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Jealous Heroes -- What's the Attraction?
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xina



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 6635
Location: minneapolis

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For me, there's not an attraction. What I mean, is that I don't seek them out. However, I enjoy a jealous hero when he has taken the heroine for granted and realizes then...that he's jealous. I guess I'm cynical that way, but it works for me. I think the forever, always jealous hero is a bit tiresome. I think there's a difference between a possessive hero and a jealous one. Constant jealousy seems like a character flaw to me as in almost all of Diane Palmer's heroes. And that's not to say I haven't enjoyed her books over the years.. I haven't read one in a few years, but I knew exactly what to expect when I read one of her books. Those guys were all slightly off-balance...IMO.
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Allyson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I'm a weird reader as what I like to read in my romances isn't actually that far removed from real life, at least as far as the hero/heroine relationship goes. I mean, I *love* reading about situations I sure don't want to find myself in, like murder mysteries or gunfights or any historical period at all (I like modern medicine and running water, thanks!). But I don't have the 'it's a fantasy I wouldn't want in real life' thing that lots of people have about the heroes. I didn't realise it was so pervasive till I got to this board!

I mean, for me if a hero acts crazy jealous in a way that would have me backing away in real life, a hero doing that to the heroine isn't something I'll find romantic in a book, either. It doesn't mean I'll immediately reject it, or him, it all depends on how it's presented.

Some possessiveness can be ok (on both parts), like the hero/heroine sees someone else making a move on their man/woman, so they come over and make it obvious he/she is taken. But over-the-top stuff, like if the hero were to threaten the guy (who doesn't even know the heroine's seeing someone) or accuse the heroine of cheating, that's just alarming to me.

It's completely situational, though. My biggest peeve is with a hero who does something like Alex in Julia Quinn's Splendid pulled. He's not even with the heroine. Has told her he has no intention of marrying her, or anyone. But still thinks it's just fine to flip out if she dresses revealingly or talks to another guy. Dude, she's not your girlfriend, back off! But, if those two characters had been engaged, it wouldn't have bugged me as much.
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Cora



Joined: 12 Mar 2008
Posts: 1129
Location: Bremen, Germany

PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2008 8:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm actually similar to you, Allyson, since the same sort of people who drive me up the wall in real life (including controlling, possessive and overly jealous people of both genders) also annoy me in fiction.

With very few exceptions by extremely skilled authors (e.g. Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley is a complete bastard, but I still enjoy reading about him), I don't like reading about unlikable or downright despicable characters, particularly in romance. Why should I root for a couple to get their HEA, when I find one or both of them so unlikable that I'd like to slap them all the time.

A character can be a vampire or werewolf or Regency miss or Navy SEAL, but he or she should still be someone I would not mind hanging out with in real life.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
When it comes to heroine's jealousy I don't like it.

I am so much in the heroine's head, going through what she is going through and already suffering because of the hero and then she is to suffer from jealousy as well, NO THANK YOU.


This confused me a little, Jenny, until I saw where you were coming from. In the books by the authors I've mentioned, the heroes don't set out to make the heroines suffer from jealousy. It might be that the heroines see them with an old friend who happens to be an attractive woman, or they mention that they once dated someone who is still a friend. It's kind of like the reverse of what the other posters were talking about: the heroine realising she has feelings for the hero only after the twinges of jealousy hit her.

Allyson wrote:
But I don't have the 'it's a fantasy I wouldn't want in real life' thing that lots of people have about the heroes. I didn't realise it was so pervasive till I got to this board!


In my case, it's actually "I would want it in real life; I just wasn't sure about admitting that much in mixed company." I mean, it's not PC! Laughing
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Jenny



Joined: 12 Jun 2007
Posts: 251
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
Jenny wrote:
When it comes to heroine's jealousy I don't like it.

I am so much in the heroine's head, going through what she is going through and already suffering because of the hero and then she is to suffer from jealousy as well, NO THANK YOU.


This confused me a little, Jenny, until I saw where you were coming from. In the books by the authors I've mentioned, the heroes don't set out to make the heroines suffer from jealousy. It might be that the heroines see them with an old friend who happens to be an attractive woman, or they mention that they once dated someone who is still a friend. It's kind of like the reverse of what the other posters were talking about: the heroine realising she has feelings for the hero only after the twinges of jealousy hit her.

Allyson wrote:
But I don't have the 'it's a fantasy I wouldn't want in real life' thing that lots of people have about the heroes. I didn't realise it was so pervasive till I got to this board!


