Sep 7 2012 8:23am

Can a Hero Be Too Pretty?

As talk of casting for Fifty Shades of Grey heats up (Alexander Skarsgard! Matt Bomer! Ian Somerhalder!), one of the things that is most crucial for the film produers to keep in mind, fans agree, is that Christian Grey is supposed to be so stunning that everyone with whom he comes into contact is left speechless.

Romance novel heroes are normally fairly good-looking, with rock-hard abs and sexily disheveled hair. But are there heroes that are just too good-looking to be believable? Do you like mind-blowingly good-looking heroes?

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Heather Waters
1. HeatherWaters
This might be kind of strange, but I love a pretty guy (here's to you, Jamie Bamber) on screen (as long as he's also talented), while I tend to roll my eyes when I have to read over and over how pretty someone is in a novel.

Maybe it's an issue of showing vs. telling? On a screen you're not generally *told* how to feel about someone and can determine for yourself that he/she is smokin' hot; in a book you are more likely to be told how to feel about them and especially about their looks.
2. shara1999
No there is no such thing as a too good looking Hero . Come on they have to give us something to ballance there bossyness . Eye candy is a great thing.
Megan Frampton
3. MFrampton
@redline_, I think that is just poor writing! It can be done subtly, but if you're constantly barraged with 'HE'S SO GORGEOUS!' in the book, it's gonna get tired.
4. Amelia James
I like a man with some rough edges: stubble, a scar, even a scowl. Pretty boys catch my eye, but they don't hold my interest. Men with character in their faces keep me coming back for more.
5. Mo
I think it depends on how it is approached. Take Rhage, for instance. He is supposedly stunning. (Disclaimer: I'm a total Rhage fangirl.) That people look at him and see his outside, but not see the pain inside of him makes it a great contrast and makes the real him all more precious. Just like a stunningly beautiful woman who is not taken seriously, men can have that happen to them too. That dynamic is one I like.

OTOH, if a guy is just stunning because, well, he is the hero so he has to to really hot, then I am far less interested and yes, he can be "too hot".

Personally, I am generally partial to the rough edges like Amelia - a sexy scar, not a "beautiful" man but a handsome man with character in his face.
6. SassyT
I second Mo on Rhage. He supposed to be so beautiful he's like a Hollywood star (hence his nickname). I am of the mind that in a book no man can be too beautiful (or too unattractive either...I am a definite Zsadist girl). I don't mind if the man is super hot or super not. I'm more concerned with who he is as a person. What's his story? What's going on in his head? In his heart? I've read books where the hero was very good looking and ones where he wasn't. Made no difference to me as long as the writing was good.

In real life, I like to look at pretty boys but don't generally date them (I'm sorry...but I can't date a guy who is prettier than'd develop some kind of complex). And he can't spend more time getting ready than me.
Lori K
7. LoriK
IRL I don't go for pretty boys, but when I read I like a hot hero as much as the next girl. However, I'm not a fan of books that describe the hero's looks in such an OTT way. They tend to just make me roll my eyes. Name one person you have ever seen IRL that left everyone speechless over how good looking he is. You can't, because that person doesn't exist. Tastes vary, people do not all find the same things attactive and no one is universally hot (a fact made totally obvious by the debate oover casting 50 Shades). IMO describing someone that way is just bad writing.
8. JacquiC
I like both. Sometimes I want to hear about how gorgeous a guy is. I just finished one of Brockmann's books and it was a delicious combination of a truly gorgeous hero who didn't take his looks for granted because he had been fat and geeky as a kid/adolescent. Other times I like a more ordinary looking hero who is attractive to the heroine, but not stereotypically handsome. I think of another Brockmann hero as an example of this -- Stan (can't remember the name of his book).
S Tieh
9. infinitieh
redline reminded me of the first TWILIGHT book which I had the misfortune of having the audiobook instead of the print version. Listening to Bella rave about how Edward was so perfect over and over again made me want to thrown the audiobook out the window. At least with a print book I could skip those parts.

I'm all for pretty boys. Can't get too much eye candy! IRL though, I don't think I have ever met a man who would stun me into silence, made me raise an eyebrow perhaps.
Mara Gillott
10. MaraGillott
I like my heroes to be handsome but have something different about them that makes them unique. I think this is why I was such a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, each man was described was incredible sexy (except Zsadist) but they each had their own unique thing going on that make them not the epitome of perfection. The boys that have something else going on on the outside has more going on on the inside.
Claire Louise Thompson
11. Nefersitra
I appreciate a handsome hero as much as the next reader, but I do find it grating if an author keeps raving about how beautiful/handsome a man (not just the hero) is if he's not what I'd consider irresistable or possibley even attractive.

For example, I think Nathaniel in the Anita Blake books does not sound attractive at all - short men do not do it for me probably because I'm 6-foot tall - but in the books Nathaniel seems to be the most desired character after Anita. On the other hand Acheron in the Dark Hunters series is supposed to be so sexy everyone wants him and this does not bother me.
rachel sternberg
12. rae70
Nefersitra! I so agree about Nathaniel! How gorgeous his lavendar eyes are, how long his hair is and how their height matches perfectly so they can see eye to eye.. ugh.. I tend to gloss over L.K's character descriptions. She is quite repetitive. Going for word counts? As for as Acheron, I didn't mind so much (maybe because he is a god and therefore should be damn irresistable!)

Infintieh: I also agree with you about Edward, I am glad I read the book and didn't have to suffer thru an audio like you did.. the agony! LOL!
13. ladynat
I can go either way. I love me some pretty boys. Hello Acheron. Of course that being said most of the time I see him on the page I think to myself "ahh honey I just want to hug you and make you a sandwich" From the very beginning for me the fact that he was eye candy was secondary to the lonliness of the character.

On screen well, I have a something of a well known addiction to Korean/japanese pop and dramas. Jang Guen Suk, Lee Min Ho, Jun Matsumoto, Hiro Mitsushima. Yeah they are all younger than me sometimes by a rather disconcerting large amount but they sure are pretty to look at. Best yet they great actors and most of them can sing pretty too.

But then roguishly handsome has it's moments. Chris Hemsworth as Thor I'm looking at you. karl Urban anybody?

And if we are going to talk about the hot and yet not catagory Asher is a hell of a character. one half all hotness and light. one half horribly scared and dark and broody....ok so mostly dark and broody.
14. Katherine Bacher
I'm way more into rougher edges. If he's born pretty that's one thing, but I don't want an "androgenous" thing going on. I like my guys to be MEN. Stubble, NATURAL bedhead hair, maybe a scar. As noted in earlier comments from others, I am OK with a pretty boy if there's a reason for it. Like for vampires, most of the time it's because their nature is to be a predator and must appeal to his prey. For 50 Shades, and other characters noted above, it was about people only seeing the outside mask, hiding the internal struggle of the man. THAT kind of pretty keeps my motor runnig pretty well. If there's a reason he's that eye-gogglingly gorgeous, then I'm all on board with the author.

In real life though? I don't typically go for uber-model-gorgeous men. I like them to look like they've been out in the sun working, or messing with cars, or have a battle scar. I think it humanizes the person, and it's a great icebreaker. What's better than not only enjoying the face of a gorgeous guy, but also getting to know them?

Maybe for me it's not necessarily the looks. For me, it's a sexy voice. Especially accents... If a guy has an English, Scottish, Irish or Australian accent, my husband better have handcuffed himself to me because I'll follow hot-accent-man anywhere.
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