In the spirit of Heroes and Heartbreakers, I’m discussing the inspiration for the hero of my forthcoming book, Bastien Harcourt. Bastien, aka Captain Cutlass, is a pirate. Well, he says he’s a privateer, but really, what’s the difference? Bastien is charming, he’s a rogue, and he, like most pirates, is the ultimate bad boy.
Whenever I mention that Bastien is a pirate, the response is, “Really? I love pirates!” I started to wonder why we love pirates so much; is it because Johnny Depp is so hot as Captain Jack Sparrow? Is it because there’s been a dearth of pirate books lately?
Or is it because pirates represent the kind of alpha heroes we find ourselves drawn to?
Conjure the image of a pirate in your mind, and you probably think of a man in a flowing open white shirt, tight black trousers, and tall black boots. He’s standing at the helm of a fast, sleek ship with the wind on his face and the crash of the waves at his back. He answers to no one—no man or woman, no country, no law. The pirate is the ultimate bad boy.
What makes a bad boy?
Bad boys are independent. By definition, a pirate is a rule-breaker, a loner, someone who goes against the grain. A pirate doesn’t follow society’s rules. In fact, he’s probably exhilarated by the simple idea of breaking them. There’s something very sexy about a man who knows his own mind and follows his own path, a bad boy who makes his own rules.
Pirates were also ahead of their time. Believe it or not, democracy reigned on board most pirate ships. The crew voted on their captain and quartermaster and divvied their plunder equally. Pirates even had a “worker’s comp” program for their injured compatriots. Historical records show instances of pirates voting to set aside booty to be used later in the event an injured crewmember needed help. A bad boy with a heart and a sense of justice. Really, is there anything more appealing?
A bad boy doesn’t ask, he takes. No, I’m not talking about rape. We’re talking bad boys, not criminals. A bad boy takes liberties, crosses the line, and has his own ideas about propriety. My hero Bastien is a particularly charming pirate. I imagine he’s always attracted his share of ladies, but he’s definitely not the kind of man who would ever touch a woman against her will. Still, he doesn’t have a lot of qualms about kidnapping a woman when it serves his purpose. In fact, he kidnaps the heroine Raeven more than once. Fortunately, Raeven is no wilting flower, and she makes Bastien pay for his sins.
A bad boy doesn’t back down. Pirates are known for taking risks, taking chances, and taking on bigger, stronger foes. Think of all the pirates in history who ran blockades, challenged ships of the British (or American or French) Navy, or who created their own outposts—and defended them—from invaders. Pirates don’t surrender, and they don’t back down from a fight.
But the real appeal of the bad boy pirate is that he’s fiercely loyal. Bad boys aren’t sappy, romantic poets. They don’t fall in love easily, if at all, but when they do fall in love, they fall hard and forever. A pirate will risk his life for a friend and crewmember, and this is doubly true for the woman he loves. He’ll protect her, fight for her, and be fiercely faithful to her. In short, a bad boy can be a very good boy to fall in love with.
What do you think makes pirate heroes appealing? Is it because they’re history’s ultimate bad boy, or is it something else?
Thanks for commenting. I’ll be checking in all day to read your comments. I’m also pleased to offer two copies of my upcoming release, The Rogue Pirate’s Bride, for the sweepstakes below.
To enter for a chance to win one of two copies of Shana Galen’s The Rogue Pirate’s Bride, make sure you’re a registered member of the site, and then simply leave a comment below. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2012/01/pirates-the-ultimate-bad-boys beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) January 26, 2012. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 a.m. ET on February 3, 2012 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/page/official-rules-the-rogue-pirates-bride-comment-sweepstakes. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.
The Rogue Pirate’s Bride, February 2012