Monday 7 October 2019

Introducing the BEPHA Hero

By Alyssa J. Montgomery

Yes, you heard me! As both a romance author and a speech pathologist, I've decided to coin a new term - the Bepha Hero! It might be scorned and I don't expect it to be adopted, but let's look at it anyway!

To see how I come up with this, let's first look at the traditional heroes, working our way through to Alpha

1. The Beta Hero
This guy is often open, friendly, sensitive, more mild-mannered than the alpha, more inclined to open up about his vulnerabilities. He can be confident and secure, is generally respectful and very nice - but not a wimp. He's the type of guy you'd take home to meet Mum and Dad. He's Lord Ian Mackenzie in Jennifer Ashley's "The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie" or Robert Carroway in Suzanne Enoch's "England's Perfect Hero".

2. The Delta Hero
These guys are dark and dangerous, often loners and may have outlaw status. Generally not common in romance novels.

3. The Theta Hero
I'd never heard of this until I researched for this article! These are said to be wounded to the point of self-destruction eg. through substance abuse.

4. The Alpha Hero - Traditionally
Typically the alpha hero is a domineering man who could also be a bit of a tyrant. He's a leader who always ends up as the boss because he likes to be in control - a type of my-way-or-the-highway character. He can be cold, possessive and jealous and can lack sentimentality. 

J.R. Ward has written plenty of Alpha Heroes and I've loved them all.

Jacki Ashendon on the "Heroes and Heartbreakers" blog says that while there is some overlap, she identifies six different types of Alpha heroes:

- The playboy (sexy and charming and always great in bed)
- The wounded alpha (grumpy and sulry)
- The bad boy (a rebel who may or may not be redeemable)
- The a-whole (jerk)
- The alpha in disguise (quiet and more laid back)
- The uptight alpha (has rules and has to follow them)

Sarah Wendell from "Smart Bitches" says that the Alpha hero has evolved from 'asshole...autocratic chest-pounders with a tendency toward rape or forced seduction.' She calls them 'alphole heroes' and says they are 'too assertive without humility or honour'. Sarah goes on to say that the alpha hero has transformed.

The problem I see with redefining the Alpha Hero is that there are still books printed and adored by readers where we have the traditionally dominating Alpha male.Therefore, I think we need a new term.

5. The Gamma Hero
My research hasn't led me to any clear definition and there seem to be conflicting views as to who this Gamma Hero is. Some say he's a combination of alpha and beta (and this may negate my claim for the BEPHA hero). These say that he is super strong and aggressive but not arrogant, that he cares about others, and he usually has a bad reputation that isn't deserved.
The other description I've read of the Gamma Hero is that he's indifferent and never possessive of the heroine and can be cold.

Hm - definitely not my BEPHA hero.

This month, in my novel SEDUCED BY THE STRANGER, my hero, Max Bennett is, I believe a BEPHA Hero. Now, here's why - he has both alpha and beta qualities.

1.He's a leader and likes to be in control BUT  he works well with his friends & can delegate responsibility
2. He's a self-made billionaire and has been a success in his own right, BUT he's teamed up with two friends in business (in fact that's how they all made their initial millions).  
3. He is capable of totally taking charge of the situation BUT can re-evaluate and consider things from the heroine's POV & adapt before she even points out that he needs to
4. He can be very jealous BUT controls his jealousy & is evolved enough to know physical violence isn't acceptable toward anyone. So, while he may feel inclined to punch some creep who gets too friendly with his lady, he is NEVER violent. He is more than capable of taking control of the situation without using his fists.
5. He wants the heroine & wants her now  BUT controls himself to let things progress at her pace & level of comfort
6. He keeps information from the heroine in 'her own interest' and doesn't involve her in that decision (a bit alpha of him!)
7. He takes action to 'protect' the heroine's interest and presents his actions as a fait accompli (very alpha of him!)
8. He's not afraid to show his sensitive side to the heroine BUT is aware he doesn't want to look too emotional, especially in front of others
9. He confides to his friends how he feels
10. He can apologise and admit his mistakes
11. He's only friendly to a point and certainly doesn't make his employees his friends

What do you think? Do we need a new term and is Max Bennett a BEPHA male? Or with the way I describe him do you define him as definitely being an alpha or a beta?

Love to Love: Bepha males!

Love to Laugh: Have had many laughs over this term as I've written this tongue-in-cheek.

Love to Learn: Had no idea before researching for this blog that Delta and Theta Heroes existed!


  1. Hi Alyssa! Like you, I had no idea there were so many different classes of heroes. I'm not an Alpha hero fan (give me a Beta hero any day), but your Max Bennett sounds like a great combination of both. Hope your book flies off the shelves.

    1. Thanks Marilyn. It was interesting to do the research for this blog piece and to find out about these other definitions of heroes. Who knows, maybe I'll start something with the Bepha classification? LOL

  2. Hi Alyssa. Wow, so many classes of hero I did not know about. I read Alpha heroes. JR Ward's are a favourite. And though the Beta hero has great qualities, I always want him to have something of the Alpha in him. Those are the heroes I love to read and write about and never could find a name for. Now I have one. Bepha. Thank you. Love it!

    1. Well, Enisa, this story is dedicated to you and you did say you loved Max, so I'm thinking I must've hit on an appealing hero for you!!

  3. Hi Alyssa,
    I like your concept of the Bepha hero. I enjoy reading historical romance novels with alpha heroes and contemporary romances with beta heroes. It sounds like a hero with Bepha characteristics would fit well in either time period.

  4. I think the true alpha was probably more acceptable in historical times, Sharon, but it's interesting that you make that distinction between your historical and contemporary heroes. I definitely like the BEPHA!!

  5. What a fun post, thanks Alison. I confess I'm a true beta hero loving reader. But now your concept of bepha has me intrigued! Your Max sounds fun. I've just downloaded the book! Congratulations on your new release.

  6. Thanks Miranda! I hope you enjoy the book.


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