Yes the Alpha Male Blog Hop starts today! Over 200 authors will be blogging with prizes to win at every stop. I hope you have your blogging stamina in fettle because some of the prizes are fantastic. More on that below, though. First my thoughts on the alpha male.
In real life the alpha male is a pain. We all know them – they are the guys who cut you up at the traffic lights, the ones who talk over you during meetings, the ones who refuse to explain things because they are too busy to waste their valuable time. Yes, IRL alpha males are often yahoos. Even more dangerous are the aspirant alphas, young men so touchy about their status, about their honour, and so demanding of ‘respect’ that they are prepared to shoot you in the face to get it.
But in fiction, either written or visual, a well written alpha can be great fun. They are the guys who sweep willing heroines off their feet – probably, it’s 30 years since I read het romances – and who butt heads deliciously in gay fiction as each tries to prove that he’s just that little bit more than the other. Alphas drive plot, whether they are protagonists or the bad guys.
I’m going to list some of my favourite alphas in books and movies. See if you agree with them.
Maximus Decimus Meridius.
There’s nothing to say that an alpha always has to be in ascendancy. Maximus faces all kinds of challenges with gallantry and valour. Stripped of everything he values he still makes a new place for himself, gaains followers and is concerned for their welfare. the very best kind of alpha male.
Justin Alastair, Duke of Avon in These Old Shades by Georgette heyer, on the other hand, is never in any danger. His control of himself and of all around him is absolute. This makes him a rather cold and unpleasant character, but still dynamite on the page.
Alphas make fabulous antagonists. Where’s the fun if your hero is top dog. He has to have something to fight against and if that’s another, stronger man, all the better. Count Ademar in A Knights Tale lifted it from romantic comedy to something far more edgy. It wouldn’t have been nearly as good a story without him to represent the social pressures that the hero was bucking against. Also he looks fabulous, which never hurts.
Gabriel in the Lymond Chronicles is another favourite alpha antagonist. Gabriel is clever, talented, obviously the man on top and seems so good, so plausible, that Lymond’s distrust of him seems petty and jealous. People tend not to notice that Lymond is an alpha until it’s too late, and that suits him fine. Over the course of the novels, Lymond encounters and deals with world shakers like Ivan the Terrible, Suleiman the Magnificent and Henri de Valois and not only comes out on top but makes them think it was their idea. That’s real alphadom!
History abounds with alpha heroes and villains, although part of being an alpha male is that he would be unable to imagine that he could be the villain. Alexander the Great, Horatio Nelson, Arthur Wellesley, Attila the Hun, Timujin, Julius Caesar – the list is endless.
Finally one of my very favourites:
Titus Pullo – depicted here by Ray Stevenson in the HBO series Rome – was a real person, descibed by Julius Caesar in his account of the Gallic Wars. I don’t think i can do better than copy the section from Wikipedia:
Titus Pullo was one of the two Roman centurions of the 13th Legion (Legio XIII Claudia) mentioned in the writings of Julius Caesar. The other soldier mentioned was Lucius Vorenus; they appear in Caesar’s Commentarii de Bello Gallico, Book 5, Chapter 44.
Pullo and Vorenus were fierce rivals for promotion to primus pilus, the most senior centurion in a legion. Both distinguished themselves in 54 BC when the Nervii attacked the legion under Quintus Cicero in their winter quarters in Nervian territory. In an effort to outdo Vorenus, Pullo charged out of the fortified camp and attacked the enemy, but was soon wounded and surrounded. Vorenus followed and engaged his attackers in hand-to-hand combat, killing one and driving the rest back, but lost his footing and was himself soon surrounded. Pullo in turn rescued Vorenus, and after killing several of the enemy, the pair returned to camp amid applause from their comrades.
HBO turned Pullo into a bit of a buffoon but he was still an alpha. In a fight I would so want him on my side!
So what do you think? Comment below with your favourite alphas from fiction or history, good or bad, and add your email address for a chance to win a $10 gift card and a copy of my novella “Alike As Two Bees”. There is an alpha male in it – a very relaxed one with nothing to prove – but it’s neither of the protagonists.
And that’s not all….
The blog hop is offering THREE grand prizes. You as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!
Or you can click on the picture of the IMMENSE swag pack below.
Now what are those prizes?
1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $130 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: The following Swag Pack! [US only because it weighs too much too ship abroad]