The Appeal of the Wounded Hero


Beauty and the Beast. Scarred Hero. Wounded Hero. Whatever you call it, I’m a fan. As I mentioned in my previous post about tropes, it’s definitely one of my favourites. In fact, my Soldiering On series is built around this hero archetype. The series features four heroes (and one heroine!), all wounded in different ways.

On lists of favourite romance tropes, this one shows up every single time. So I’m not the only one that loves it! The question is, what’s the appeal?

Part of it, I believe, is that it shows a hero that has conquered some adversity. Whether they were wounded in childhood, in an accident, or in war, they still experienced something difficult and survived. Resilience is a very admirable quality in a romantic hero. It hints at a depth of character and experience that most of us couldn’t imagine.

But it’s not just that. It is also what the trope represents, and the kind of dynamics that it usually plays to.

I like wounded heroes, because I like heroes that are a little less sure of themselves. (Beta heroes are my jam!) Usually in these stories it is the hero that falls for the heroine first. So, when I read a blurb about a wounded hero, I will often assume that the story will be packaged with two of my other favourite tropes—Hero in Pursuit, and the hero’s “unrequited” pining (that is really requited!).

In addition to this, it will often give the reader a hint that the hero is not all that confident in himself. Maybe he doesn’t think he’s good enough for the heroine. And that is such a refreshing dynamic in this world of arrogant Alpha Billionaires that it is something I actively seek out.

Sometimes part of the appeal is that the story is a retelling of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale/Disney movie that many of us love. In this case, there is also a sense of nostalgia that can go along with the reading. Particularly when the story has been made sexier or dark, more grown up. It can be all the things that you love about the original with an adult flavour to it.

Another appealing element is that there needs to be a lot of character growth from the hero to be worthy of the heroine. He needs to grow in his self-confidence, learn to trust the heroine, and put himself out there in order to earn his happy ending. I find that a much more appealing character arc than a more arrogant man learning humility, but I know that’s my personal taste!

I might talk at a later date about why I think there are a lot less wounded heroines. And why the ‘wounded hero’ trope doesn’t show up nearly as much in movies as in books.


So, there you have it. This is a breakdown of why I love wounded heroes. Also, eventually, I will do a post about my favourite examples of the trope!

What’s your favourite Beauty and the Beast/Wounded Hero romance?

One thought on “The Appeal of the Wounded Hero

  1. Pingback: Movie Review: Beauty and the Beast | aislinn kearns

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