Jan 17 2012 9:30am

Killing for Love: Sons of Anarchy’s Jax and Richelle Mead’s Dorian

Jax in Sons of AnarchyThere are certain things that when you explain aloud sound awful. For example, think of explaining the plot of The Hunger Games to a friend: It’s an exhilarating read with a great message—oh and children are forced to fight to the death on reality TV. It sounds painful to experience (and maybe it is a little), but the book is phenomenal.

I bring this up because I know how it’s going to sound when I admit this, but having a bad guy murdered by the hero in a book? Hot. Having him commit said act of slayage on the heroine’s behalf? Hotter.

My husband and I recently became addicted to the show Sons of Anarchy. Really, we stayed in on Christmas and streamed it from Netflix. (Biker gang shenanigans for the holidays!) And it brought up an interesting discussion.

Jax and Tara in Sons of AnarchyIn the first season—the show just finished season four, but spoiler warning if you haven’t watched at all—the show’s protagonist Jax kills a man to save the woman he loves. Here comes the spoiler-y part. Tara is being stalked by her ex-boyfriend. She’s at home and the ex has broken in and is attempting to rape her. She manages to shoot him in the stomach, and then phones Jax. He comes over looking fine as only Charlie Hunnam can, and comes in to see the bleeding would-be rapist on the floor nursing his wound. Would-be rapist is calling Tara terrible names and threatening her. Jax shoots him in the head. As the blood pools around the dying man, Jax and Tara hit the bed for some seriously hot sex.

And both my husband and I agreed: Yes, that’s exactly what would happen. If he were to kill someone in my defense, instant lay. (Not that I’m suggesting my husband should murder anyone. We’re not even gun people, despite living in Texas.) But as far as hypotheticals go, saving the day in a primal way ignites something.

It’s not just on TV. Think about some of your favorite romances (especially historicals and paranormals with shifters). How often have you seen a hero step up to protect the heroine? Did it make you swoon?

At times, it can even be a way of determining which love interest is the “right” one. For example, in Richelle Mead’s Thorn Queen, [MORE SPOILERS!] Eugenie has been raped. Repeatedly. By a power-hungry asshole who thinks getting her knocked up will be the key to everything. When Dorian and Kiyo—her love interests—arrive to save her, her boyfriend at the time Kiyo refuses to harm the man who’s been keeping her captive and raping her. He’s worried about political implications. Dorian has no such qualms, and impales the jerk with his sword. And the moment he did that, everything was clear. Readers knew Dorian would put Eugenie above all else. People who hurt her should be hurt, according to him. Despite not wanting to force my lover into being a killer, I couldn’t have been more hurt or disappointed by Kiyo’s lack of vengeance.

Bloodshed shouldn’t be sexy, but just like firemen covered in soot the act causes stomachs to go a fluttering.

Share your favorite killing for love scenes in the comments and, really, if you know why we want to have our heroes get bloodthirsty on our behalves, please mention that, too!


While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. (Her husband often reminds her that she’s taken.)

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Heather Waters
1. hnwaters
I'm not all that familiar with Sons of Anarchy or the Dark Swan series, but I know exactly what you mean. One of my favorite examples, though, involves the heroine rather than the hero -- during a mutiny in BSG, Starbuck shoots a few people to rescue Apollo. It's epic. And when I think about why I love that scene so much, it's because it shows the lengths to which she's willing to go for him, because killing someone's never easy, even when it's to save a life.
2. ChelseaMueller
@hnwaters - BSG is always a good example. There's so much sacrifice on that show -- even when it's sacrificing morals to make someone else's life better.
Lege Artis
3. Lege Artis
Great blog Chelsea!
Ok, I would do it with Jax in the blood, gutter, whatever- that guy is hot. To put on the side my raging healthy female hormones, SOA is great show. Great actors- Charlie Hunnam, Katey Sagal and Ron Perlman are fantastic.
I became intrested in Sons of Anarchy when I learned that it was created by the same guy who gave us The Shield. In both series, the main protagonist is guy who is not above killing and breaking the law, but in a same time has high sense of honor. Both Jax Teller and Vic Mackey are bad-asses who fiercely protect their women and family.
I gave some thought regarding your bloodshed=sexy observation. I came to this: both Tara and Eugenia were saved not by some prince in shining armor with proper moral code, but by man whose armor is rusty and bloody and who will do anything to protect them, even kill the rapey-stalking mofo. Maybe, that is just one side of my old known soft spot for bad guy in fiction, but that's the kind of guy I want to read about or whom I want to watch on tv. Sexy as hell :)
Lege Artis
4. Lisa Kessler
You're so right about heroes who kill to save the one they love. It shouldn't be hot, but it really is! Part of why I read and write paranormal is because I thrive on the life or death consequences. I wouldn't enjoy them in real life, but my escape is fiction and I like the heroes and consequences to be bigger than life... Great blog! Lisa :)
Christopher Morgan
5. cmorgan
I always thought the great thing about Jax and Tara is how quickly she falls down the rabbit hole of the club and is on her way to being just like Gemma, and you gals might like your killer guys, but bad-ass killer women kinda got a thing going for them too.
6. ChelseaMueller
@cmorgan - You're absolutely right. There's something about the scene early on when Tara punches the hospital administrator that resonates with her descent into MC life.

