H is for Heroes

His for Heroes. Ooh, one of my favourite subjects!

In this context, I’m not talking about heroes who have done something really noble and great and are really worthy of the title – people like firefighters and the lifeboat crews who put their own lives at risk to save others; people who stand up for things they really believe in, at great personal danger; people who go against the crowd to defend what is right. Those are the real heroes, of course, and the world is lucky to have such people.ย What I’m talking about in this blog post is much more light-hearted and shallow. I’m talking about lovely men with the phwoar factor. The fictional hero.

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Aidan Turner as Captain Ross Poldark

I love writing heroes, and I have to confess I’ve fallen in love with all three of the ones I’ve already written. I’m in the process of learning about hero number four, and I’m trying to chip away at his defences to find out the kind of man he is, because I just know that the minute I get inside his mind I will well and truly fall for him. That may sound completely insane, but it’s actually essential. If I don’t fall in love with my hero, why would my heroine? And it’s very important that readers fall in love with him, too.

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Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch

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James Stewart as George Bailey

The first hero I wrote was Gabriel in There Must Be An Angel. He is aloof, mysterious, and quite cutting at first. There’s a hidden wound in there somewhere, and that affects the way he is with other people – particularly Eliza. I loved him because I knew what his problem was, and I knew what he’d been through and what a gentle, kind person he was; but of course, Eliza didn’t know all that at first and neither did the reader, so, to demonstrate that he was a good man, I had to show the other side of him, and his relationship with his daughter was the best way to do that. There’s nothing more attractive than a good, loving father. Think of Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird and George Bailey in It’s A wonderful Life. Real hero material! Strong, community-minded and fair men who adored their families more than anything. Lovely.

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Matthew Rhys

In my short story, The Other Side of Christmas, Luke was the hero, and he was the quiet, reliable type. Flynn in A Kiss From A Rose is quiet, too. In fact, he’s very quiet! He appears to be the least sociable person in town, but there’s hidden depths to Flynn. I can honestly say that, after a rocky start, I absolutely adore him now.

Richard Armitage as Guy of Gisborne

When I write my heroes, I do have in mind what they look like. In fact, I like to “cast” all my characters. It helps me to visualise their actions and voices, and it’s quite nice to be able to make your favourite hunk say and do all the things you want him to in a completely legal and harmless way!

I don’t like to make public who I have visualised in the parts, though. I’ve discovered that one man’s meat is another man’s poison, and one woman’s prime beef steak is another woman’s value burger. At work, we have endless conversations about various television “heroes” – in our own time, of course. Honest, boss!

Two for the price of 1! Matt and Benedict

People’s taste vary so widely it’s extraordinary. For instance, I love Benedict Cumberbatch but I’m in a minority at work. Most of the women I work with cannot see the attraction at all. Some of us are totally enamoured by the gorgeous Musketeers, but some don’t understand that, with one of my colleagues, in particular, wrinkling her nose in disgust and pronouncing that they all need a good wash! Aidan Turner is currently making hearts pound in Poldark, but even he doesn’t float everyone’s boat. Some insist he’s too skinny! Others say he needs a haircut. What? Are they all mad?

A popular hero seems to be Richard Armitage, and having seen him in his black leather as Sir Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood, or as the delightful Harry who won the heart of our dear vicar, Geraldine Grainger, in The vicar of Dibley, I can quite see why. I keep meaning to watch North and South. I understand he’s exceptionally sexy in that part!

Of course, it’s not just looks that attract. I remember when Matt Smith was first cast as The Doctor in BBC’s Doctor Who, my daughter and I looked at each other and said what an odd looking bloke he was. By the end of the first episode, I’d totally fallen for him. His warmth, his kindness, his expressive eyes just melted my heart. Now I absolutely adore him and can only see that he is beautiful – something that escapes my mother entirely as she is completely smitten by David Tennant and has never forgiven Matt Smith for not being him.

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The adorable Baldrick

One of my work colleagues has a soft spot for Bradley Walsh. Another – and I kid you not – has a crush on “The Beast”, who is one of the Chasers on Bradley’s quiz show, The Chase. No, I don’t understand that at all. Simon Baker is very popular with some of my fellow Write Romantics, but does nothing for me. Loads of women seem to lust after Simon Cowell, which baffles me – although it seems David Walliams shares their passion! ๐Ÿ™‚ I actually prefer David Walliams. One particular lady novelist, who shall remain nameless, lusts after Tony Robinson, aka Baldrick, though I think, to be fair, she prefers him when he’s not playing that character. Although, I could be wrong.

It just goes to show you how different we all are, and that’s why I choose not to share pictures on my Pinterest board of my characters, because I’ve realised it’s far more satisfying for the reader if they can insert their own idea of a hero into the leading man.

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Love Actually cast

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Love Actually cast

I’ve really enjoyed writing about this subject – and I’ve enjoyed browsing through pictures of all these gorgeous men even more. What a fabulous excuse this has been! Ah, well. “Enough now. Enough” – as Andrew Lincoln says in Love, Actually. Ooh, Andrew Lincoln…now there’s another one. Oh, and gorgeous Colin Firth, Hugh Grant, Liam Neeson, Martin Freeman and Alan Rickman were in that film, weren’t they! One last picture, or maybe two, then…

Have a great day xx

8 thoughts on “H is for Heroes

  1. Great post Sharon – some lovely pictures to wake up to this morning! For me it’s Johnny Depp, Ryan Gosling, Johnny Marr and Johnny Knoxville (Quite odd that three share the same name) which is quite a strange mix!

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  2. I totally understand Johnny Depp. I meant to add him to the post, along with Keanu Reeves, but completely forgot. Don’t ask me how! I have to confess I’ve never heard of the last two on your list. I lead a very sheltered life…Thanks for commenting, Alison.

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  3. Lovely post, Sharon. I also always cast my heroes, and all my characters, in fact. As I write historical fiction, I often cast them based on portraits of real people or people in paintings. I (almost) never say who explicitly, but I do leave clues:)

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  4. What a great idea. I “cast” all my characters, too – except for the heroine in Angel. Could never decide who she should look like, funnily enough!

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  5. Hi Sharon, what a fab post. I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy thinking of all those gorgeous heroes ๐Ÿ™‚ I must admit that I do see the Bradley Walsh thing, but I think it’s the fact that he gets the giggles so often that does it for me as I love a man with a good sense of humour. You have definitely created three wonderful heroes in the stories of yours that I’ve had the pleasure of reading so far. I think Flynn’s my favourite. But don’t tell the other two! xx

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    • Your secret is safe with me, Jessica. I have a sneaking fondness for him myself! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Bradley Walsh…hmmm, yeah, I get the humour thing. That is very attractive in a man – but The Beast? Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Something to cheer us all up, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ xx

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  6. You’ve not seen North & South! Sharon, my dear, you are SERIOUSLY missing out. I will lend you the DVD so you can enjoy happy hours with Mr Armitage. Lovely post but you’re missing a picture of the Musketeers! xx

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    • Haha! I do actually have the DVD somewhere. I must dig it out and make time to watch it. I didn’t put another picture of the Musketeers in because they seem to be sneaking into every post and people will think I’m a bit obsessed. Perish the thought…;) xx

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