This post is in response to a little nugget that I read in Heather’s article at the Galaxy Express entitled Does Science Fiction Romance Need More Alpha Heroes? The specific section that caught my eye was this:
"Why is it the paranormal character is so often the hero and not the heroine?"
Yeah, what's up with that?
I can tell you exactly what is up with that as I am a fan of paranormal romance and fiction. So here it goes… six reasons why the paranormal character is always the hero!
- We like our heroes mysterious. What is more mysterious than a mythological creature, be he vampire or lycanthrope or other?
- Strong powerful hero + average heroine = swoon. When an extraordinary specimen of the male gender sits up and takes notice of a rather ordinary female it is easier to place ourselves in the heroine’s shoes. That’s not because we think of ourselves as unworthy, this formula just makes it more accessible for readers. This scenario also tends to fill the tenderness and protectiveness side of the fantasy.
- Strong powerful hero + kickass heroine = hell yeah. When number two’s formula just doesn’t cut it there are the novels about strong heroes and stronger heroines. In this scenario the reader and heroine tend to dominate over the situation. The hero must work around the heroine to get in her good graces and who hasn’t imagine upon at least one occasion a strong sexy male groveling at your feet?
- Angel, Spike, Jean-Claude, Asher, Edward Cullen, Jasper Cullen, Eric Northman, and Bill Compton. Do I really need to go on with this point? I think this pretty much brings it home. Otherworldly men are downright sexy! Especially vampires!
- The desires of the paranormal fit better on a hero. The act of drinking blood is considered highly sexual in vampire romances. It’s become part of the erotic fantasy. Sometimes the heroine likes to pretend to be helpless and the hero’s act of feeding gives her a thrilling rush. Besides, I think I pretty much covered how icky it can be to read a heroine drinking blood.
- Redemption always looks better on a man. Many paranormal stories involve the preternatural lead repenting his past acts dictated by his nature, circumstances, and misinformed beliefs due to change. This makes him now a brooding hero and occasionally puts the heroine in the middle of the path toward his salvation or as his savior.
So there you go—six reasons paranormal stories always feature preternatural heroes.