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Food for Thought > What's your opinion on ugly/unattractive heroes?

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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Which way do you go? Do you like your heroes to be Adonis gorgeous all the time, or does it depend on the story and the hero?

What are some ugly heroes you've loved?


message 2: by Paganalexandria (last edited Apr 29, 2015 06:09PM) (new)

Paganalexandria  | 354 comments Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) wrote: "Which way do you go? Do you like your heroes to be Adonis gorgeous all the time, or does it depend on the story and the hero?

What are some ugly heroes you've loved?"


It depends Danielle. Off the top, I'll say no. But that also conflicts with on of my favorite romance tropes, Beauty and The Beast retellings. I do like the idea of ruined Adonis, and his struggles dealing with it. My favorite Anita Blake character flaws, and all is Asher.


description


That intrigues me. Just flat out not attractive, not so much.


message 3: by Netanella (new)

Netanella | 192 comments Great topic, Danielle!

I don't like my heroes to be Adonis-like all the time - usually there are issues with vanity, narcissistic tendencies, etc. It really does depend on the hero, though.

My favorite 'ugly hero' is the scarred and ugly soldier from Lisa Marie Rice's "Midnight Angel" book, the 3rd in her series. I think I've read it 3 or 4 times. It's a beautiful story.

Midnight Angel (Midnight, #3) by Lisa Marie Rice


message 4: by Pamela(AllHoney), Danger Zone (new)

Pamela(AllHoney) (pamelap) | 1706 comments Mod
All my heroes are gorgeous in my mind. Even ones described as unattractive don't compute in my mind because my brain makes them gorgeous.

Love that book, Netanella!


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Pamela(AllHoney) wrote: "All my heroes are gorgeous in my mind. Even ones described as unattractive don't compute in my mind because my brain makes them gorgeous.

"


I know what you mean, Pamela. Dain, who is supposed to be ugly, looks really fine to me in my head. Lord of Scoundrels


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Paganalexandria **wicked juices bubbling over** wrote: " Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) wrote: "Which way do you go? Do you like your heroes to be Adonis gorgeous all the time, or does it depend on the story and the hero?

What ..."


I kind of like the Ruined Adonis trope. I like it especially in historicals. When the hero used to be the toast of the ton and then is disfigured and goes into semi-retirement, and the heroine falls in love with him as he is now.

I liked that in Jane Eyre, Rochester is described as being unattractive. Jane even says as much, but she still loves him.


message 7: by Tammy (new)

Tammy | 395 comments Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) wrote: "Paganalexandria **wicked juices bubbling over** wrote: " Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) wrote: "Which way do you go? Do you like your heroes to be Adonis gorgeous all the t..."

I like the Ruined Adonis too! I believe in The Raven Prince (Princes Trilogy, #1) by Elizabeth Hoyt Edward is scarred from a childhood sickness. I love that book :)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
The Raven Prince is a good one!

Seek Only Passion has a very scarred hero. Described as very ugly. I saw him as still being attractive but with scars and eye patch.

I tend to think of facial scars as sexy.

Also Ken Norton Deadly Game, had his face and body carved up by torture while captured by the enemy. It was hard not to picture him as being very scarred due to the descriptions, but I freaking love this man!


message 9: by Arch (new)

Arch  | 4132 comments Mod
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. A may think that a hero is handsome and the next person might not think so. I've read books where the author described the hero not looking all that attractive and then later on, he's handsome. What makes a handsome to me is the way he carries himself. If a man is not handsome or attractive in the inside, then he's not on the outside.

Danielle, you know that Killian is my favorite hero from Anne Stuart's Ice Series. He was scarred up. To a lot of women, he would have been ugly. But to me, he was handsome.

Sam is my baby! Dave Malkoff is my sexy nerd. A lot people probably wouldn't find Dave to be handsome and sexy, especially the way that Suzanne Brockmann describes him. I picture Dave looking like Speed from CSI Miami.


message 10: by Missyb (new)

Missyb | 98 comments One of my favorites from the BDB series by JR Ward is Z. He's scarred, has slave tattoos, was illiterate, and was mean/nasty. Yet I, along with so many, really fell for him. Now he has a mate & baby girl. He's still testy, but it's part of the character. He'll always be one of my favorites in the series.

