The Difficult Hero by Marilyn Brant — 12 Comments

  1. Great analysis, Marilyn. I didn’t think of Mr. Darcy that way but I agree that he needs to let go before he can accept that life (to use a very unregency expression) throws you curveballs and you have to change or be knocked out. I think that’s what’s endlessly fascinating about JA variations — defining the curveball and seeing how Darcy responds to it.

    I’m writing a “difficult hero” right now for my Christmas Regency so I can really relate to the stages you describe.

    • Monica,
      Thank you 😉 .
      And I love what you said about defining the curveballs! JA created some very distinctive personalities in her fiction. In writing any sort of variation or new work that’s been inspired by her, we have the opportunity to either replicate a situation or reframe it. I love getting to examine what’s similar beneath the surface of seemingly different heroes — I think there’s a lot that can connect them.
      Looking forward to your Christmas Regency!!

  2. Marilyn this was a great excerpt! Your moderns are so fun! My difficult hero…. Drat, I’m still writing D&L so of course it has to be Darcy. Though I will give Poldark a shout since I just finished watching the series on PBS and definitely enjoyed the frustration her presented. Jen Red

    • Jen, thanks so much! I’m thrilled you liked the excerpt 🙂 .
      Totally agree with you on Poldark! I just finished watching the first series too (can’t wait for more) and one of the elements I loved best about the story was the richness and struggle of Ross’ s inner life. How often he must confront dichotomies within his own desires — fighting his feelings toward Elizabeth and also forward Demelza, his mixed feelings in regards to his cousin Francis, his work efforts, and esp where he fits in within his changing society. He keeps having to rethink himself and his inner circle, which makes him such a fascinating character!

  3. Yes. I love the comparison and my favorite heros have always been difficult heroes. They are worth the effort to win. I love the excerpt and am looking forward to reading Volume 3.

    • LOL, Patty! Oh, yes — I’m most definitely an ’80s girl 😉 . So glad you like the title!
      We share a similar appreciation for those complex heroes, too… They’re endlessly fascinating, aren’t they?!

  4. At the risk of being accused of jumping ship, I do believe that the Brontë sisters wrote several very difficult heroes: Rochester and Heathcliff!

    And then there is Ruark from one of my ever favorites, Shanna, by Kathleen Woodiwiss.

    For me Poldark is not difficult as he seems to have high moral values and cares for the working men. But I have only seen the series, not read the books.

    • Sheila, oh, you are so right about the Bronte sisters! Those heroes were seriously difficult. I’d go so far as to call them tortured. Heathcliff and/or Rochester had more internal conflict than almost any other “romantic lead” than I can think of… I’m so glad you recommended Shanna. I’ve read others by Woodwiss but not that one. Will add it to my list! 🙂

  5. Definitely agree about Darcy and Wentworth; both have to learn to set aside their pride in order to love truly.

    I agree about Rochester–he’s my favorite “difficult hero” because it takes soooooo much to get through his thick head that he can’t just go do whatever he wants–such as marry Jane when he’s already married. It takes losing his beloved as well as being blinded and crippled for him to learn to love selflessly.

    Edmund in Mansfield Park is also difficult in that he’s trusting almost blindly (as Bingley does with his sisters), to the point of almost falling for a woman’s outer shell rather than her inner soul in Mary Crawford and not seeing the truly good woman right beneath his nose, a woman who, although quiet and selfless, recognizes the evil in the hearts of others that Edmund doesn’t learn until it’s too late. He’s difficult in a frustrating manner; I just want to “bop” him upside the head for allowing himself to be swayed away from his moral stance by others in the case of the play by both Henry and Mary Crawford as well as his siblings which ultimately does much harm.

    And Hamlet is the ultimate difficult hero…and in a tragedy rather than a romance although there was potential for romance….

    And let’s not venture into Hardy…. 😉

    Great thoughts here–and thanks for the lovely excerpt, Marilyn! 🙂

    Susanne 🙂

    • Susanne,
      I always enjoy reading your thoughtful comments — thank you! And I’m delighted you enjoyed the excerpt. Many thanks for that, too 😉 .
      Really appreciated your analysis of Edmund and agree that he is incredibly frustrating. I spend a lot of my time when rereading MP wanting to shake him, LOL, so I can totally relate to your desire to bop him on the head! That Fanny holds her ground (even while the man she admires most temporarily takes leave of his senses) does really show the strength of her character and convictions. I always hope Edmund will become a better man as a result of being with her.
      As for Hamlet…yes, oh yes…
      Hope you have a fabulous weekend!

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