Alpha Males in Popular Fiction
I like my protagonists to be alpha males. In fact, I tend to like alpha males in real life, too, but that’s a different story. For now, I’ll concentrate on fiction, which is what I write. Real life tends to be too real, and what is better than a great escape?
Perhaps I’m a romantic, but when I call to mind my favorite movies and books, the male characters are undoubtedly alpha males. Think Bogart in Casablanca, Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind, Brando in The Godfather, and Robert Shaw in Jaws. And last, but not least, Ian Flemings James Bond. For the record, I think Sean Connery was the best Bond.
“No weeping wimps for me. I like my men to act like men.”
With books the alpha male can be a bit nuanced—it’s sometimes a good thing to show a little vulnerability or weakness. But please, no weeping wimps. I like my men to act like men. In popular fiction John Sandford’s Lucas Davenport nails it, as do Michael Connolly and John Lescroart’s characters. And, of course, Lee Child’s Jack Reacher is really something. Not to mention the late Vince Flynn’s heroic Mitch Rapp or the father of the alpha male, Ernest Hemingway.
I haven’t mentioned any female authors because I think men write alpha males better than women, although Sandra Brown and Karen Robards have both done an excellent job creating strong male characters. And Margaret Mitchell did a bang up job with Rhett Butler. There are others, of course, but I’m talking popular fiction here, and I tend to be a bit disappointed with the modern take on the alpha male. In romance, the protagonist is too often portrayed as a lascivious stud, and I cringe when the male POV is expressed in a boyish or naïve manner.
I read about half of the first book in the E.L. James’s trilogy, but for the record, I do not consider Christian Grey an alpha male. He seemed more like a bad porn character to me, but then, I prefer my erotica not be watered down. I like it the old-fashioned way.
Kidding aside, there are some wonderful alpha males in fiction, and I specifically want to salute the many unnamed and often unrecognized authors who created them. And, perhaps, here I can mention my own dark and dashing bad boy: Savvy mobster, Louie Morelli.
Louie and his sidekick, Victor, are definitely alpha males, and my female readers love them. My male readers like them, too, mostly because they act like men and follow a code of honor, even if it is highly questionable. But, hey, I write fiction, and I guess I’m not the only one who likes alpha males.
Please tell me who your favorite alpha males in fiction are.
Patricia Bellomo has authored four Louie Morelli novels, including Louie Morelli’s Mistress, Stella di Mare, Louie Morelli’s Daughter, and The Prince of Mafia Princes.