Another kind of hero
This month we’ve talked about the alphabet soup of yummy heroes: alphas, betas, and gammas. But I wanted to add one more to spice things up: the theta hero.
In the hero club, the alpha is the confident (okay, sometimes arrogant) leader, and the beta is the nice guy (not to say boring!) who brings cookies and sandwiches to the club house, and the gamma is the capable one who actually knew how to build a tree house. Meanwhile, the theta hero is… playing pirate in some other yard by himself.
Thetas are often dark heroes — the lone wolves and wounded, wandering souls. They never want to be leaders but they’ll stand in second place to no man. They make their own rules and go their own way. They are too self-aware to be arrogant (after all, they got those scars by losing) but too damaged to be easily won over by friendship or love. Like an abused stray, they take many times the work to lure closer, but once convinced to come in from the rain, their loyalty and commitment never wavers. Where the alpha glowers and the beta grins and the gamma gets to work, the theta watches and thinks. He’s a complicated hero for difficult times.
Oh, and he’s sexy. But I didn’t need to say that, did I? 🙂
In case you hadn’t guessed, thetas are one of my favorite heroes to write. Much like a gamma, they combine the best features of an alpha and a beta, but with their own delicious twist.
And for your brainstorming convenience, here’s a handy triptych of theta heroes, all handily played by the same actor.*
Now aren’t you inspired to try on a theta hero?
Indy had all the fun of being a globe-trotting adventurer/professor without the dreary administrative issues of an alpha. Deckard was as sensitive as a beta even while looking bad-ass in a trench coat. And Han… Well, we all know Han shot first! No do-gooding gamma here.
If there is one downside to a theta hero, it’s that his lone-wolf wandering can seemingly make domestic bliss an unlikely scenario. But heck, we need more conflict in our stories anyway. He just needs the right mate to give him a reason to come home… or to go wandering with him!
Who are your favorite theta heroes? Share in comments.
* And yes, I am super psyched for the next batch of Star Wars movies. J.J., fail me you shall not!