In my case, it's actually "I would want it in real life; I just wasn't sure about admitting that much in mixed company." I mean, it's not PC! Laughing



It seems to me we are kindred spirits Schola. Very Happy

I too wouldn't mind my partner being jealous but it would have to be the right kind of jealousy, the one that is endearing or the one that is a bit thrilling, you know the one that turns you on Wink Embarassed but NEVER the murderous one!


Jenny Very Happy


Last edited by Jenny on Thu Sep 22, 2011 5:46 am; edited 1 time in total
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allyson wrote:
. But over-the-top stuff, like if the hero were to threaten the guy (who doesn't even know the heroine's seeing someone) or accuse the heroine of cheating, that's just alarming to me.
.


I wouldn't mind the hero threatening another man if he felt he was being inappropriate with his lady! *G* That type of thing can be thrilling, in a guilty pleasure kind of way. And for me no, I'm not talking real life here, I can and do make the separation between them. Many scenarios I enjoy fiction would be ridiculous and/or scary in real life. But apparently I do have some lines that I don't want to see crossed in either, I would not want to see the hero accusing the heroine of cheating, even in fiction. That to me would be a turn off to the character unless he had very good reason to be suspicious - not just that he's insecure.

One of the things I loved about Christine Feehan's Carpathians was how possessive they were. A guilty pleasure. :)

Linda
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Allyson



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2008 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd be ok with threatening if the other man were being really aggressive and didn't back off, that'd be cool. But if another guy just happened to casually flirt with the heroine, not knowing she was involved, and the hero gets all 'I'll kill you' that's a turnoff, because wow overreact much.

But like I said, most things I like in fiction in regards to relationships, if I'm going to find that relationship actually appealing (instead of fascinating in a train wreck way) is stuff I wouldn't mind in real life. And if I'm reading a romance novel, I'm looking for the happy relationship thing--if I want a more messed up relationship to read about, I'd rather head to another genre!

So, in real life, if I'm at a party and talking to a guy I just met, and my boyfriend comes up and puts his arm around me, that's sweet. If he tells the guy to back off and gets threatening, that's scary. Unless I'm making it obvious I want the guy to leave me alone, but I don't consider that jealous as much as protective, which is a different thing, and more appealing to me. And in books, that's about the level I like!

So for those who like jealous heroes, what situations do you find it acceptable/unacceptable? Like,if the hero doesn't want the heroine having male friends, is that too far? For me it would be--though in that case it'd more be the double standard that would bother me! double standards are possibly my most hated trait in a character, though. So a jealous hero or heroine is given more of a pass if he or she is willing to make the same concessions they accept!

Also, pah on PC! Nobody uses that term anyway to actually mean something positive, it's more something people will say they aren't if they think it's something that will be disagreed with. But I disagree with tons of stuff, and don't think about whether it's PC or not! What is PC anyway...hehe sorry, the term just bugs me.
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 12:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allyson wrote:
So, in real life, if I'm at a party and talking to a guy I just met, and my boyfriend comes up and puts his arm around me, that's sweet.


Yeah, I'd like that, too.

Allyson wrote:
If he tells the guy to back off and gets threatening, that's scary.


I also agree.

Allyson wrote:
Unless I'm making it obvious I want the guy to leave me alone, but I don't consider that jealous as much as protective, which is a different thing, and more appealing to me. And in books, that's about the level I like!


After I started posting here, I realised there is a huge distinction between jealousy that's rooted in protectiveness and jealousy that just stems from a guy's ego. Obviously, it's the former that's a sweet turn-on and the latter that is a major turn-off.

I keep mentioning Cole and Kleypas because I think their heroes get it right. They're jealous because they're vulnerable--and they're vulnerable because for the first time in their invincible existences, their well-being depends on the love of a woman, who is free to give it to the man of her choosing, who may not necessarily be the hero.

I quoted the hero of Cole's A Hunger Like No Other (at least I still think it was he!) who says that loving the heroine is like having his heart suddenly take residence outside his body. Then there's the hero of Kleypas' Someone to Watch over Me, who says that everything changed once he realised that the most accident-prone woman in the world held the key to his happiness.

In these cases, the ability to protect is linked to the ability to provide. I recall the hero of Lady Sophia's Lover feeling slightly jealous when she receives an expensive dress from someone who may be a stalker; it makes him realise that he wants to have exclusive rights to provide for her needs and wants.

