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Wednesday, 23 April 2014

The “I-Told-You-So” Hero

by Paula Altenburg

I love this type of hero. Angel, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, is this kind of guy. He’s jaded, and tortured, and he’s seen it all.

Wolverine from X-Men also falls into this category. I thought I was in love with Hugh Jackman. Hugh’s okay. He seems really nice in interviews. Loved him in Van Helsing and Les Mis. But it turns out I am all about Logan. I don’t even notice the pointy hairdo anymore. At least not as much.

The “I-Told-You-So” hero is the one who knows how to stand back and let the heroine learn her own lessons.

“You want to go into that cellar and check out the funny noises?” he’ll ask her. “Be my guest.”

Gentleman that he is, he’ll open the door and hold it for her. Then he shuts it behind her. Because he’s the “I-Told-You-So” hero, not “I-Need-to-Prove-That-I’m-Right.”  Because, remember, this hero has Seen. It. All. He might have the heroine’s back, but he’s not into running her life.

He lets the “I-Need-to-See-This-for-Myself” heroine, well, see it for herself.

Blade (Black Widow Demon, book #2 in the Demon Outlaws series) is this type of hero. He’s a retired assassin who’s had his fair share of hardships. He’s incredibly protective of Raven, the heroine, mostly because he sees her making the same mistakes he did in his life. Raven is determined to have her revenge. It’s hard to stand back, but he knows she has to make her own choices. Revenge ultimately destroys a person’s soul. So, however, will passivity. He’ll explain all this to her, but he won’t try to stop her.

This creates inner conflict for him:

And if Raven could not relinquish her conscience, as she had been unable to do in the burned-out village when Blade had pushed the limits of her demon, an assassin’s training might very well destroy her. Either way, she could not win.

That, in turn, raised a disquieting question for him. If an assassin’s training destroyed her, what might being with him do to her? (Black Widow Demon, November, 2013)

Blade made an appearance in The Demon’s Daughter (book #1) as the hero Hunter’s best friend.  Blade can be counted on to do what needs doing. Hunter turned to him when something needed to be done that he couldn’t do himself:

Blade looked at him. “You don’t have to go back out there. You don’t owe those people anything.”

Hunter handed the pack to Blade. “Give this to Airie. I do have to go because I made a promise to them. Besides,” he added with a lopsided grin, “there will be demons to kill.”

“I’ll kill this one if I have to,” Blade warned his departing back.

Hunter froze but did not turn around. He appeared to be thinking Blade’s words over with careful consideration. “I know,” he admitted finally, then opened the gate and stepped through it. “But you won’t have to.” He latched the gate behind him.

Blade sat for a long time on the step listening to the cold desert night, hoping his friend’s instincts were good ones. If he did have to kill Airie, it would be the death of a friendship as well. (The Demon’s Daughter, March 2013)

It’s possible I love Blade almost as much as I love Wolverine.

But the thing I love most about the “I-Told-You-So” hero?

He keeps his opinions to himself during those times when the “I-Need-to-See-This-for-Myself” heroine doesn’t want to be told.

He knows she already knows it.

Stay tuned for The Demon Lord, a short novella in the Demon Outlaws series, coming April 28th. The third and final book, Demon Creed, is a May 27th release.


Paula Altenburg

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