Question: Do Romance Heroes Always Have To Be SO Broken?

Posted September 26, 2013 by Carmel in Question / 22 Comments

Question hosted by Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks

Lately I’ve found myself pondering how an author can claim that their protagonist is a “alpha male” when in reality, they are more “beta” because of all their underlying issues. Like most, I love a good tortured hero but recently they seem to be a dime a dozen. If I have to read about one more dude who was physically and/or emotionally abused as a child, my eyes are going to get stuck in a permanent eyeroll.

Last week I read a book where the hero was the fittest, most badass, drop-dead-gorgeous, tall-dark-and-handsome, knight-in-shining-amour, guy around. You know the type: confident, wins every battle, walks with a swagger… Well, after he gets the girl and starts opening up; he immediately turns into a scarred, self-deprecating, sniveling wussy. It really killed his “alpha male” persona for me. I mean yes, the heroine did “fix” him in the end but for once I’d just like to read about a man that doesn’t need to be fixed.

I understand that giving a character a troubled past helps to add depth to the story but I’m honestly getting tired of authors overusing this gimmick. If this trend continues, broken heroes may soon replace love triangles as the most overdone element in fiction. Now that’s a pretty bold statement but think about; when was the last time you read a novel where the main male protagonist was, well… normal?

Do Romance Heroes Always Have To Be SO Broken?

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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22 responses to “Question: Do Romance Heroes Always Have To Be SO Broken?

  1. It seems like the heroes have to be fixed in the PNR books and the heroines have to be fixed in the UF books.

    Or in the case of the Crossfire series they both need to be fixed.

    I’m with ya. I want two healthy characters that can be bad ass without the trap of being “broken”.

    What do you think about the ones that get broken then needs fixing. Say like Thor in BDB or …. well I know I’ve a few others but I can’t think of them this early in the morning.

  2. I love my broken heroes as much as the next PNR lover but it’s refreshing when they don’t come with baggage. It’s like taking a vacation from the norm 🙂

  3. I see that a lot in the “new adult” genre. I think people were interested in having the girl be able to “fix” the guy’s problems by loving him. It was cool when it was unique, but this now the book market is getting saturated with these topics.

  4. Now that you mention it, it does seem like we’re fixing more and more of our alphas and I do love my tortured heros. But come on, where did the Barrons in UF/PNR go, the unapologetic, unequivocally I’m a badass and I, you, the bad guy and his dog knows it?

  5. The problem is that publishers/editors don’t think you guys want healthy characters! LOL Authors are constantly being admonished to give their heroes internal conflict, a reason they can’t love the heroine. Hence, baggage.

  6. Nyx

    I don’t read that much romance but when I do I’m always looking for that real antihero. The one who has the baggage, knows he is messed up and is an asshole most of the time but hell if he is going to apologize or be sorry about it. He is the way he is and everyone else just needs to deal with it. I hate when either the male of female protagonist starts all cocky and badass, finds the S.O. and suddenly their a sniveling wuss. It’s pathetic.

    Nyx @ Unraveling Words

  7. I’m getting a little tired of the guy that is completely messed up, as if is an excuse to have them be total assho** to their partners. I did find them fascinating and intriguing at first, but some are crossing the line into jerk territory and the authors never managed to quite get them out there in my mind. I want heroes like Jericho Barrons…LOL(an unapologetic ahole) Plus honestly, in my mind the definition of success and a total alpha male is the one that overcomes all of his adversities, now to me, that’s HOT.

  8. I hadn’t thought about it, but now that you mention it… yeah, we really are seeing a few too many broken Alphas. And while I like a deep, messed up character as much as the next girl, when I think of my real favorites they aren’t the broken ones. Like Barrons. He’s just pure, unapologetic alpha and I’ve never wished he had a problem Mac could fix. Great post!!

  9. sharonda  

    Once something gets popular, everyone wants in on it. I love my totured heroes just as much as the next gal, but it is getting kind of tiring to see..I’ve even seen a few pop up in contemporary’s too. But I”m with you, can’t they save themselves? why the chick always gotta do it.

    Great post Carmel.

  10. Judy-Ree  

    I completely agree. I want to break out in song “Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods?” Personally if you fall in love with him broken, why the hell are you trying to change him by “fixing” him? Those books make me want to smack them both.