The character is what decides if he's ugly or not. Some are physically and others emotionally,or both.


Susan (the other Susan) (theothersusan) | 259 comments A man's mind is what makes him sexy to me, in life and in fiction. Confident sexuality, a wry sense of humor, courage, independence. I don't need or really want detailed descriptions of a romance hero's looks. In fact, trading Karen Robatds' last RS, "Hush," I became truly fed up with the constant reminders that h:h were both incredibly perfect physically. It seemed to be all that mattered to either of them about the other. Instant True Love bases on her model-like beauty and his model-like rugged good looks. They didn't like each other at all, but they were In Love because of her "kissable lips" and his broad shoulders.


Susan (the other Susan) (theothersusan) | 259 comments A Mary Balogh romance, and darn it I can't remember which one, had a hero so badly disfigured by war that the heroine couldn't hide her revulsion when she first saw his face. Children ran from this man. It was naturally turning him bitter and reclusive. A believable, slowly building story of trust and then love. So much more effective than when everyone involved is gorgeous... Sadly, I don't think I've seen or am likely to see the same romantic story in reverse: handsome man falls in love with a monstrously disfigured woman.


message 13: by Lenaya (last edited May 09, 2015 08:04PM) (new)

Lenaya Susan wrote: "A Mary Balogh romance, and darn it I can't remember which one, had a hero so badly disfigured by war that the heroine couldn't hide her revulsion when she first saw his face. Children ran from this..."

Great point Susan… Though I do remember reading a romance where the heroine had some kind of scar… Once. Though I can't remember the name of the book. Like others I agree that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And to be honest I am seriously bored with writerly descriptions of lantern jaws and rugged good looks. And I swear, if I read one more physical description that is simply stated "gorgeous man/woman", I may stick a fork in my eye.


message 14: by Kagama-the Literaturevixen (last edited May 09, 2015 08:24PM) (new)

Kagama-the Literaturevixen | 20 comments Pendragonish wrote: "Susan wrote: "A Mary Balogh romance, and darn it I can't remember which one, had a hero so badly disfigured by war that the heroine couldn't hide her revulsion when she first saw his face. Children..."

I believe its The Cad you are thinking about though I do recall a book where the heroine has pockmarks. The Music of the Night

But I agree with you if a hero or heroine is just described as Beautiful but the author never bothers to develop a character or a quirk then I get bored.

Maybe its a cliched expression but it truly is what is on the inside that counts.


Kagama-the Literaturevixen | 20 comments Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) wrote: "Which way do you go? Do you like your heroes to be Adonis gorgeous all the time, or does it depend on the story and the hero?

What are some ugly heroes you've loved?"


Some ugly heroes that I loved

Simply Scandalous
A Bed of Thorns and Roses
The Spinster's Secret


Susan (the other Susan) (theothersusan) | 259 comments Simply Scandalous sounds like might be the Mary Balogh book I was talking about before and couldn't remember the name. The series all had titles that started with "Simply " and the heroines all worked as teachers for a girls' boarding school. The woman who meets the horrifically scarred man has her own "hidden ugliness," a child born out of wedlock.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Pretender to the Throne has a heroine who is quite disfigured/scarred.

The Ultimate Seduction has a heroine who is also quite scarred physically.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
I do agree beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I tend to prefer heroes with character rather than extremely good looks. If the writer can make the hero about something more than his looks, that works more. If he's just an Adonis type with nothing else to offer, I find that quite boring.


message 19: by SandyL (new)

SandyL Although a hero doesn't have to be off the charts gorgeous, *raises hand* I have to admit I am shallow - reading is a form of escapism and fantasy so I want my book boyfriend to be attractive somehow. If he has scars or something from an accident, that's one thing. But a homely or ugly guy just isn't going to do it for me. If his looks aren't there, then he should have a good body. That doesn't mean there isn't the odd book out there that I might read who has an unattractive hero that I relate to, but I can't remember any so far. He does need to have a decent personality - just looks alone won't do it - I'm not quite that superficial.
:-)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
I wouldn't say it makes you shallow, Sandy. I think that we all have things we love to read about. I love escapism reading.

