Picture of Jace from Mortal Instruments Credit: SugarPlumSoup
So, I saw this article by Karen Healey tweeted recently. The basic gist of the essay is that we seem to embrace bad boys in young adult literature. It got me thinking about the fact that I am guilty of this. I accept behavior in YA Fantasy heroes (and anti-heroes) that I would NEVER accept in Realistic lit. What gives?
First, the article and the comments really make me want to read The Demon's Lexicon. I must know more about this "Alan" character.
Aside from that, the author really brings up some interesting points. I keyed in to this line in particular: "But why are bad - sometimes really bad! - boys so popular in fantasy? Is it that the extra suspension of disbelief we employ for fantasy narratives allows us to indulge in boys we couldn’t handle in realistic fiction, too close to home? Is it somehow safer to have our bad boy fantasies existing in fantastic worlds? Or am I just full of crap?"
I don't think she's full of crap at all. I think that fantasy does allow for that "willing suspension of disbelief" that makes us, as readers, more accepting of the bad boys. @Katarinasmama refers to these types (and she has an extensive filing system for boys in YA Lit) as "Hot Boys with Swords." Do the swords, and the fact that the boy is hot, make us more forgiving when he acts like, pardon me, an asshole? I'm leaning towards yes on that one, although I realize that I have not answered the "why" portion of this question. *grins*
Mmm.... Hot Boys With Swords... *floats off to my happy place*
Um, I mean... I think that the word "boys" says it all.
As adults, we realize that most people don't change. If a forty-year-old man acted the way most boys in fiction do, we'd show him the door (and possibly call the cops.) But if a BOY does it, well, we can change him.
Being hot and carrying a sword definitely helps. But even more powerful than that for me is the character's psyche. If his anger management issues manifest from being abused, or if his possessiveness is a result of having been abandoned, it
And then he'll be thankful. Very thankful.
Right, and it's as if we can imagine the man he WILL become, and thus forgive him being a total arse in the present.
True. I think that being an ass can be an attractive trait in and of itself, however. Would we like Jace or Edward nearly as much if they weren't cocky bastards? Probably not. Self-assurance is sexy.
There's definitely something attractive about being an ass (just look at my dating history), and when presented with nice guy vs. ass, the saying that nice guys finish last is usually true. Damon Salvatore? Much more attractive than his nicer brother, Stefan.
Good point. Cocky is sexy. Insecurity is not.
And, correct me if I'm wrong, but if we're also looking for examples of "nice" boys (who are still hot) in YA Lit, wouldn't Sam from Shiver fall into that category? *shakes head yes*
*thinking* I suppose Sam counts. So far. I'm not convinced he wouldn't become a miscreant in his quest to protect Grace, though. Can we condemn a fictional character for future crimes? Oh, who am I kidding. It's not a condemnation. I love a good YA miscreant.
Especially if he is hot. And carries a sword. And is named Jace. *grins*
Speaking of Hot Boys With Swords (we were, weren't we?) did you know that @Katarinasmama, @HeatherWPetty and I are trying to get a cottage industry going based on that concept? It's the "Hot Boys With Swords Pastry Delivery Service™". You might think that the term "Pastry" is an elaborate ruse for sexy times, but it actually means pastry. As in, warm, gooey, cream-filled eclairs being brought to your door by a magical snarky boy hero. *sigh* So far we haven't gotten past the Photoshopping phase in our planning.
All great ideas have to start somewhere, right?