I think this premise plays both ways. People always like seeing others step up on their behalf -- especially when those defenders are willing to ignore the emotional ramifications of doing something vicious in the name of someone else.
Lege Artis
7. Lafka
Oh, you're so right about that, reading or watching a hero kill someone to save/protect the heroin is so hoooooot!

I think it was in True Blood where Bill killed Sookie's uncle or whatever, who had molested her when she was a child, and whose offensive behaviour still haunts her present day. *Swoon*

I also remember a book (if my memory doesn't fail me, it was the first book in Anne Stuart's House of Rohan trilogy) where the hero, an outrageous libertine who cares for absolutely no one and nothing except his own pleasure, kills a man in an imbalanced duel because the heroin had told him that this very man had "rented" her when she was a teenager to service him in quite odious ways before getting bored of her. I didn't particularly appreciate the hero before reading that particular moment of the book, where I started to think that yes, there was definitely some potential in him! ;)

I think this fascination, arousal, or whatever you may want to call it, in seeing the hero fight and kill for the woman he loves is linked to the animal instinct in us, which is not extinct no matter how "evolved" our society is. You have to admit it, it just pulls a trigger in us which leads us to swoon for the man who is ready to kill to protect his "female" and more generally his "tribe" _ and I really believe it dates back to those good old primal times where fighting meant survival and the strongest men got the women! :)
Danielle Monsch
8. DanielleMonsch
It's funny how people can look at the same scene two different ways...

While I overall agree with you on the "Killing for Love" aspect - and that I also generally love it when in a story we have a man who loves a woman so much that he'll kill for her - I viewed the Sons of Anarchy scene you speak of very differently than you. In fact, I was a viewer of Sons of Anarchy until that scene.

I found it damaging to the character. I had no problem believing that Charlie was a killer, so his killing of the stalker ex didn't shed any different light on his character. But the fact that he didn't take her out of that situation and clean everything up - making sure she was protected from a life that she was not part of until that moment and was horrifically thrust into - and instead had sex with her next to the dead ex... well, it made me disgusted with that character to such an extent that I didn't bother to watch the show after that.

Still, it's interesting to hear the different takes on these very charged moments of our television and books.
Christiana Pontier
9. jewelofthedarkx3
I definetly agree! It is always great when the hero takes up for or defends the heroine without he asking, and sometimes even needing it. It shows that he truly cares. Not to mention is SUPER sexy. :) And I am a HUGE fan of Sons of Anarchy. Love it!!!
Lege Artis
10. cindyg
Some people would say that I'm demented but hells bells; I just get all warm and fuzzy when a hero kicks ass or worse for the woman he loves. I too love Sons of Anarchy...Jax oh Jax...what I wouldn't do to get close to him.
I'd say most of my favorite reads have dark, dangerous, kick ass heros who will walk thru hell and back for the woman he loves...Damn that sounds good, doesn't it!!!
Jessica O'Brien
11. JLOBrien
I am apparently just as demented cause I find it pretty hot when the alpha male puts a serious hurtin on the bad guy.

Now that I have a chance to dissect it...for me I think it comes down to the fact that protecting someone in that manner is the equivalent of laying your life down for them. If you hurt/kill someone, you risk going to the pokey for a LONG time (possibly for life) or going by some of the plots in my favorite books...usually the bad guy you just took out has friends who want to repay the favor which could also equate to a death sentence.

And it's some serious lurve if a man is willing to lay his life down for you...and look frickin sexy and barely winded when he is done is a huge bonus. And the adrenaline fueled sack session afterward is a must.
Lege Artis
12. KatiLou
ANY of the heroes of Lori Foster's novels. "Dare", "Trace" and "Savor" are all 3 recent favorites of mine who don't hesitate to step in & commit some bloody acts of violence while protecting those in their care. (Not just the women they love, but ALL those under their protection.) Another one.... "Joe Winston" from "Say No to Joe?" *swoon* Soooo freakin hot. My other favorite author who features incredibly bad-but-oh-so-good heroes is Lara Adrian in her Breed series. It's a vampire series, so you KNOW those "bad boys" are commiting some pretty gorey acts, but oooooh, a girl can't help but want to be the mate to one of them.
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