Today I want to open up a discussion on the three(?) different types of heroes. Mind you, the meta-class is much different than the eight archetypes. I may discuss those another day. First let me present some accepted basic definitions.
He has to be successful- a man of achievement. Independent. A ruler – a man of power. Strong, handsome, vigorous. A leader. In human societies, the signs of success are wealth and power – and so the Alpha hero has to have the outward trappings – those visible signs of success that the world values – money, houses, cars, businesses…
Tradition has grown up that – to quote Jayne Ann Krentz in DANGEROUS MEN AND ADVENTUROUS WOMEN – ‘These males are the tough, hard-edged, tormented heroes that are at the heart of the vast majority of bestselling romance novels . . . They are the heroes who carry off the heroines in historical romances.
These romances have kinder, gentler heroes, the kind of men who will change your flat tire, open doors for you, help your kid with his homework, and bring you soup when you are sick. They are the anti-thesis of the testosterone-filled chest beaters found in the earlier bodice-ripper romances. These are the guys we all want to find in real life.
There isn’t a whole lot to discuss there, apart from which type of hero you most often write about and why. Here’s where I can’t seem to pinpoint an agreed-upon common definition. Some authors don’t even accept that Gamma Heroes exist!
On AAR, they said the following about Gamma Heroes:
One who doesn’t fit the image of the macho Alpha male, or the easygoing Beta either. He’s a combination–a mutation?–of both types of man, and makes a hero to die for.
The consensus on AAR appears to be that it’s a mix of beta and alpha, a man who is tough but tender. But on this writing site, the author says:
This is the darkest of male heroes (See Author Anne Stuart’s heroes for perfect example of Gamma Heroes.
What does she mean by ‘darker’? Like almost evil? I’ve read Anne Stuart books and many of them do tend to be grim, dark and full of angst. I love them, of course, but this writer hasn’t helped me figure out this Gamma business.
And that’s literally all I’m able to find about Gamma Heroes on the Intarweb. That brings me where I want to be in this post, though, because I’d like to hear your thoughts on whether the Gamma Hero exists and if so, what the hell is he like?