Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Tortured Hero

I'm a sucker for a tortured hero.  I love to read 'em.  I love to write 'em.  Either way, I get to hurt for their pain, yearn alongside them for what they think they'll never have (or don't deserve), and get the HUGE emotional payoff of watching them give in to the love that will take their pain away and make them all better.  I don't care if it's formulaic.  It gets me every time.

My own tortured heroes come in a variety of packages.  There's Lucien, the man who became a vampire after watching his sire murder his wife and daughter before his eyes (Forever Freed).  He gets the extra added torture of being empathic, which means he feels his victims' terror every times he feeds.  There's Cayden, who became an EMT despite a tragic childhood car accident that killed his mother and brother (Hearts in the Dark).  There's Kael, an ancient vampire king whose been alone for centuries rather than subject another mate to the possibility of the kind of tragedy that sent his first wife into fatal premature labor (In the Service of the King).  And there's Merrick, an angel exiled from heaven for having broken angelic law, despite the fact that his infraction saved lives, and who will ultimately have to choose between human love and returning to paradise (Merrick's Chance).

I enjoy reading 'em as much as writing 'em.  J.R. Ward's Zsadist anyone?  I mean, I'm an equal opportunity Brother-lover, but no one tops Zsadist in the tortured soul department.  And, woowee, the results of all that pent-up sorrow and anger and hurt are molten.  For that same reason, I have to give a nod to Sherrilyn Kenyon's Zarek.  (Now, I haven't gotten all the way through her series to read Acheron's book yet, though I've an inkling he might knock Zarek out of first place...).

So, do tell, who are your favorite tortured soul heroes?  Who should I put on my must-read list?

Thanks for reading,


Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Laura,
Oh the dark and tortured hero. I just love them too. I think every historical book I have ever written has a tortured hero. You can get so much mileage out of their journey to love and redemption.



Gabby said...

Oh I love my tortured heroes, it only makes the story better when they finally find their happily ever after.

I just got done reading two books about tortured heroes, one of the books has a heroin that was a little more tortured than the hero. Both these books are in a series by Joey W. Hill.

It's called The Daughters of Arianne, they're both really good. The First one's called A Mermaid's Kiss and the second one's called A Witch's Beauty. Of course neither of the heroes are tortured in the way that Zarek and Zadist are.

Leigh D'Ansey said...

I also love tortured heroes - in fact I don't think you could have a hero without a tragic past. Thanks for the interesting post!

Kelley said...

Classic novels come to mind like Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. Everything about that story is tortured. And I even think Dracula was a tortured hero, his doomed love for Mina was really sad.

Your tortured heroes sound yummy.

Owldreamer said...

My favorite heroes are Mr.Darcy,Michael Corelone,Heathcliff and well face it almost all of the handsome tortured heroes in movies and books. Two of my newest favorites my two heroes,Ran and Symon in my just completed manuscripts.

Laura Kaye said...

Owldreamer--isn't it lovely to fall in love with your own characters? I know I sure do. Oh, such good heroes. And here's one I'm a little embarrassed to admit, but hey, I came of age in the late 80s/early 90s: Tom Cruise's characters in everything from Top Gun to Days of Thunder--he had soul-torturing daddy issues in every one. lol

Thanks for great comments everyone! And happy 4th!

Joanna Aislinn said...

Not all that dark, but my very own Jack Donovan is very high up on the list. (Guess our own heroes tend to take up the limelight in our hearts, lol.)

All-time favorite to date? How about ER's most-of-the-time broody Luka Kovac, played by Croatia's Goran Visnjic? And what ever happened to him after the show and the baby scandal?

Laura Kaye said...

Oh, Joanna, Luka is a good one. Those scenes with his Croatian kids slayed me...have no idea what happened to him either...