Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Bad Boys and Why They're So Good

*WARNING - This post contains potential spoilers for The Hunger Games, The Mortal Instruments Series, The Vampire Academy Series, Jane Eyre, and Wuthering Heights.

If you're a paranormal romance reader, you probably already have an idea of what I'm talking about...especially if you're reading some of the most recent popular paranormal romances and urban fantasies. Oh, those bad boys! *SWOON*

You know the ones I'm talking about. Patch Cipriano, Jace Wayland (Morgenstern/Herondale/Lightwood), Gale Hawthorne, Will Herondale and the countless others that have charmed us. I have found something while reading my most recent favorites. When it comes down to a couple of choices for main guys, I'm more than happy to let the heroine of the story have the good guy as long as she leaves me with the bad boy. ;-) Why do we love them so much? What makes the characters so irresistible?

Well, I have a theory about that. 

We are women. Hear us RAWR. It's our natural instinct to nurture, to 'make all better,' and to comfort. The boys above all have something in common. They're snarky, rude, and obnoxious...but for a reason. Poor Jace - what a troubled childhood he had. I'll never forget the quote, "The boy never cried again, and he never forgot what he'd learned: that to love is to destroy, and that to be loved is to be the one destroyed." If that doesn't scream broken, damaged, and wounded, I don't know what does!

What about Gale? The poor guy was in charge of caring for his family from a young age, oppressed by the capitol, and then forced to watch the girl he loved fall in love with someone else - ON TELEVISION.

“I knew you’d kiss me.”
“How?” I say. Because I didn’t know myself.
“Because I’m in pain,” he says. “That’s the only way I get your attention.”

If that scene wasn't enough to tear your heart out, what is? Patch - fallen angel. Need I say more? Will Herondale - well, I haven't quite figured out what his deal is yet. (Come on, Clockwork Prince!) The point is, each of the bad boys we love so much have been broken, damaged, and wounded - and we know that our heroine is going to come along and make them whole again. Or, in some cases, she won't, and then we'll end up mourning them and wondering if they ever found happiness. (Gale - *Hint, Hint, Suzanne.)

When faced with two handsome, strong men, is it in our instincts to choose the one we can 'fix?' Or, is it something to do with the bad boys being the alpha male? Is it somewhere in the backs of our minds...this little drive to look for the leader of the pack? Maybe. There is one exception I've found, though.

Adrian Ivashkov.

He doesn't seem to be wounded. I mean, he fights his own demons in the darkness of spirit, but he's  pretty much got everything a boy could want. He's wealthy, royal and handsome. Also, being Moroi, he's not the 'tough' one or the fighter, so I don't think the attraction is the alpha male variety.  Richelle Mead has managed to create a snarky, arrogant, cocky, rude, lazy addict that I can't get enough of. I will happily hand you twelve Dimitris for an Adrian. I'm not sure whether that means Richelle needs therapy or I need it.

I have to put a shout out in here for the original bad boys - Mr. Rochester (Jane Eyre) and Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights). Come on - Mr. Rochester was hiding his wife in a wing of his house, teasing Jane with that hideous Blanche Ingram and lying throughout the entire book but we still love him. Heathcliff made it his life's mission to bring down everyone who ever crossed him, and I don't know about you, but I thought it was pretty hot.

My very own 'bad boy,' Jackson Vance (Amaretto Flame) is a musician with a taste for whiskey and pretty girls. Hmmmm...what is he hiding? ;-)

In any case, my favorite stories have the bad boys in them...the ones that are toxic, but you just can't get enough of them. Who is your favorite bad boy? (Let me know because if I don't know him, I want to be introduced ASAP!)

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