For me, it's not so much about looks but about that spark between characters. a guy can be hot without being necessary Adonis good looking. I think some people grow on you the more you spend time around them. I like when an author can convey this reality.


Susan (the other Susan) (theothersusan) | 259 comments Sandy, I agree that in a romance there needs to be an element of physical attraction. I often like the way Sandra Brown describes her characters , giving a general impression rather than a detailed one, so we readers can fill in the blanks. If a scar or disfigurement is not a theme of the story, just tell me hair and eye color and that that heroine finds him "rugged" looking, and I'll take it from there.


Kagama-the Literaturevixen | 20 comments Susan wrote: "Simply Scandalous sounds like might be the Mary Balogh book I was talking about before and couldn't remember the name. The series all had titles that started with "Simply " and the heroines all wor..."

No it does sound similar but this one is by Tamara Lejeune. Hero is not remotely handsome nor sophisticated but heroine learns to appreciate his other sides.

I particulary appreciated his title Lord Swale.

A swale is a a very useful but not particular pretty part that can be used in gardens.


message 23: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Jackson (paperbackdiva) | 181 comments A hero doesn't have to have a beautiful face for me, but I sure appreciate a physically fit bod. Scars and tattoos, fine, but he's got 'the torso' featured on romance covers. He should be able to take care of himself and the heroine in a fight.

I don't think anyone wants the guy with the paunch or the man-breasts! No matter what his personality.


message 24: by Natalie (last edited Jun 05, 2015 09:44PM) (new)

Natalie | 392 comments I go with the book and character I'm reading. Often it is the hero's charisma, personality, their attitude or something about the way they move, their humour (or dark humour) or their intenisity that can get me more than simply whether they are outwardly attractive or not. There are so many aspects that go into making a hero attractive as a whole.
They are, afterall, the books Hero so like the heroine of the story, I as the reader should fall for them too!
Often the hero is seen through the heroines eyes, and she will see him as attractive and gorgeous (even if you get insight from other characters about him being not as beautiful to them).
Or we see the hero through his own mind and so come to love him from that.

There are some characters who are so physically intense and captivating on the page that I forgot they were described as not perfect in appearance - Aleksandr Sevastyan comes to mind from The Professional.
On a slightly different approach is Transcendence by Shay Savage where the book is told from the heros POV but you never knew what he looked like - until the last chapter! I made my opinion about him based on who he was inside and his actions.

I can't think at the moment though of any books in particular I've read with a completely ugly/unattractive hero.
I've read a few where the hero isn't attractive at first to the heroine but becomes so over time (such as Shadow's Claim).

So to answer, for me it depends on the story. The attractiveness of a hero is made up of so many qualities that as long as other factors of attractiveness are present, the hero doesn't have to be an outright adonis! As others have said, I will tend to put my own spin of gorgeous on him.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Well said, Natalie.


message 26: by Pallavi (new)

Pallavi (threequartersthedevil) | 76 comments For me ruggedly good looking works so much better than flat out gorgeous types.
I'm yet to read a book where I find the guy not attractive. I second Pamela, my mind tends to convert all them men into lookers.


message 27: by Emma (new)

Emma (aleajactaest) | 12 comments I have liked books where the hero was described as 'ugly' or 'not handsome' ('Lord of Scoundrels' comes to mind) but at least they were tall and muscular (so just pictured an impressive physique. Most alluring). I must say, unlike most rational, grown up and cerebral commentators on this thread, I much prefer it when the hero is described as handsome, good looking, etc.. I like me a handsome tall man. Like Pallavi I too prefer them to be virile handsome (not hairy apes but not waxed models either) rather than the boyish Adonis types that seem to dominate magazine covers nowadays.
For example the younger Liam Neeson (here: my link text
and Hugh Jackman (here: my link text
are what I call really handsome masculine men and would like writers to write men looking like them into their stories.


message 28: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Loves 'Em Lethal (last edited Jun 21, 2015 07:45PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Pallavi wrote: "For me ruggedly good looking works so much better than flat out gorgeous types.
I'm yet to read a book where I find the guy not attractive. I second Pamela, my mind tends to convert all them men i..."


