For the last couple of weeks I have been researching heroes (there are worse topics!) not for my books this time, but for the dissertation I’m writing. One of the historical characters that I’m studying is Horatio Nelson. In his day Nelson was not considered particularly physically prepossessing although the portraits of him make him look pretty good! He was vain and was famously unfaithful to his wife. And yet he was also courageous, brilliant and inspiring. His men admired him deeply and he caught the public imagination. He was a Georgian/Regency celebrity as well as a national hero.
This set me wondering whether there is a hero template. Are there certain men and women who possess the characteristics that make them universally admired, and if so, what qualities are they? Do we use these in our own writing and recognise them in our reading? Or do we all have our own personal heroes and heroines?