Sunday, September 30, 2018

What does a Regency hero look like?

Some writers I know like to have an image of the hero they are writing about pinned above a desk. Personally I don't do this. My heroes tend to jump into my head fully formed and if I went looking for a picture of them I'm sure I wouldn't find one. Occasionally, a hero doesn't make an appearance except as a vague shadow in my mind until I set him loose upon the page when he starts to take form and his features clarify for me.

Now and then though, I get hooked into images on Pinterest and collect pictures of potential heroes. Or pictures of men who might fit a Heyer hero I'm particularly fond of. Fellow Heyer addicts tend to use modern actors or stars (often pictured dressed in Regency gear) when they are musing about which Heyer hero this could be.

What better, however, than images of real men from the era? Portraits of the time may be a touch romanticised by the painter to make them flattering to the buyer, but they do depict men looking as they did back in the day. These are the guys who might truly be a Regency hero.


How about this blonde specimen, guaranteed to set our heroine's heart a-beating? A tad arrogant, do you think?

"Do I know you, madam? I think not."

But of course he'll find her irresistible and that look of disdain will be wiped from his features with a charming smile.

What do you think of the hairstyle?

Or this for the brooding hero? More at home on the battlefield than in the ballroom perhaps. Disinclined to grant our heroine any favours. Naturally she will charm him into submission and brooding will be a thing of the past.

What of the handsome hero here? He's interested, for sure. But I'll bet there are rivals a-plenty to prevent our heroine catching his attention. He's smart, and the hair is always in place, I should think.
Now here we have "the look" for sure. You know, the one he gives the heroine when he's royally infuriated with her. A blazing row is on the cards within minutes. But oh, that long hair tied in the back - gets me every time.

As for this guy, I wouldn't fancy the heroine's chances at all. He's clearly a wild, annoying creature who will drive her crazy in the first five minutes. If only he wasn't so devastatingly good-looking. And that loose lock over the brow - oh, be still my beating heart!

Now what about this fellow? To me, he looks a dead ringer for Willoughby in the TV version of Sense and Sensibility. Though if he's going to be a hero, we can't have him that villainous. Besides, he's clearly in the navy, so he can't be all that bad. I think we'll have to give him the benefit of the doubt. He's got a sweet smile too.


This is the older hero. There's a touch of kindness in that face, and I'll bet our youthful heroine will be smitten in short order. He's another naval warrior, pretty high-powered by the look of that uniform. All neatness and precision. That will have to go. I think our heroine is going to have to do some softening here.
And finally, the unattainable. Every girl wants this one, but of course he's going to fall desperately in love with our heroine, who will be the most unlikely match for him. He looks a bit like a young George Brummell, but he's probably a poet or an artist. Oh, that wild hair!

Now, honestly, aren't these a great deal more like the heroes we read and write about than your modern film star (always excepting the delectable Colin Firth, of course)? Personally, I'd cosy up with any one of them, no questions asked.

Elizabeth Bailey

6 comments:

Lynne Connolly said...

I'll take number four! That's my idea of the hero of the first series I ever wrote, Richard, Lord Strang.

Laura Vivanco said...

Another vote for the hero with "the look": he's the only one I think's handsome. I can imagine him being a vampire, though, so I'd rather not get too close.

Elizabeth Bailey said...

He is rather attractive, isn't he? You made me laugh about the vampire, Laura.
And Lynne, how great that he's the idea of your Richard - Richard and Rose, I'm guessing.

Elizabeth Hawksley said...

The one I'd avoid at all costs is the last one - he looks far too self-satisfied! The only person he loves is himself.

Laurel Nattress said...

No 5 is dead ringer for David Rintoul as Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice 1980.

Elizabeth Bailey said...

Laurel, I believe you are right. I had forgotten that one.
And Elizabeth, yes, he is a tad full of himself - but perhaps that's a pose?