Monday 1 July 2019

5 Characteristics of a Romance Hero

By Cassandra Samuels

What makes a great hero, someone we can fall in love with?

Here are my five 'must haves' for a hero.

Definition: A hero is someone who gives of himself, often putting his own life at great risk, for the greater good of others - with or without a cape!


In Romance, a hero doesn't always have to be saving the day. Instead he is trying to win the love of the heroine. He still needs to have the characteristics that will make, not just the heroine, but also the reader fall in love with him.

1. A sense of duty

You want your hero to be able to stand up and do his duty, whether that means to family, friends or country. He may not know, understand or want to at the beginning of his journey but there will be something in him that makes it impossible for him not to do his duty in the end.

2. A sense of self-awareness

The hero must know he has faults as well as strengths. He must try and work on his faults and not rely on his strengths alone. This may be something he isn't aware of at the beginning of  the story but by the end he has a better understanding of himself and how he can be a better man for the heroine.

3. A sense of mystery

A hero who is an open book is dull - there is nothing special about him. He needs a bit of mystery. Something that is, perhaps, propelling him towards something that is not evident to the heroine or the reader. Maybe he has a secret or a bad past, but it is the fact that no one is quite sure that makes for an interesting character.

Andrew Measham - unsplash

4. A sense of individuality

Our hero has to to have something about him that is different from the other men around him. A quirk, his physicality, or even his heritage. Whatever it may be, it has to be intriguing enough for the heroine to want to know more about him.

5.  A sense of worthiness

Tim Mossholder - unsplash

If we don't empathise with our hero he is lost. There has to be something about him where, at some stage in the story, we are on his side. Whatever his past may be, whatever his experiences have been, whatever his goal may be. If he is likable, despite his sometimes irrational (to us) decisions, and we still want him to be happy, then the author has done her job well.

There are many more characteristics that make a great hero. Can you add any?

Who is your favourite hero and why?

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Love to Love  how my grandson's greet me at the door with excitement and hugs every afternoon.

Love to Laugh at the tv show 'Have You Been Paying Attention'.

Love to Learn: about other authors' processes.


  1. Hi Cassandra! One must-have I want in any romance hero is for him to be totally in love with the heroine. He has to be able to recognize her flaws and love her because of them, not in spite of them. You already know my favourite hero. ;)

    1. Well you would want him to be in love with the heroine otherwise it wouldn't be a romance. ha ha. Some flaws can be endearing can't they?

    2. Who is your favourite hero, Marilyn? A certain Scot called Jamie?

    3. How DID you guess, Miranda??? :D

  2. Well said both Cassie and Marilyn. These are all definitely essential characteristics of the hero. I also value the hero being able to admit when he's wrong. Actually, I really respect that quality in anyone - male or female, fictitious or real. We all make mistakes. Depending on the seriousness of those mistakes, it can be very easy to admit to them, or exceedingly difficult to own them. Acknowledgement of error and, if applicable, genuine remorse and an effort to make things right is to me, very heroic.

  3. Hi Cassandra. I love a hero who will face his fears head on and overcome them. I love a hero who will do a he can to protect the heroine from harm, even if that means sacrificing his life. Strong mind, loving soul,

  4. I love all of the above, to be honest, including what Marilyn, Alyssa and Enisa have suggested. I love beta heroes who are not arrogant, who put others first (might be included in your 'sense of duty'). I love heroes who laugh and enjoy life, and who aren't afraid to use their intellect.

    1. I love a hero with a sense of humour, I like writing them. And a Beta hero can be the best kind of hero because they don't let arrogance rule their decisions

  5. I agree with all of the characteristics stated above. I also think a true hero puts the heroine first, and in some ways, fundamentally understands and appreciates her.

    1. I agree Sharon. I think we all want someone who "gets" us and when we do it is truly magical. Same goes in fiction I feel.


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