Monday, February 25, 2013

Heroes According to Jane Austen - 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

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

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.

Please share!


Unknown said...

I think maybe the hero in my first book is a "good guy." :)

You gotta love George Knightley. Although, sometimes I think he and Emma are almost a little too brotherly/sisterly for me to totally feel the romance like in other Austen novels. But still...he's such a good guy!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Neither one of my first two heroes have been a good guy or a best friend by these definitions. But this is so, so helpful! Not only does this help me expose the type of hero I'm going for, but it is helping to ensure that I haven't been writing the same guy over and over. :)

Awesome post, Pepper! Gotta love the Jane Austen men!

Julie Lessman said...

FUN POST, Pep!!! Looks like I have some catching up to do on my reading ... :)

Thanks for including John Brady too, you sweet thing!!


Mary Connealy said...

Thanks for including my hero, Pepper. Red Dawson is the perfect man.

Pepper said...

Hey Melissa,
The hero in my CR is a 'good guy' too. I think they're so sweet to write, don't you?

And...I'm a BIG fan of George Knightley!

Pepper said...

Yeah, you strike me as a Reformed Rogue writer ;-)
Works well for suspense too.

Pepper said...

Love John Brady!!
AND I think you like to write more Reformed Rogues and type A - Anti-Heroes (Playboys with BIG hearts). And you write them SOOOO well (swoon)

Pepper said...

He's DEFINITELY a 'good guy'...GREAT, in fact

Julia M. Reffner said...

Edmund Betram is another great "best friend" pick. My new story will have a "best friend."

Love what Fanny and her sister say about "rakes" in the Patricia Rozema Mansfield Park...

Susan Price: So, this Henry Crawford, what's he like?
Fanny Price: A rake. I think.
Susan Price: Oh, yes, please.
Fanny Price: They amuse more in literature than they do in life.
Susan Price: Yes, but they amuse.

Amber Holcomb said...

Such a fun theme for posts! :) I think Henry Tilney and Mr. Knightley are my favorite Jane Austen heroes!! JJ Feild won me over the first time I saw the PBS Masterpiece version of Northanger Abbey on TV, and I had to buy the movie so I could see him whenever I wanted. ;) I LOVE Henry! And Northanger Abbey is the only Jane Austen book I've read so far (for one of my Brit Lit classes last year).

I have a character in my current WIP that would probably fit into "The Best Friend" category. I think other heroes I've written probably fall under "The Reluctant Hero"... Curious to hear about "The Reformed Rogue" and "The Anti-Hero." Thank you for these fun posts! :)


Erynn said...

I love both of these heroes (and the Austen examples) THE MOST!!! Such a fun post.
In my current novel, I have a "Best Friend" and a "Reformed Rogue."

My next one features a "good guy."

I married the Best Friend. Hubs and I met in high school. No regrets.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

No, I haven't written either one of those, but they way you portray them sure makes me want to! :)

Nicely done!

Ashley Clark said...

Well-done, Pepper! :) I love reading about your swoon-worthy heros. It's helpful to see them in this kind of format... and the photo illustrations are particularly illuminating. ;)

Pepper said...

Edmund is probably one of the most misunderstood Austen heroes, don't you think?
He had good intentions, but doesn't seem to 'see clearly'. I had a hard time trying to decide if Edmund is a Best Friend or a Reluctant Hero.

Pepper said...

Henry Crawford DEFINITELY falls under the 'rake' category (AKA AntiHero), but which AntiHero is the real question.

Pepper said...

So glad you enjoyed the post. These two heroes are at the very top of my list. A man with a sense of humor? ANY TIME! :)

I fell in love with Mary Shelley's Frankenstein during my Brit Lit course in school. LOVE!

Happy writing!

Pepper said...

Sigh. Erynn married Mr. Knightley.
Gotta love that story!

Pepper said...

Thanks, sherrinda.
It was no hardship, let me tell you

Pepper said...

I've visited the blog several times today just to get a healthy dose of eye-candy.

My favorite kind because it doesn't do any damage on my calorie counter ;-)

Julia M. Reffner said...

Yes, I do think he is misunderstood. Actually, I loved the movie but Mansfield Park was a HARD book to understand because Austen wrote Fanny very true to the time period. She comes off as so servile she is hard to like in many ways. Rozema's version isn't very true to Austen, but I must admit to preferring that "Fanny Price". Good point about Edmund possibly falling into more than one category. Don't you wish we could ask Jane?? Great post once again. :)

Henry Crawford is an anti-hero, but I somehow like him on some level...even though I don't want to. :) So I suppose they do still amuse :)