I've been reading Sherilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter books lately. I wanted to see her take on the dark hero, and, I wanted to be entertained. These are pick up can't put down 'till done books, which are, by far, my favorite kind. So far, I've noticed a few things: dark heroes come in many flavors. She had one dark hero who was "despised by all, and didn't care, but did", and one dark hero who was "feared by all, despised (he thought) by parents, but really only mother, and did care - was very confused by it all". They were men on the edge of a society that was already on the edge, so they were extreme in the extreme. They both suffered grave wounding early in childhood, and it reminded me of something Maggie Shayne said in a conference: the issues a character struggles with often come from childhood trauma. Childhood, in the medical sense, for humans, extends up to 18 years of age. That made me think of my FAVORITE dark hero, Boba Fett (yes, all things ultimately come back to Boba Fett). Knowing of his childhood, you can see what trauma left in it's wake, what scars healed, and how he was partially shaped into the man he did become.
In romance, the heroine is the woman who sees beyond the facade of the dark hero (or mask). Through her, and his interactions with her, his 'curse' is undone. He evolves, he gains a prize, but the best dark heroes are not completely reformed. Normally, they are the ones who seek to possess, or seek to disdain, rather than love, and she teaches them to let go and to love. So the story with the dark hero, then, is about his growth, not hers. Perhaps her awakening?
That makes me think then of my own hero, Gideon (which means: the destroyer), in Convergence of Destiny. The wounds of his youth lead him to take up the road of the soldier, and he trades love of battle for any other more risky kind of love. He's more the anti-hero than the true dark hero, in that he plays by his own rules, but still has enough of a soul to believe in some ideals. But he's an anti-hero on the verge of becoming a dark hero. He makes one alteration in his plan of action, unconscious almost, and inscrutable to him afterwards, but this act joins his destiny with the heroine, and changes the intended course of fate. So how does his major wound play out? He buried it, forgot it over the centuries, and one singular moment in time brings it back to him in startling clarity. Now it is open, festering, he acts on impulse thinking to alleviate it in some way, only to realize that he can't change the past. He can only influence the future. So when he examines this rash act of his, the one that changes the course of fate, he believes he did it to ease his pain of non-action in the past, and then finds that there is no cure, no escape. His dead he thought long buried, rise with vengeance from the grave. How exactly will love of the heroine save him from the darkness? I think because he realizes this time, he's not going to fail. But, can he save her, or is her destiny sealed, is death in her future, a death he can't prevent?