I don't think there is a double standard in the novels of either author because:

a) the heroines feel similar jealousy (though, of course, their being the feminine partner in the relationship makes them express it differently);

and

b) in the heroes' case, it's not about denying their respective heroine anything, but wanting to be the one she chooses for her protector.
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veasleyd1



Joined: 02 Dec 2007
Posts: 2064

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 5:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allyson wrote:

So, in real life, if I'm at a party and talking to a guy I just met, and my boyfriend comes up and puts his arm around me, that's sweet. If he tells the guy to back off and gets threatening, that's scary. Unless I'm making it obvious I want the guy to leave me alone, but I don't consider that jealous as much as protective, which is a different thing, and more appealing to me. And in books, that's about the level I like!


For a thread in ATBF, I went down to the basement yesterday and dug out Stephanie Laurens, The Perfect Lover (Simon Cynster and Portia Ashford). They're at a house party. Various developments (at age 24, she's realized she wants children; at age 29, he's just inherited a house and started thinking that it's time for him to settle down with a wife and family) lead to their looking at other in new ways after a decade or more of reluctant protectiveness on his part (she his brother-in-law's sister) and irritable annoyance with it on her part.

Simon gets jealous, but really only in the sense of, "Well, if she's going to start looking around for a man that way, the man is, by golly, going to be me and not someone else." But except for one deliberately staged confrontation (there's a murder mystery going on), he controls it very well. They both spend quite a bit of time thinking and talking about the importance of mutual trust -- neither one is dumb and they realize that making a marriage between them work won't always be easy.

I can live with that level of jealousy in a plot.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
Posts: 4708

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2008 11:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Allyson wrote:
I'd be ok with threatening if the other man were being really aggressive and didn't back off, that'd be cool. But if another guy just happened to casually flirt with the heroine, not knowing she was involved, and the hero gets all 'I'll kill you' that's a turnoff, because wow overreact much.
.


I wouldn't find that a turn-off, especially in paranormal romance. Those shifter/vampire heroes that run on territorial instinct can get away with a whole lot of behavior that would send me far far away from them if I met them in real life. Uh..if they were real, lol. I kind of like that they overreact and run so heavy on insinct and emotion, I think it's one of the things I enjoy about paranormal romance heroes. Yeah, they can be pretty scary but for me that's part of the appeal, I actually like it that they are somewhat frightening.

I realize that's not a PC thing to say in this day and age but I figure I can enjoy my fiction however I want it and I'm not going to apologize for it. Smile

Linda
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
Posts: 1867

PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 3:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just remembered a level of jealousy I really don't like. Evil or Very Mad

It's just dumb when the hero is so possessive of the heroine that he doesn't want to share her with any children they may have.

It's especially unbelievable when part of the hero's character is his love of family and his own desire to start his own. He meets the perfect woman to be his wife and the mother of his children, and only then does he change his mind??? Rolling Eyes

Does this count as jealousy, or is it just poor characterisation? Laughing
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
I just remembered a level of jealousy I really don't like. Evil or Very Mad

It's just dumb when the hero is so possessive of the heroine that he doesn't want to share her with any children they may have.

It's especially unbelievable when part of the hero's character is his love of family and his own desire to start his own. He meets the perfect woman to be his wife and the mother of his children, and only then does he change his mind??? Rolling Eyes

Does this count as jealousy, or is it just poor characterisation? Laughing


I've never come across this type of hero Schola but that would turn me off as well, big time!

To me there is nothing more attractive and sexy than a man that is good with children.

Linda
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Linda, I'd say it's the only flaw in Kresley Cole's Hunger Like No Other and in any other novels by her in which it appears. I had to cheer near the end of one of her other IAD books, when the hero is actually thrilled at the idea of having children with the heroine.
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Linda in sw va



Joined: 27 Mar 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 8:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schola wrote:
Linda, I'd say it's the only flaw in Kresley Cole's Hunger Like No Other and in any other novels by her in which it appears. I had to cheer near the end of one of her other IAD books, when the hero is actually thrilled at the idea of having children with the heroine.


Hmmm, I don't recall this aspect of A Hunger Like No Other but it's been a while since I read it. It is on my keeper shelf and I remember enjoying it very much. Maybe I wasn't as turned off by it in the actual story as the concept sounded, perhaps in how it was presented.

Now I am curious enough for a reread! :)

Linda
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Schola



Joined: 10 Jun 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2008 9:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, in Lachlain's defense, he is readjusting his wants to the idea that Emma might not be able to have children. (Female vampires are thought to be infertile.) But all Cole's heroes share a similar sentiment and generally want to put off having children. Their reason is wanting to have the heroine (and her pre-childbearing body Laughing ) all to themselves for a bit longer.

I'll try to find the book in which the hero actually does say the off-putting quote I have in mind.
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