A couple years ago, there was a Saturday morning cartoon called Shaolin Showdown. The basic premise was that four extraordinary kids were chosen to save the world with martial arts superpowers. There were a couple recurring bad guys in the series; the bad guy you saw every week was the comedic bad guy. You more laughed and rolled your eyes at him than ever took him as a threat.
And then there was Chase Young.
Chase Young was the smooth bad guy who showed up very rarely. He had long flowing hair and kicked butt. The heroes barely made it out when they were fighting him, and every time Chase Young came onto the scene, you were holding your breath, waiting for what was going to happen next.
Chase Young was bad, but you loved him anyway.
The creators were no fools, so the last season of the show Chase Young started showing up a heck of a lot more.
This could only be a good thing, right? Wrong.
See, the problem was, with Chase Young around so much more, the mystery started to diminish. Because the kids had to keep beating him (or else the series would end) his intimidation and awesomeness factor started dropping. And because Chase was so popular, he couldn’t be a complete bad guy anymore. We started getting a kinder, gentler Chase Young.
Chase Young went from being a bounce-in-your-seat-when-you-realized-he-was-in-the-episode character to a, “Oh, him again huh?” character. It was sad to see him diminished so.
Why am I talking to you about this?
I have fears any time an author brings their anti-hero character to the hero side, because usually the character can’t survive the transition. The more I have love for the author and their character, the more I fear.
And I have much love for Kresley Cole and Lothaire from her Immortals After Dark series.
Lothaire is the cool bad guy from the IAD series. He’s the one that as soon as he shows up, you get that tingle in the back of your neck going, “What’s he up to now?” In the series, he has some heavy duty favors owed to him by the good guys, and it is stomach-twisting to think on the many possibilities his devious mind will come up with to torture and chess move all of them.
But now, Lothaire is going to be the hero in the next IAD book, which is simply titled Lothaire.
Lothaire, who snapped Lucia’s neck and is on Garreth’s To Die List.
Lothaire, who betrayed Regin, Declan, and the rest on that prison island.
Lothaire, who has done so many bad things that there is a whole continent of immortals just waiting to take him out.
Lothaire now as hero.
I don’t want Lothaire to pull a Chase Young and lose that edge that has made him such a great and fascinating character throughout the series. At the same time, he’s going to be the hero of a romance book. If I’m reading a romance, to enjoy it I have to like the guy enough that I want to see him happy and in love and able to live this great life with his beloved. If I don’t like the guy, I sure as heck don’t want to see him content and settled.
It’s going to be a major balancing act between keeping the character sharp and faithful to his roots, but redeemed enough that I’m happy to see him get his HEA.
I admit that I have no idea how Kresley Cole is going to pull it off. But more than once during her books she’s introduced something where I’ve thought, “No way she can resolve this,” but she did. The challenge may be greater here than anything that has come before, but I have full faith in her abilities.
Anyone want to take any guesses on what she’s going to do with Lothaire?
Danielle Monsch is a Romantic Geek Girl Writing in a Fantasy World. Besides torturing her poor, poor editor about her latest story, Dani likes to read manga and watch anime, debate the merits of DC vs. Marvel, and geek out over the latest and greatest romance novel offerings. Catch up with Dani on Twitter @DaniMonsch