How Do You Like Your Heroes?

Dark and brooding? Flirtatious and carefree? Athletic? Artistic? The best friend turned romantic interest? The mysterious stranger with ice cold skin?

When you’re reading or watching a romance, what kind of hero makes your heart flutter? What kind of hero makes you root for the not-yet couple to fall in love?
Since I write romance, this question intrigues me.  And as I was thinking about it, four incredibly popular heroes popped into my head.

Noah Calhoun from The Notebook. Jack Dawson from Titanic. Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. And Edward Cullen from Twilight

These four heroes fall into two distinct categories. 

On one side we have Noah and Jack. Working class. Down-to-earth. Flirtatious. Untethered and carefree. One loves poetry. The other is an artist.
On the other side, we have Edward and Fitzwilliam Darcy. Rich. Untouchable. Mysterious. Brooding (for Edward, let’s skip brooding and go straight to tortured). The opposite of carefree.
Millions of women have fallen in love with these four. Each one makes us root for the happily-ever-after.
Yet they are incredibly different.  
It’s almost impossible to find a common ground.
Except for one thing.
It’s not so much who they are as how they love. And one thing is certain. These guys love their women.
They love them to the extent that all other women disappear. They love them to the extent that they would die for them. Suffer for eternity without them. 
And that…..well that is just incredibly romantic.

Let’s Talk: Who is your favorite all-time hero in a romance (movie or book or even show)? Why is he your favorite? What quality does a hero need to have for you to fall in love with him? removetweetmeme

35 thoughts on “How Do You Like Your Heroes?

  1. Katie Ganshert

    You have no idea how excited I am about this! Right now, they only have season one on DVD. Season 2 won't come out until September, BUT – you can buy every episode on Amazon.

  2. Sally Hepworth

    Right. I'll get the box set and have a marathon next time I have a night to myself. I'll be sure to report back 🙂

  3. Katie Ganshert

    Hey Sally – haven't seen True Blood, but I've heard it's good. You really should watch Vampire Diaries. Seriously. It's amazing. But if you do start watching, you have to start from the beginning. Otherwise, you won't know what's going on.

  4. Sally Hepworth

    Hi Katie, I haven't seen Vampire Diaries, but I'll make sure I check it out. I am a huge fan of True Blood – have you seen it? This was a great post. Made me think long and hard about my leading man.

  5. chaoticmusing

    I loved Edward because his dark and tortured nature reminded me of me. And because his love and devotion and his need to protect and serve Bella reminded me of my hubby.

  6. chaoticmusing

    I loved Edward because his dark and tortured nature reminded me of me. And because his love and devotion and his need to protect and serve Bella reminded me of my hubby.

  7. Michelle Massaro

    oh my! I think you nailed it–they love their women. That's what does it. I also think the reason we don't want a perfect hero is because we want to be needed. If they have no voids in their hearts or lives, there's no place for us to fill.

    Now, about my favorite hero. I did swoon over many already mentioned (LOVE Gil's last scene with Anne when he again calls her Carrots while fingering her hair!), but I've got to say, hands-down. . .

    Wolverine from X-men. Yes, I'm serious! I'd have been taking on Jean Gray for a shot at that man. (Don't tell my hubby, lol)

  8. Erin

    Bad boys annoy me unless it turns out to have been a misunderstanding of the guy's character, as in the case of Mr. Darcy. <3 I like a kind, quiet guy that turns out to have a deepness about him that is unexpected and irresistible – maybe because it reminds me of my real-life romance?! I think a man with integrity that is completely devoted to a woman is the most romantic thing ever!

  9. Heidi

    Well, bad boys generally do it, ha. But I guess I like realistic heroes — the ones with flaws who are okay with their girl having flaws, too.

  10. Tamika:

    My hubby won me over with his sweet, soft side. The gentle giant approach worked:)

    Did I forget to mention how big and strong he is?! Love that man.

  11. Marji Laine

    Well, Joe Leaphorn is in the mystery genre – mainstream, so he isn't as well known – but very good!

  12. Katie Ganshert

    You know what's scaring me? You are all bringing up so many heroes I don't know! What kind of romance author am I??

  13. Marji Laine

    Wow, there are some great ones one here! I would definitely go with Darcy as my favorite literary hero, but Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Sir Percy Blakeney would run up in the top as well. I would also add the amazing hero in Susan May Warren's new book, My Foolish Heart. Caleb is a hero in every sense of the word!

  14. Terri Tiffany

    Noah Calhoun is my kind of hero–in fact that's the kind I usually write–down-to-earth, hardworking and a regular guy. Hmmm sounds like my husband:)

  15. Loree Huebner

    Love them all!

  16. Ralene

    I love all types of heroes as long as they take care of their women! I was like Krista–I didn't want to like Edward C., but felt drawn to him–talk about charisma! Jack is one of my favs just b/c he was so carefree. I loved Michael from Redeeming Love b/c of his steadfastness and his obedience to the Lord. I loved the boy in A Walk to Remember for his willingness to stand by his girlfriend, even when she was going to die, and how he let her love (and God's love) change him. I could go on and on…but I'll stop now. lol

  17. Tana Adams

    Yes, I like someone who would suffer for me, just ask my husband. He's a great hero. He claims to suffer on a regular basis because of me. 😉

  18. Niki Turner

    Excellent connection to make, Katie! It's not the kind of hero, it's how he loves the heroine.
    On that note, my current favorite would have to Damon on Vampire Diaries. I like Twilight a lot, but Damon has Edward beat, fangs down, IMO.
    For a literary-hero, I'd have to go with Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre. Obviously, I tend toward the dark, brooding, bad-boy type. Funny, I married a blond, happy-go-lucky, gets-along-with-everyone type. Interesting.

