Unfortunately, today's tour stop at Happily Ever After Book Blog got waylaid by a hacker who took the blog offline over the weekend. So I'm going to go ahead and post today's column on brooding heroes here...
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When I first started to draft Sotto Voce in the fan community, there was a lot of talk about the Greg Kennedy character, and how he was "dark, brooding and hot."
Dark. Brooding. Hot.
Two of those three make perfect sense when we're trying to sort out what we find attractive in a hero. But what is it about brooding men that we find so hot?
In concept, that shouldn't be an attractive character trait, not really. Because "brooding" is really just another word for "grumpy".
But here we are, time and time again, talking about "brooding heroes". And I won't lie—I fall for them like everyone else.
So what gives? How is it that a brooding man is hot, while a grumpy man is just annoying?
I suspect that a brooding hero suggests that there is something underneath that grumpy external layer—that there is depth to his concerns. And if it's a "brooding hero," it's likely that those layers will reveal something in his back story or in his priorities that make him complex, relatable and maybe even a bit vulnerable in ways we did not first suspect.
That's certainly the case with Greg Kennedy, the winemaker in Sotto Voce. When we first meet Greg, we know him to be smart, hard-working and a bit reclusive. We also discover that he is moody, somewhat volatile, and stand-offish. But we also discover that he is generous with his colleagues, protective of the people he cares about, and yes, a bit lonely.
"That day in the vineyard, when you asked about Rhapsody being isolated?...It is. It was, especially when I was first getting my footing here. I just really felt alone," Greg tells Tom, the wine critic to whom he is drawn, confessing a long-ago fling that haunts him. "He was someone I knew, someone familiar."
And eventually, we find that there are reasons why he has isolated himself from the world, and that vulnerability is what ultimately opens him up to love.
Ah. There it is. Peel back the layers, and underneath than moodiness we find a man we can love.
So for me, at least, it isn't necessarily a brooding nature that makes this character hot, but the suggestion created by his moodiness that there is something more to him that makes me want to know him more.
That, and maybe I have a thing for denim shirts, open-top trucks and dark aviator sunglasses.