engaged to one of his lady friends to make Jane jealous, and then attempts to marry Jane bigamously?  What a jerk!  But we see him only through Jane’s eyes so can empathise (and sympathise) with her. 

What about Mr Darcy then?  Supposedly women’s favourite fictional icon, whereas really he was a dominant patriarchal male.  Forget Colin Firth clambering from lake in wet shirt (on second thoughts, though, maybe I will keep that image in my mind!).  But Darcy was moody, overbearing, repressed and patronising.  In the 1940’s Laurence Olivier played a very ‘buttoned-up’ Mr Darcy and no-one swooned over him.  My guess is that those who drool over Darcy have never actually read the book, but are simply drooling over the devastatingly sexy Mr Firth!  And that gives me the chance to put up a picture of him, not the famous lake scene, but the smouldering look as he watched Elizabeth playing the piano – whoa, definitely a ‘stop the DVD, rewind and replay’ moment!

However, I digress. I’m supposed to be writing about my favourite hero, and not Colin Firth.  But – hold on a minute, maybe I can still talk about Mr Firth.  In ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ he plays the modern equivalent of Mr. Darcy (great casting there!).  He’s reserved and awkward but ‘nice’, while Hugh Grant plays Daniel Cleaver, the modern equivalent of George Wickham, a shallow but sexy charmer.

Which was my favourite hero?  Without getting into the whole alpha/beta discussion again, I have to say it’s the reserved but nice one, of course, who proves to have more far strength of character than the sexy charmer, and more sex appeal too!   

When he kisses Bridget at the end, she tells him, ‘Nice boys don’t kiss like that.’  His reply is. ‘Oh yes, they f….g do.’ 

Now THAT’s my kind of hero!   


  1. This is a great piece!! I have to think about my favorite kind of hero--probably the solid, quiet yet steady type...who might not always get the girl in the end...or sometimes he might. One movie that comes to mind--would be Josh Hartnett's character in Pearl Harbor as an example.

    Anyway--I could think some more on that one. LOL. Cheers, Jenn

  2. I like heroes who have had to wrestle with a moral dilemma while getting the girl. Josh Hartnett's character is a great example. He loves the girl but loves his best friend more.

    The best heroes grow, change for the better, over the course of a good story. (Heroine, too.) If not, they were too perfect at the outset. Definitely not like the rest of us.

  3. Great post, although I don't mind some fantasy! Heroes, though - I prefer the quiet, sensitive but sexy types. Prefer the photo you have of smouldering Mr Darcy (CF), rather than the wet t-shirt one. And I prefer Mr Rochester to Heathcliffe!

  4. While my idea of a favorite hero may differ slightly from yours, I agree that the reserved ones definitely appeal to me based on what they DON'T show the reader (or movie watcher). I prefer them to save something special for the heroine, rather than flaunt everything they have to everyone. And that sounds a whole lot more risque than I meant to, but oh well! :)

  5. Hi,

    Funny post, Paula.

    Hee hee, never really liked any of Austen's hero characters: pompous aresholes the lot of 'em!

    Trust me, my all time favourite literary anti-hero is Carver Doone from the novel "Lorna Doone". In my eyes he was the hero, and she an absolute fool for rejecting him.

    Ha ha, and my all time favourite hero: Captain Jean-Benoit Aubéry from Daphne du Maurier's "Frenchman's Creek". He was so different than your average pirate.

    Wuthering Heights drove me nuts with Heathcliffe wailing Cathy, oh Cathy, and Cathy wailing Heathcliffe, Heathclffe. I can remember as a kid despairing the sanity of author! ;)


  6. What a great blog! Really got me thinking of all the hot heroes in the movies and exactly which one would make my toes curl.


  7. Jenn - I think a lot of us go more for the solid and quiet type rather than the alpha-hero.

    Ana - have never seen Pearl Harbor, but now I think I must. Josh Hartnett sounds like my kind of hero.

    Rosemary - glad we agree. The smouldering look was much better than the wet shirt!

    Jennifer - like your idea of the hero showing a different side of himself to the heroine (risque or not!)

    Francine - we had to read Lorna Doone at school, but I didn't really relate to it at the time. Perhaps I need to read it again. And I'm still giggling about Catherine and Heathcliffe wailing - it's been the subject of seveeral comedy sketches in the past!

    Kathy - Hope you're having fun working out who makes your toes curl :-)

  8. I actually do like fantasy and scifi, but I'll agree that the supernatural are scary not sexy - or at least I prefer them that way. One of my greatest pet peeves is the "bad boy" who only needs the love from the heroine to make them into the perfect man. Gag me. The problem is, young women read this and think they are going to do it in real life. Which leads to that "but I LUUUURVE him" crap when he beats the hell out of her and steals her last dime. Several times. Sorry sweetie, your love will NOT change him. The fact is, though, that bad boys are more fun to write about, and read about. I can drool over my Martin Hunter in Bloodline - even while I know he's going to kill his wife (among others) before it's all over with. In fiction, nice guys finish last. Lily ignores Jay in Bloodline (I'm not tellin' what happens in the next book), but in real life - nice guys are the best. I've been married to one for 21 years ;) so perhaps that is what makes me sympathetic to nice guy heros in fiction. We oughta let them win the girl now and then, doncha think?

  9. Great comment, Summer! I so agree with you about the bad boys who reform and suddenly become Mr Perfect Guy - as you say 'gag me'!

    I'm going to stick with my nice guys - okay, maybe not perfect since that would be boring (and everyone's allowed a few character flaws), and they're going to be the ones who win the girl!

  10. Oooh, see, now vampires are one of my favorite kinds of heroes, even before the whole recent craze started. One of my favorite romance 'trilogies' is a vampire one by Linda Lael Miller from years and years ago. Yummmy!

    And now we have Edward and Eric...'sigh'...

  11. Hi Debra - I'm quite happy to let you keep your vampires!
    And who are Edward and Eric please?

  12. I'm usually not a big fan of fantasy either, but I did love the Harry Potter books.


  13. I have no heroes after all! only weak people relies one them.