I’ve been thinking a lot about beta heroes recently. It’s a difficult category to define– falling largely into the realm of “I know it when I see it”– but these are generally the more relaxed sub-species of hero. In romances, they often get their start as the best friend of a prior, more alpha hero. They frequently display rambling conversational styles.
Others in the same vein as Miles and Turnip include:
— Ivan Xav of Lois McMaster Bujold’s Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance (science fiction);
— Rupert Carsington of Loretta Chase’s Mr. Impossible (historical romance);
— Charles Wycombe of Julia Quinn’s Brighter Than the Sun (historical romance);
— Roland Penhallow of Juliana Gray’s A Gentleman Never Tells (historical romance);
— Clevis Rhy of Pamela Morsi’s Garters (American historical romance);
— Ethan Mirabelli of Kristan Higgins’s The Next Best Thing (contemporary romance);
— Jack Wells of Kathleen Gilles Seidels’s Summer’s End (women’s fiction);
— Phin Tucker of Jennifer Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation (contemporary romance);
— Adam of Barbara Michaels’s Stitches in Time (mystery);
— Andy of Barbara Michaels’s Vanish with the Rose (mystery);
— Donald of Elizabeth Peters’s Devil May Care (mystery).
I feel like I’ve left out a number of interesting beta heroes, particularly when it comes to the mystery genre.
Who are your favorite beta heroes?
Also– since this is very much a matter of discussion and debate– what do you think are the characteristics that define a beta hero?