A Little Wrath Goes a Long, Dark Way

For my fellow MANhandlers, I’m posting a picture of more delectable numiness. Feel free to ogle a bit before you move on to the post.

I’ll wait…

But, truly, I’ve got to move on…

C’mon, my friends, let’s talk about some serious sexy: the dark hero. (See? I got your attention. Devious writer, I am one.)

A great example, for me, is Wrath from J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. Wrath is a vampire torn between leading his people or rejecting the role of king. He has no interest in ruling and zero respect for humans, and this includes children sired by vampires on human women. He’s crass, unsophisticated and ginormously sexy. When he’s called on to step up and see a half-vampire child through her transition, he balks. Okay. That’s not true. His answer is basically, “Hell. No.” But circumstances intervene, Fate plays her cards and the dark hero is born.

What is it that’s so appealing about a dark hero? Is it his unwillingness to be a hero that makes him so desirable? Is it his ability to make me love him and loathe him in one paragraph–one sentence even? Or is it deeper than that? Maybe it’s the fact he seems irredeemable, and we worry he’s crossed the line too far into the dark to be pulled back to the light. Regardless of the “why” of it, the point is this: the dark hero appeals to us on a variety of levels, many of them deeply personal.

There’s something about a dark hero that absolutely flips my switch. I want to  know he’s walking that fine line of good and evil, and that both sides speak to him. He’s a richer character for his dark flaws, and there are a thousand reasons this could be true for each of us as both writers and readers. But what it comes down to, for me as an author is this: it’s the reader’s interpretation of what the hero is after the author sets out his proverbial “pros and cons” list that makes that character work/not work. When an author is able to create a hero you love to hate, to put on the page a fictional character you fantasize about or who makes you wish you were starring opposite him–the author’s done the job of pulling the reader in and done it well. I’m in the process of creating my own dark hero and let me tell you, it’s not easy. He’s the hardest character I’ve ever written, and dark heroes are sort of my specialty. Yeah, I’ve got a hang-up. I love them passionately, grandly and without apology.

Now I want to turn the tables and ask you who your Wrath is? Who’s (in case you missed my last post) your Cain? Don’t be shy. Jump in and let other readers know if there’s a character/series that does it for you. You never know when you might get them started on a new series they love. It’s how I found Wrath and all the luscious brothers. 😉  Thank you, J.R. Ward. Thank you.

Posted on November 14, 2012, in Denise Tompkins and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I’m embarassed to say that I’ve never read Ward’s books but I love your description of a dark hero. My favorite dark hero – I know this sounds weird but I love Batman – the Frank Miller version, where he doesn’t play very well with the other kids. His emotions he never shows and he thinks he’s right all the time. So when there is a chink in his emotional armor it’s very satisfying.

    • Thank you, Viki Lyn. I do love a dark hero and find my men trend that way. But it’s so appealing to me! And if you like dark heroes, do give JR Ward’s series a try. Get into book two before you decide. I really love her.

      And Batman is a GREAT example of a dark hero! He’s emotionally broken in so many ways, and he’s driven by obligation and the need to save people to redeem the fact he lost his family. So many things that drive him and make him who he is are darker and he fights to not fall.

      I really appreciate your comment and prompt for conversation! Have a great day.

  2. OOoooh I loved Wrath in that first book. I’ve read most of the series…must check and see if more have come out that I don’t have….great post!

    • Thanks, Jan. I really did love Wrath too. And I love him as the books progress too. 🙂 He continues to be flawed but softer thanks to Beth’s influence. He’s one of my favorite dark heroes. He and Barons in the Dark Fever series. (Yummy, yummy, yummy.)

      I really appreciate you stopping by!

  3. Much as I loved Wrath my favorite dark hero is Zsadist. He was so dark that I couldn’t get enough of him. I wanted to know how he was going to be redeemed.

    • Zsadist was the one I wanted redeemed the most, but there was something about Wrath that pulled at me. I would imagine it’s the long black hair and light eyes because I have a serious thing for Vishous too. But V didn’t strike me as such a dark hero. He was more in Hollywood’s bad boy league. 🙂 But I’ll tell you this with certainty: there’s not a single brother in the BDB that I’d turn away. Uh-uh. Each one of them is scrumptious in some way or another!

      Thanks for the comment, suzlyne.

  4. My favorite Brother is actually John Matthew but then I think its because I like the John-Xhex relationship more so than Wrath-Beth or Zsadist-Bella even though Wrath and Z are pretty sexy. Great post Denise.

    • Thanks, Sabrina! Like I said above, I have to say that each of the brothers has something about them I find appealing. Wrath just struck me as such a tortured soul. John was one who really pulled at my heartstrings, so I get the appeal there too. 🙂 I’m just all about the silent, huge, brooding, long dark haired guy. (sigh) And I think it has something to do with the fact Wrath stole my Brotherhood virginity too. LOL

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