  19. Laura Marcella

    When I was little, I loved Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series. He was sweet and kind (and sincerely apologetic about the "carrots" incident!) and smart and entirely devoted to Anne even though she made him wait around a looooong time, LoL. He made my little heart swoon!

    I also loved Jack Dawson from Titanic because he was fun, artistic, and not afraid to pursue Rose because he saw more within her than she saw in herself.

    Right now I love Ranger from the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich. I like Joe Morelli too-he's more marriage material, but he won't marry her unless she gives up her dangerous job. Ranger, on the other hand, loves Stephanie for exactly who she is. He doesn't try to change her and what she does. And it doesn't hurt that he's super duper hot, LoL!

  20. CarolM

    Lacy – I've not gotten the Twilight thing either. A friend I trust told me they were like poorly written fanfic. Had one in my possession for a while, but never started it. I've heard she can tell a story like no one's business though, even if the writing craft itself is only okay.

    But I digress.

    Believe it or not, I've not ever P/P either. I did see the Notebook. Once. I cried. A lot. That's all I remember. And I do love Jack. Though I got burned out on Titanic ;). My 9yo wants to watch it [she's fascinated by all things about the ship], but uh, yeah. Not so much.

    Currently, my fave hero is Mary Connealy's Tom Linscott in Sharpshooter in Petticoats [not the only book he's in but the one where he comes front and center and gets the girl – and takes care of her no matter what].

    Also a fan of the hero I'm writing right now which is always a good thing =D. Hopefully, one day ya'll'll get the chance to love him too ;).

  21. patti.mallett_pp

    Well, you picked four winners, Katie, and gave us much to ponder with our male characters, for writing romance, or not, EVERYONE wants a little romance in their stories!! ; ) Thanks!!

  22. Lacie Nezbeth

    Okay, don't hate me…I've never seen any of the Twilight movies. So I don't really get the Twilight craze that has swept the world. 🙂

    My favorite hero of all time is Kevin Costner in Robin Hood. I like my heroes strong and tough, capable in a dangerous situation and loaded with a sense of humor.

    Of course it doesn't hurt when the romantic music swells in the background during a first kiss. Ahh! The stuff of dreams. 🙂

  23. Kristy K

    I'm definitely drawn to the working-class type… the ones who don't necessarily promise you the moon, but they will promise to take care of you. That's true of most of the men in my life – my husband, my dad, etc…

    Noah is my absolute favorite, followed by Robbie Hart of the Wedding Singer :).

  24. Linda B

    I'd have to say Sir Percy Blakeney in the Scarlet Pimpernel would be pretty high on my list. Also Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables and Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, even though that wasn't a romance at all!

  25. Slamdunk

    My fictional heroes are quick-witted, decisive, honorable, slow to anger, and respectiveful. Obviously, I project.

    An example would be Lt. Joe Leaphorn, a Navajo Tribal Police officer, in Tony Hillerman's mystery series.

  26. Jill Kemerer

    Nothing says "hot" like ice cold skin… 🙂 Sorry, had to!!

    I love possessive, protective heroes! Not stalkers or anything, but you know, the guys who can't stand seeing another man flirt with their lady and who would do anything to protect her. Oh yeah!

  27. Krista Phillips

    Ohhhh, I LOVE LOVE LOVE a good hero!!!! Edward was a difficult hero for me… I did NOT want to like him. In fact I watched twilight like three times just to figure out why my heartrate increased when watching him. I think maybe it was because of the sacrifice He made for her. He resisted his most basic human instinct to love her. I dunno, that and he was handsome, HA!

    I like the non-perfect hero. Perfect heroes annoy me. And not just physically (I'm totally fine with a very handsome/hot hero… HA!) but personality wise, things they have to overcome.

    Thinking over the heroes in my books, I have a messy one, a moody-career driven one, and one who ruined my heroine's life in the past and is coming back to make amends.

    Maybe it's the "bad boy" complex or something, I dunno.

    But yes… I DO want my hero to love my heroine. Even the one that ruined her life in the past, is laying HIS life on the line to come back and right his wrong and win her back.

  28. K. Victoria Chase

    Love this post! I'm always a fan of the dark and brooding. You always have to figure out who they are and I'm a curious cat. I'm a fan of Mr. Darcy 🙂 The guy has to be a man with a plan! Strong, determined, confident to a fault….

  29. Jessica R. Patch

    I love them all, fun and flirty, dark and brooding. I want them to fight for their love and a dash of mystery always makes my heart pound! Fun post today!

  30. Katie Ganshert

    LOL Laura – a bit yellow. I think they were going for pale. 🙂

  31. Heather Sunseri

    Oh, yes, I love me some heroes who love their women!! I'm not realy picky about what kind of guys they are as long as they have their own goals and are strong characters.

  32. Laura Pauling

    Tough question. Have to say I loved Jack from Titanic. I don't love dark and brooding in movies though they work well in books. I though Rob. P looked a bit yellow in the Twilight movies.

  33. Jennifer Shirk

    Yes! I like various kinds of heroes but it's really how they love and treat their women that is the common ground.

    I just rented and watched The Holiday and oh, my goodness if Jude Law wasn't just so sweet and cute–but I think what put him over the edge was how he treated Cameron Diaz and his little daughters. *sigh*
    I love a sense of humor in my heroes too.

  34. Sally Hepworth

    Just when I think I can't love your blog any more … you go and put a pic of Edward Cullen on here. Truly, The Twi-hard

  35. Jen J. Danna

    Oh Mr.Darcy (who will always be Colin Firth to me), you had me at: "In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."


    Okay, so he handled that scene VERY badly, but it was his actions that spoke louder than his words after that. And that was what really showed us his true character.


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