Thursday, February 22, 2007

Hero Archetypes

Writing in science fiction, paranormal and fantasy genres allows for an eclectic mix of hero types. Who is your favorite?

The Swashbuckling Space Captain: In my opinion you can’t miss with the hard riding, savvy space cowboy. I love a man who can fire a blaster with one hand, and clutch the heroine to his muscular chest with the other while swinging into the cockpit of his custom built spaceship. There’s something about a man who’s at home among the stars, can speak a few alien languages and isn’t afraid to have his molecules scattered by a particle beam.

The Alien Prince: Arrogant almost to a fault, and just as sexy, the alien prince/king/planetary ruler can light any heroine’s fire. He’s rich [usually owns a planet or two] and a bit lonely even though women throw themselves at his feet on a daily basis. He needs a woman who can stand up to him and isn’t afraid to break the rules. Whether the heroine is a hapless traveler who’s been presented to him as a gift, or she’s the ruler of a rival clan, she’s bound to have a good time with His Majesty.

The Vampire: Dark and brooding, he can be charming and beastly – often at the same time. He’s a tortured soul – assuming he actually has a soul, and it takes a special heroine to save him from his own demons. My favorite are the anti-hero vamps – the truly bad boys who are just longing to be redeemed by the love of a good woman.

The Magician: Whether he’s a fully trained wizard or just a run of the mill warrior who’s been touched by magick, I’d follow him anywhere. He has power, charisma and usually a predetermined purpose that’s been written in the ancient scrolls. He needs a heroine who can spell cast and isn’t afraid of zombies or animated skeletons – usually she holds the key to his destiny as well as his heart.

This is only a short list of hero archetypes. Can you think of any others? Who’s your favorite?


MK Mancos/Kathleen Scott said...

If I write to archetype, I don't realize I'm doing it. I just make the character who I think they should be and leave it at that. I tend to make my men tough on the outside, marshmellow on the inside. They'll kick ass and break bad on the villians, but save a little dog from harm, or comfort a crying child.

But in the same vein, I try not to make them all the same. That would be boring to me.

I think essentially all heroes need to look at the heroine and just melt. Even the one's who maybe not like the heroine so much at first should melt a little, or at least be aware of her as a woman.

I like your list, Jen. But can't think for the life of me what to add to it.

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

The melting part is essential, Kat! I love the tough alpha heroes who go all mushy around the heroine.

Skylar Masey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Skylar Masey said...

How about Warrior Chiefs? The Alpha guys who take charge, but have that little chink in their armor for a beautiful captive/stranger. Or brainy geeks...okay maybe they're to Beta, but they have their part in romance. Sometimes you have to be able to use your noggin to figure out the scientific aspects of a rescue, how to save a race, etc. And though the nerd might not attract instant oohs, they can win the girl over in the end. He'd definitely fit the bill for "if he only had a brain".

Jennifer Elbaum said...

Yum! to all of the above!