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. 🙂