I tend to convert the hero some too. Stan in Over the Edge is considered homely and balding, but I picture him attractive. Not quite Bruce Willis, along those lines.

And then I saw Ross Kemp on Ultimate Force and realized that this is how Stan looks.




message 29: by Martel (last edited Jun 20, 2015 06:21PM) (new)

Martel | 29 comments I totally agree with beauty in the eye of the beholder. Usually, even in real life, if I like someone, I find him (or her) beautiful, or at least cute. If I don't, it's the contrary. I can find someone with top model looks ugly just because I'm repulsed by a part of his/her personality.
I like intelligence. A clever and resourceful man is usually an attractive one for me. On a purely physical level, I like a man to be tall and strong, like the majority here, I think ;)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Yes, I like a hero who is smart, even if it's not traditionally necessarily educated. I definitely like a hero with strong muscles, prefer tall, but if they have presence, that's fine if they aren't really tall.


message 31: by Cindi (new)

Cindi (ourtrumpcard) | 381 comments Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) wrote: "Yes, I like a hero who is smart, even if it's not traditionally necessarily educated. I definitely like a hero with strong muscles, prefer tall, but if they have presence, that's fine if they aren'..." Yeah, I like mine tall and built too. And a great feature (like long hair or eyes) eventually convinces me that they are the whole package. My bf rolls his eyes at me when I make certain comments while we are watching a show...the last time was an innocuous comment about a dude's forearms :))

Its funny how well readers imagination works;less-than drop-dead-gorgeous guys get "modified" in our heads while we read! But I agree b/c I do it too ;) I can think of many male (and female!) stars who aren't traditionally handsome but after a while I see that special something that makes them attractive anyway. Especially with the geeky guys ;)


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
I like guys who grow on you. The more time you spend with them, the better looking they get.


message 33: by Cindi (new)

Cindi (ourtrumpcard) | 381 comments Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) wrote: "I like guys who grow on you. The more time you spend with them, the better looking they get." That's it! Its what I meant to say.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Cindi wrote: " Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) wrote: "I like guys who grow on you. The more time you spend with them, the better looking they get." That's it! Its what I meant to say."

That's a very real life phenomenon, don't you think? I think it would be fun to see that more in romance books.


message 35: by Cindi (new)

Cindi (ourtrumpcard) | 381 comments Yes. Pass the message!


Susan (the other Susan) (theothersusan) | 259 comments Oh the other hand, George Clooney.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Susan (the other Susan) wrote: "Oh the other hand, George Clooney. "

You mean, the more you know him the less attractive he gets?


Susan (the other Susan) (theothersusan) | 259 comments Ha! No, I mean that despite all our thoughtful replies about how a man with flaws can be sexy... I'd still trade them all for a brief shallow affair with CLOONEY.


 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 9731 comments Mod
Susan (the other Susan) wrote: "Ha! No, I mean that despite all our thoughtful replies about how a man with flaws can be sexy... I'd still trade them all for a brief shallow affair with CLOONEY."

Oh. Gotch you. Keanu Reeves is my forever husband. I wouldn't cheat on my husband with him, but my one day real husband just has to understand my relationship with Keanu. :)


message 40: by Cindi (new)

Cindi (ourtrumpcard) | 381 comments Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja) wrote: "Susan (the other Susan) wrote: "Ha! No, I mean that despite all our thoughtful replies about how a man with flaws can be sexy... I'd still trade them all for a brief shallow affair with CLOONEY."
..."


That's called a "freebie", Danielle! *smile* I keep "forgetting" who mine is and naming a new one ;)

I just finished Roxanne St. Claire's Barefoot with a Bodyguard (Barefoot Bay Undercover #1) by Roxanne St. Claire , which is a great one for this thread - he is changed in his opinion of himself based on his HEA's perception of him - and thank Heaven for a good woman, because he is def a keeper!


message 41: by Andrea (new)

Andrea Jackson (paperbackdiva) | 181 comments Talking about models...I loooove me some David Gandy! He turned the male model biz on its side when he debuted about a decade ago. He's often my go-to visualization of a dark-haired romance novel hero. His face is on the rugged side but the man's body is damn near perfect. He makes my mouth melt. If that makes me shallow, so be it. rotfl!


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