What is a Hero?

This is a timely question for me as tomorrow my Mere Passion hero, Kai, is up against Kerri Nelson‘s hockey player in Camryn Rhys’ CSAR contest. Kai was probably the most heroic hero I’ve written to date. I tend towards anti-heroes, but Kai was a hero through and through, a born alpha, which is why I tortured him so thoroughly.

Here I will outline the many ways General Kai Nasu, defender of the Dragon Empire, rocks.

1. A hero has room for improvement!
Nothing bugs me more in a story than a hero who starts out perfect. Sure Kai began as a prejudiced, arrogant ass. But therein lied his charm. He had room to grow, and only needed the right experiences and the right heroine to draw him out.

2. A hero wants to be better.
A hero strives to improve, to learn new things, to be a better person. In Mere Passion, Kai faced a number of challenges, from a full-on values makeover to lessons in cross country skiiing. Through it all, he didn’t give up.

3. A hero is good on the inside.
Of course surface-level things like clothes, haircut, and job can change. People forget, though, that beliefs, goals, and values can change as well. Kai’s beliefs at the start of the book were horribly flawed. However, his conviction and desire to be noble were his best traits. Kai had flaws on the surface, but held a truly heroic willingness to sacrifice, strive, and conquer on behalf of that which he cherished.

4. A hero protects what he loves.
Kai began Mere Passion defending and expanding the Dragon Empire, and ended the story by protecting Alara and the mere of Murrough Island. But through it all the defended those he held dear.

5. A hero can change his mind.
Heroes aren’t rigid. Okay, well…parts of them can be rigid. *Waggles eyebrows.*

Strength of conviction differs from fanaticism, with heroes falling on one side of the divide and villains occupying the other. A hero admits when he’s wrong, analyzes and learns from the situation before him. He remembers the past, but isn’t trapped or obsessed by his memories.

I love Kai Nasu because he overcame his upbringing and was able to see things in a whole different way. It’s a rare alpha male (in romance novels at least) who’s asked to make such a radical leap. Kai not only questions his beliefs and adopts new ones, but he finds a way to channel his strengths and throw the force of his character behind a whole new worldview.

Now that’s heroic. πŸ™‚

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10 Responses to What is a Hero?

  1. jeff7salter says:

    And from the cover you included, I’d say your hero is … nekkid.


  2. Daisy Harris says:

    He is! He’s verra nekkid! He also won the match-up, so my book is moving on the to next round. πŸ™‚ (I wrote this Saturday and forgot to update it to reflect the contest findings.)


  3. Sara says:

    Technically speaking, the outcome of the story hinges upon the decisions of the hero character. So s/he has to be important and story-changing. I once read a book where the perspective character had nothing to do with the outcome of the story’s climax, and it was awful! He wasn’t heroic at all!

    Also, digging the naked hero there. πŸ˜‰



    • Daisy Harris says:

      Huh- I hadn’t known that. Makes sense, though. Thanks for the input. And yes, nekkid heroes are the best heroes! πŸ™‚


  4. danicaavet says:

    I did love Kai. I think it was because he was so prejudiced that I couldn’t wait to see how you would change his mind. He really is a great hero!


    • Daisy Harris says:

      I liked how absurd and ridiculous I made his prejudice. A lot of paranormal romances assume certain prejudices and don’t really question them so much. The vampire/werewolf thing comes to mind. They’re all mortal enemies- but we don’t get a sense that any of the characters are planning to question that any time soon.

      So I had such fun spoofing on the issue of prejudice in the paranormal world. Because hey- who can dislike mermaids?? Only a sick, sick person! πŸ™‚

      Thanks for your comment!


  5. Lynn Rush says:

    Yeah, Kai did start out a bit prejudice, didn’t he? I loved his transformation. A good hero always has room for improvement. Great post!


    • Daisy Harris says:

      Funny thing, after I wrote this post I got a bee in my bonnet to watch American History X. Obviously a very heavy and brave movie. But I found it interesting that the hero in American History X also went through a huge transformation in prejudices. He began as a strong, charismatic, figurehead and you could tell that in the future he had the potential to transform into a figurehead for good.

      Just goes to show that the characteristics of a hero translate to all types of stories from drama to tragedy to light and frothy romance!


  6. Excellent post- but you’ve left nothing else to say! Alas, what shall I blog about tomorrow?? Seriously, you’ve made some great points, as usual. Wonderful job, Daisy!


  7. Daisy Harris says:

    Use the time to plug your own hero!

    Thanks for commenting, πŸ™‚


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