Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Tortured Heroes

I’ve noticed a trend as I look back at my favorite books. The one thing they all have in common…each has a tortured hero. I’ve also noticed that authors writing about tortured heroes are on a rise. Especially in the paranormal and historical romance genre.

I, myself, am learning to write more tortured characters and loving it!

But why do we (or I) love them? They usually start out the story as brooding, filled with attitude, and generally complete asses. But isn’t that what makes them interesting? Or maybe it’s the way they change as the plot goes along and they meet the heroine (or hero if you’re reading a m/m book). The change, from my perspective, is huge if the story is done correctly and not rushed.

However, there are other things that draw my attention to these poor characters. Whether they go through physical torture (my fave) or mental torture…or even both, the hero has an incredible strength to survive. Yes, they are many times imperfect and have crutches, like drugs, alcohol, or sex *hmmm, that one may not be so bad –wink *.

But these men have overcome adversity and survived, stronger even. Also, once they meet their “light” to their “dark” (is that from Christine Feehan’s Dark series?), they become very protective over what is “theirs”. The best part is that they find redemption in one form or another by the end of them book.

I like to think there are men outside of romance novels that carry many of those traits. I know my own DH says that I brought light to his world. That I’ve helped him become a better man. Does a crappy first marriage count for mental torture? So, see, I have hope that there are some really good men out in the world. Unfortunately, they are sometimes hard to find.

Okay, I’ve babbled more than most of my blog posts, but I thought I’d end with a list of some of my favorite tortured heroes – in no particular order.
Remember, I’m a series-ho so they are all from series that I’ve read through the years.

* Jacques from Christine Feehan’s Dark series – Dark Desire
He was locked away and starved by his enemies after being physically tortured.

* Tain from The Immortals series (Joy Nash, Robin T. Popp, etc.) – The Redeeming
Poor Tain was lured away from his brothers by a demon and tortured physically and mentally for 700 years. Can you imagine? I’d go a little nuts too.

*Zsadist from J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series – Lover Awakened
He was a blood slave to a sadistic bitch vamp for a long time (sorry, can’t remember the exact time frame) but it messed him up mentally and he bore the physical scars from his experience.

*Richard and Asher form Laurell K. Hamilton’s Anita Blake series
Poor, dear Richard is mentally tortured by his indecisions when it comes to Anita. He can’t fight his desires/needs/connect to her, but also can’t seem to fully embrace his true self. Every book wears me out as much as it does Anita *sigh*.
Asher bears the physical scars of his past capture and torture when vampires weren’t well looked upon.

*Daegus MacKeltar from Karen Marie Moning’s Highlander series – The Dark Highlander
Daegus houses the 13 evil Druids inside of him, which he accepted to save his twin brother’s life. Okay, I have trouble with just my own brain inside my head, let along 13 others, lol.

*Ken Norton from Christine Feehan’s Game series – Deadly Game
Ken has both physical scars all over his body from being captured and tortured, and of course some mental difficulties from the experience.

*Reyes (Keeper of Pain) from Gena Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld series – Darkest Pleasure
Yes, all the LoU warriors are tortured because they each hold an evil deity inside of them, but Reyes was the one that really touched my heart so far. I’ve never seen the need to cut so strong, or to inflict pain upon oneself so powerful.

*The Paladins in Alexis Morgan’s Paladin series
Can you imagine being killed over and over and being brought back time and time again in order to protect the world? I’ll admit to needing to catch up on this series, but the first 3 books I read, each hero was equally tortured with their dilemma that they faced at being a Paladin.

*Acheron in Sherryl Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series
Last, but certainly not least, is Ash. That man *drool* is the ultimate tortured hero. If you haven’t read this book…it’s a MUST! It actually had me in tears several times and talk about yelling and muttering at the pages. Never done so much with another book.

I’ve found a website with more tortured heroes in a variety of genres if you’d like to see more.

Who are your favorite tortured heroes? Why do you love them?

Do not wait for change. Do what you can now.

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