Monday, February 29, 2016

Swooning with Austen's Heroes...Part 2

Last time I introduced the 6 Austen-hero-types, but only expounded on the first two. As a refresher, here are the 6 categories:
The Reluctant Hero

The Subtle Servant

The Good Guy

The Best Friend

The Reformed Rogue

The Anti-Hero

Though the last two hero types seem to cause greater swoon-power, I am equally impressed (and enamored) by the next two Austen heroes.

The Good Guy
This hero is good for goodness sake. The heroine meets him within the first chapter or two, and there is an immediate kinship because this hero has the ability to create instant camaraderie. He doesn’t brood, is honest, hopeful, encouraging, and usually has a fantastic sense of humor. Though – I’d have to say most of Austen’s heroes have solid senses of humor, this one may have of the best.

Henry Tilney
Austen describes our first glance at Henry as this: "rather tall, had a pleasing countenance, a very intelligent and lively eye, and, if not quite handsome, was very near it."

Henry Tilney, a second born son and one of the few ‘good’ clergyman in Austen’s novels, stands in contrast to many of her other heroes. He’s open, friendly, honest, has a fine income, quick wit, and teases the conventions of society. Much like Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, he takes the poor, inexperienced heroine, Catherine, under his wing to guide her in ‘polite’ society – most of the time tongue-in-cheek style. Unlike Henry Higgins, he does not carry the same arrogance or self-importance, but seems genuinely kindhearted and goodnatured. Plus, he’s good to his sister and likes to read novels ;-)

In all honesty, how can you not like a guy who says stuff like this:

Miss Morland, no one can think more highly of the understanding of women than I do. In my opinion, nature has given them so much that they never find it necessary to use more than half.” -Ch 14 of Northanger Abbey

Austen's Mr. Bingley and perhaps Colonel Fitzwilliam might fit in here too.
Justin Wells from Margaret Brownley’s A Lady Like Sarah

Red Dawson from Mary Connealy’s book Montana Rose (FAVORITE Connealy classic)
Harry DeVries from Siri Mitchell’s She Walks in Beauty (FAVORITE Siri historical)
George Bailey from It’s a Wonderful Life
Captain America, Superman
David from my novel, The Thorn Keeper
August from my WIP, The Thorn Healer

Red Shirt from Laura Frantz's novel, Courting Morrow Little

And Jack from While You Were Sleeping
The Best Friend

This is the man who not only provides a solid friendship, but is a confidante for the heroine. The difference between him and the Good Guy type is the depth of relationship he already possesses with the heroine. His closeness, many times, fogs up the feelings of love growing between the two, and may become entangled with conflict, irrational behavior, withdrawal, and conflict before the pair realizes what revelation is taking place in their hearts. In my opinion, solid friendship is a prerequisite to true love, and there is rare beauty in a gentle transition of platonic relationship deepening with romance.

Within the uniqueness of this romance is the need the hero might have to 'set the heroine straight'.  Their close relationships encourages the hero to feel a particular need to keep the heroine on the right track and perhaps even reprimand her if she sways off.

Mr. George Knightley – George Knightley seems to possess all the makings of a perfect hero and without the brooding of Mr. Darcy or bitterness of Captain Wentworth (though both of those heroes are fantastic). He is prone to ‘right wrongs’ to the point of being a bit bossy sometimes, but his intentions are to bring Emma back to the woman he knows she truly is on the inside. Their friendship gives him the intimacy of knowledge about her which a shorter acquaintance might not provide. Controlled, even-tempered, and logical, Mr. Knightley only loses ‘his cool’ when he becomes aware of his deepening feelings for Emma, to which he then responds with foreign internal feelings such as jealousy and impulsivity. He is the epitome of kindness, and is quick to assist the needs of the women of his acquaintance. And though he sees clearly Emma’s flaws, he loves her still, perhaps his love even deepens because of the solid foundation of their friendship.

 John Brady in Julie Lessman’s novel A Passion Denied

Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series
Sam from my debut novel, The Thorn Bearer

Harry from When Harry Met Sally

Adrien from Siri Mitchell’s novel Kissing Adrien

What do YOU think of these two Austen hero-types? Have you ever written a Good Guy or a Best Friend? In my current historical romance I have a 'Best Friend' hero. In the third book of that same series, I have a Good Guy.

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