Have you ever noticed that men in UF and PNR have a tendency to be badass bad boys? (Yeah I just used bad twice.) I really can't complain. It's hot. There's lots of reasons for that which I may or may not write a post about later, but that's not really my point. My point is: I need a hero.
That's right. I'm not going to say I'm over reading about sexy, ruthless badasses, but there's something special about heroes. You don't just want to get down and dirty with them, you want to love them. And, maybe more importantly, you want them to love you, and not because of some kind of kinky sex thing. Because it means, somehow, that you're better than you thought you could be.
But it's not even a romance thing, really. Women can be heroes too. Kids. Doesn't matter who you are, only what choices you make. And maybe the idea that some people, facing an impossible situation, can come out of it better than they were, makes all of us better people. Maybe when we cry silently when Harry Potter walks into the Forbidden Forest to face Voldemort, or watch helplessly as Katniss Everdeen tries, desperately, to save a hospital, or laugh in shock and admiration when Tavi somehow unites people who thought they hated each other, or wait, fists clenched, for the dream that was Rome, maybe then we realize that there's something deep inside of all of us that can defeat impossible odds, that can be a beacon of light even in the darkest of times and show us all that being human is about more than genetics.
I like to call that hope.
So give me a hero. Give me someone I can cheer for, someone I can live for, someone I want to be. Heroes aren't flawless; in fact, it's their flaws that make them heroic. They remind us that, even if you can't do anything, you can always do something. They teach us how to be worthy, not of any particular prize, but to be people of worth. They show us what it means to make choices, to have free will, and they force us to take a closer look at ourselves and say, "could I do that?"
If that's not what we're reading for, I don't know what is. Sure, reading is an escape, but it's much more - an experience, a harrowing, a journey. Books teach us things about life we might never learn on our own. And if we're really lucky, we, too, will come out of it better than we were going in.