Eight Hero Archetypes

» Posted on Feb 26, 2006 in Blog | 7 comments

Someone asked if Christian romances have these eight hero archetypes in pure form, not blends of two types. What do you all think? Any suggestions of heroes that fit only one type.

1. The Chief–definitely the alpha hero. He is the born leader. In a historical he would be the conqueror. In a contemporary he would be the CEO. His way is the only way.
2. The Bad Boy–the rebel. He is street smart. He’s a rule breaker. He doesn’t respond to authority. He needs to be his own boss because he doesn’t play well with others. In a historical he might be the outlaw/pirate. In a contemporary he might be the hero who came from the bad side of town (riding his motorcycle).
3. The Best Friend–the beta hero. He is a wonderful companion, listener and all around nice guy. Think Harry in Harry Met Sally.
4. The Charmer–the playboy. He is the rogue. He is charismatic, hard to resist. He won’t commit easily to any woman. He plays the field and enjoys it. In a historical he is the rake, the lord that no woman has tamed.
5. The Lost Soul–brooding outcast. He usually is the loner. He has a lot of secrets and a tortured past. He’s a hard one to crack.
6. The Professor–brilliant and confident in his abilities. He might be the scientist or the accountant–logical. Think Spock or Data in Star Trek.
7. The Swashbuckler–adventurous and daring. This is your action hero. He takes charge and enjoys it in a life and death situation. Think Indiana Jones or Errol Flynn.
8. The Warrior–the knight in shining armor. He comes to the damsel’s rescue. He protects the heroine. Think law enforcement or military.

So which one is your favorite? Any books come to mind that fit a hero category?


  1. Margaret, in THE POWER OF LOVE, your hero is very much the lost soul. In REASONABLE DOUBT by Tracey Bateman, that hero is definitely the best friend. So yes, there are definitely pure archetypes in Christian romances.

  2. Yes, I think we could see any of these in Christian fiction. Character types you might not expect (like the bad boy or charmer)definitely have a lot of room for redemption and growth. 🙂

    Missy Tippens

  3. Well said, Missy!

  4. Margaret, I love the Bad Boys and Charmers, although in real life, I married the Best Friend. 🙂

  5. I like knights and adventurers! I love Errol Flynn movies and Medieval settings too. Gee, maybe that’s why I can’t find a guy–I keep looking for Captain Blood or Robin Hood!
    I’ve also liked the more thoughtful adventurers/heroes as I’ve always like Aragorn in Lord of the Rings—even before the movies—

  6. I love these archetypes, Margaret. And I just finished when dreams come true. Your hero is a bit of several types, I think. Very much the warrior but trying to become something else, a professor maybe, but with shades of the Lost Soul. Excellent book.

  7. I love the professor type, except I like the ones who are strong and clinical rather than bumbling. Gil Grissom on CSI. Yum! On an old episode I saw tonight, a perp got in his face and my lovely Gamma male stared him down–not defensive, not aggressive, but just lifted an eyebrow as if trying to understand what type of bug he was.


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