I’ve always been fascinated with the appeal of the bad boy. When thinking about my favorite male characters in novels, I’m always drawn to the slightly evil. Though, I don’t necessarily think I’m alone. After talking with a few of my colleagues, I realized we were all captivated by the same bad boy character. Just look at Edward Cullen from Twilight whose character led to Christian Grey in 50 Shades of Grey, there’s clearly something appealing about a man who needs redemption. One of my favorite bad boys is Howl from Diana Wynne Jones’ Howl’s Moving Castle. Howl lives without a heart until Sophie finds a way to return it to him, but before she does, she has to live through all kinds of horrible treatment from him. How could a horrible or evil character ever be appealing?
I believe it’s the need to be the savior that attracts the reader to these characters. There’s something attractive about seeing a true change in a flawed character. Perhaps it’s the hero inside all of us, needing to help someone trapped in their evil way and bring out that sliver of a good side. Or perhaps we love seeing it in literature because it so rarely happens in real life?
Who are your favorite male characters? Are they bad boys? Could their character be described as flawed? Do you want to save them?