Copyright © Jean Ross Ewing 1997



For me there is no better hero in fiction than Francis Crawford of Lymond, the heart and soul of six fabulous historical novels by Scottish author Dorothy Dunnett. Here's something of what I believe about romance heroes, and why in my opinion Lymond is the ultimate:


1) A hero must be gifted:

Lymond's intelligent; articulate; has a fabulous, biting sense of humor; is gifted in music, poetry and languages; widely read; master of conflict; good in a fight; excellent at intrigue; a natural leader; competent; brave; physically beautiful; has a charismatic impact on everyone around him-admiration and respect from the worthy souls, hatred and envy from the unworthy. He's gifted, he knows it and he tries to live up to the responsibility that imposes on him.


2) Though he may appear to be a rogue, a hero must be a nice guy:

Now before everyone falls off their chairs, I mean it! Lymond has honor, integrity, compassion, generosity, loyalty-the attributes that count. Though he doesn't give a damn what anyone else thinks and he doesn't suffer fools gladly, he lives by his own deepest values as best as he can, usually in very trying circumstances. He is never a hypocrite. Lymond also likes women-LIKES women, for company as well as sex-and he loves his mother.


3) A hero is flawed and therefore human:

Good grief, is Lymond flawed! Physically and emotionally. Occasionally he does something unforgivable, especially when he faces impossible choices, or when he's tempted or exasperated. But he pays a price for his hubris, he agonizes over his mistakes, he denies himself even when it costs him his heart's desire, and he keeps trying.


4) He's sexy, wonderful in bed. The ideal lover, passionate, tender, exquisite:

Well, of course. No more need be said!


5) A hero is a challenge. He's so interesting that the heroine willingly gives up her independence to love him:

Lymond is complex, challenging, multi-layered, full of internal conflict, and difficult to love, therefore worth it.


6) A hero raises the hairs on the back of your neck:

A hero echoes an archetype and a recognition of that rings somewhere deep in the unconscious. He has numinous power. He offers the chance for mystical union. He's both the Other and the Self. All that good Jungian stuff. This is why romance writers use language about fallen angels, devils, vampires, "woman wailing for her demon lover." He's holy and unholy. He sends shivers down your spine. He has the glamour on him that shone around your first love. He fills you with longing. He embodies a journey of the soul.

Lymond raises the hairs on the back of my neck. He sends shivers down my spine.

Attempting to combine this heroic glamour successfully with #3 (a hero must be flawed and therefore human) makes this romance writer sweat blood and weep salt tears. But it's why I write romance. It's a journey of the soul.


Award-winning, multi-published author of British-set romances, Jean Ross Ewing was born, raised, and educated in England and Scotland.

Copyright © Jean Ross Ewing 1997. By all means print this out for your own use, but the text must remain unaltered, complete with the copyright, and may not be reproduced or distributed for profit or for any other purpose without my express permission.

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