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2.23.2011

Guest Post: Ruby Reads In Defense of Alpha Heroes


Please welcome Ruby from Ruby Reads to Parajunkee's View this morning. Inspired by some of the questions popping up around the bloggysphere Ruby is taking a stance on Alphas...

In Defense of Alpha Heroes



Remember a few Follow Fridays ago, when the question of the week was what kind of heroes we prefer? Raise your hand if you said “Alpha hero.” Yes, me too. I saw lots of different answers on the blogsphere. Some went for the strong, silent type. Some liked the sensitive or the artistic guy. Whatever our preference, the hero is integral to our enjoyment of whatever book we’re reading. I adore love triangles, but they also make me wary. I know myself; therefore I know that I’ll choose sides early in the story. And if the writer doesn’t pick the guy I do? Well, it takes some fancy writing to get me to keep reading to the end. For me, the hero is the one who has the cachet to make or break the story.

I’ve stated my personal preference for alpha heroes, but that isn’t a blanket statement. I’m discerning. I like alpha heroes, not abusive cavemen. Alpha heroes only work if their heroines are strong, too. Without her strength, the alpha hero degenerates. In fact, I’d sat that real alpha heroes are attracted to strong women. Those who aren’t, well—they aren’t alpha heroes—they’re bullies. They’re abusive and they give alpha heroes a bad wrap. There’s a lot of good in this dominant species of hero—and plenty to love.

One of the defining characteristics of an alpha hero is his intense focus on the heroine. He generally has two chief priorities: making it clear that his heroine is his (to both the heroine and the rest of the world), and protecting her. This is why the alpha hero works best in dangerous situations. He’s the kind of guy every girl needs when she’s being stalked by murderous vampires or in fear of her life because she witnessed a murder. Yes, the alpha hero can be high-handed. Yes, he can be domineering. He’s not afraid to use sex or his physical superiority to get his way. But at the end of the day, the best kind of alpha hero doesn’t lose track of one very important fact: his mission is to keep his heroine safe, not to inflict pain on her.

This doesn’t mean that the alpha hero never gets it wrong. He’s male, after all. He’s also apt to forget that this is the modern day. Often times his heroine doesn’t want to be protected, or doesn’t feel that she needs to be protected. And, of course, great heroines can take care of themselves. What I like about alpha heroes is that they still have the instinct to protect. One of my favorite examples is Adam, from the Mercy Thompson books. Adam is an alpha hero who deals with his “condition” in the best of ways. He steps back and allows Mercy the freedom he knows that she needs—the freedom to solve her own problems, and to be in control of her own life. It doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have protective instincts (because, by god, he does), but that he’s a stellar alpha hero, so her intellectual and emotional safety is as important to him as her physical one.

Alpha heroes are no more flawed than other types of heroes. What’s so delicious about them is the focus they direct on the heroine. They’re steadfast in their pursuit of her. With an alpha hero, the heroine never has to wonder whether the hero really wants her or not. He’ll always make that very clear. It’s true that he’ll have a hard time taking no for an answer (he won’t. At all.) and that he’ll have a tendency to be jealous, but I think the alpha hero is worth it. At least, fictionally speaking. What about you?


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Thanks for stopping by Ruby! I know I love Alpha men...in my books and IRL (I married a Marine!). Let us know how you feel about Alphas and visit Ruby at her online home by clicking on her banner.

Ruby's Reads

8 comments:

Gabrielle said...

Love the Alpha male! And you're right: they're perfect for strong female characters, which are great too. No moping around for those couples. Best thing about Alpha males? Their singular focus on the women they want. Love that!

Tori said...

I love alpha heros (I married an alpha-sigh) but like mentioned above-there is a fine but definitely line between protecting and bulling. And I agree that it doesn't work if the heroine isn't just as strong. To me, the Ghost walkers from Feehan's series are borderline bullies. And some are kinda creepy too. The heroines in this series are strong until they are essentially over powered by the alpha. Then, it's just ick from then out. Now, I like Ilona Andrew's Kate and Curran. Curran is VERY alpha and very protective of Kate, but Kate can take care of herself and he knows it. So he is very good at knowing when to step in and when to step aside. But he is sneaky and often has someone watching her when she is on a job. :)He doesn't talk down to her-treats her as an equal. That goes really far with me in liking an alpha.

Mandy Lum said...

I absolutely LOVE alpha heroes as well. A few of my favorites are Adam Hauptman from Patricia Briggs's Mercedes Thompson Series, Charles Cornick from her Alpha and Omega Series, and Marc Ramos from Rachel Vincent's Shifters Series. I think this is the reason I love shifter books-I absolutely adore alpha heroes. I love vampire books as well, but there is something amazing about those shifter alpha heroes that immediately pulls me into the story. And I completely understand the "triangle" dilemma - but although frustrating at times, it makes the story all the more interesting and more often than not, much more steamy!

So glad to hear that someone loves alpha heroes as much as I do! Oh, and I love your "I Love Alphas" graphic - I may have to add it to my blog and link it to this post :)

Frosy said...

Well said!

Paranormal Haven said...

I love my alphas in my books but I don't think I could deal with an alpha in my life. SO many things would not fly with me. Thanks for the guest post Ruby!


Stephanie G
Paranormal Haven

KM said...

I like an alpha male hero sometimes, but sometimes I like the "nice guy." It just depends on the story, for me. I think my favorite alpha male in a book is Ren from Andrea Cremer's NIGHTSHADE - besides the fact that he's literally the alpha, he definitely has those protective tendencies. I really loved the interplay between him and Calla, especially since she was the alpha female. Lots of tension. It's great!

I really enjoyed this post. I definitely think the alpha guy gets a bad rep sometimes because he's seen as abusive. Totally not true. Abusive guy and alpha guy are different types of characters.

Rubita said...

Gabrielle, the singular focus thing makes me all gooey inside every time. And now that you mention it, I have to agree that it's nice to have characters (especially female ones) that don't spend a great deal of the book moping around because of the hero.

Tori, I love Curran, too!

Mandy Lum, I haven't read the Shifters series, but it's definitely on my list now. I'm an Adam fan myself, which is why I'm soo ridiculously excited about River Marked. But: I can't take credit for the I Heart Alphas icon. That was all Rachel.

Frosy: Thanks!

Paranormal Haven, I've heard that a lot. I've never dated an alpha male myself--my appreciation of them is purely fictional. I don't think I've actually met an actual alpha male. The very idea makes me laugh, a bit.

KM: Thanks! I was definitely backing Ren in Nightshade myself. I was trying to think of a "nice guy" story that I've read and enjoyed, but I can't. What have you liked? Also, exactly: abusive and alpha heroes are totally different. Writers AND readers both get that wrong, at times. I have to admit, that the title of my post made me giggle to myself. What other hero is less likely to need defending? Stereotypically speaking, of course.

Logan E. Turner said...

I was reading along thinking "Yes, like Adam from--" and then there it was! LOL! Great minds and all of that. :)

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