Sunday, November 9, 2014

Paranormal Warriors

Posted by: Shona Husk
hmmm hero with a sword
There is something very attractive about a man who knows how to use a sword ;)

The warrior is a type of hero who often graces the pages of paranormal romances, and with good reason. Aside from being fit, he is willing to do anything to get the job done (be it saving the world or defeating evil)—as long as it fits within his code of honor. 

He has duty and honor—what’s not to love about him?
In paranormal romances he is usually the paranormal part of the romance. Vampire, shapeshifter, goblin…not exactly the kind of guy that the heroine would take home to meet the family (assuming her family haven’t all somehow been killed, but the orphaned heroine is a whole other blog post). 

The paranormal is attractive because of its otherness as well as the sense of danger. The hero is often in need of taming and his moral code doesn’t always align with a humans. fairies in The Court of Annwyn series are very different to humans in what they think is acceptable behaviour, but they will never lie as that is seen as weak and showing a distinct lack of skill. They also avoid falling in love because it is seen as risk and their lover could be used against them (this of course means that when they do fall in love everything gets 10x worse).

There is something to else to think about when writing the warrior hero and that is the need to heal. At some point the warrior has to lay down his sword and say enough. 

Roan in The Goblin King did just that. The curse was taking over and he was done. Sometimes the biggest battle is not with an outside enemy but within and if he’d kept fighting he would’ve become 100% goblin.

For the Love of a Goblin Warrior touched on one final important issue when thinking about warrior heroes, something that after decades of conflict in the real world is becoming a very real challenge for many soldiers: post-traumatic stress disorder.

After fighting and witnessing countless horrors (and in paranormal romance this can literally be hell) there needs to be a recognition that this leaves a mark. For Meryn in For the Love of a Goblin Warrior that meant facing up to the death of his family and the destruction of his tribe at the hands of the Romans and trying to work through it so that he could live again. He’s had a couple of thousand years as a goblin to really let it sink in, but being goblin has also changed him and left a wound. 

While a warrior hero might be great in a fight, and he will achieve his goal or quest, it is important to remember that beneath the armor and the fierce expression there is a heart. If he’s too broken inside he won’t be able to fall in love (and love really can't fix everything). 

However he has to be a little bit broken otherwise he’d too boringly perfect. 

As with any romance hero, beauty is in the eye of the heroine (or the other hero). As long as they see the hero as worthy of love the reader will too no matter what creature he is or what he has done or the scars he bears (visible or not).

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