Monday, November 24, 2008

Lions--Archetypes for Romantic Heroes?

By KJ Howe

Magnetic eyes, a powerful roar, and the ability to leave females weak in the knees...lions have a lot in common with romantic heroes. I became fascinated with lions during my recent trips to Kenya and South Africa. Our guide spent hours scouring the grasslands searching for evidence that the lions had been nearby. And we found two males resting after gorging on a wildebeest. It wasn’t until later that I discovered these similarities between male lions and heroes:

Both skyrocket women’s heart rates to well over 200—in this case, the lion wins hands down. I was twenty feet away from them in an open truck and I thought my heart was going to jump out of my chest!

Both have mesmerizing eyes that you can get lost in. Those golden eyes remind me of Spanish conquistadors.

Both have great manes...I mean, isn’t hair one of the things that drive women wild?

Both have healthy sex drives when they are interested in reproduction—lions may copulate between twenty and forty times a day during a mating bout.

Both have powerful legs, a strong jaw, and a short attention span. Trust me, you never want to see them yawn!

Both have a healthy dose of testosterone when it comes to protecting their territory/women.

Both have healthy appetites and they generally like to prowl at night.

Both romantic heroes and lions don’t mind letting women do the heavy lifting when it comes to meal preparation. After all, lionesses do the majority of the hunting for their pride and lions just enjoy the results.

Both have bodies that won’t stop. Large male lions can weigh over 550lbs and none of their bulk is fat.

Both are vulnerable species...lions have had an irreversible population decline of 30-50% over the past two decades. How can we stop romantic heroes from becoming extinct???

The bottom line is romantic heroes and lions share many traits. Picture yourself as a heroine in a romantic novel. What are some of the animalistic qualities men possess that would appeal to you?


Natalie Hatch said...


Donna MacMeans said...

moi? Just stopped by the post the winners to the calendar blog - Keira, you're the winner!

Now as to lions, yes, I can see those magnificent beasts as heros - powerful, confident, a threat to anyone that would threaten his mate. They aren't very exclusive, though, to one lioness. That's a deal breaker for me *g*

I do love the hair and eyes connection, though.

Donna MacMeans said...

Oh Natalie - you beat me. I'm the cluck I'm afraid *g*.

Natalie Hatch said...

wow Donna you must have been right there.
But i really do need a baby sitter for these twins, they're full of energy and I have this scene to write. Promise you can have the GR

Donna MacMeans said...

No - he'd freeze here, Natalie. Keep him for the kids. That darn bird needs to learn some responsibility *g*.

Helen said...

Well done Natalie hope he helps with the twins so as you can write

Love the post KJ and totally agree with you the eyes they do it for me and I love hair tied back in a que oooh yeah

I love that heros are protective and strong but are willing to let the heroine take over in some things.

Have Fun

Keira Soleore said...

First of all.... Hardee Hardee Har Har... Way to go, KJ, connecting male lions with alpha heroes.

(20 to 40 times in 24 hours? The mind boggles!)

More similarities...
Knowlegde of self-worth

I'm with Helen... Long hair totally does it for me.

Donna, thanks much once again. My first win in The Lair!! I'm so thrilled!

Natalie, nice grab from Donna.

Keira Soleore said...

Though, I have to ask... Is the lioness submissive around the lion? I.e., does he leave her weak in the knees? Given that the lioness protects her cubs and hunts for the food, sounds like there's more equality there.

Anna Campbell said...

Gosh, he's staying put in Oz at the moment, isn't he? He mustn't like the cold weather! Congratulations, Nat!

Keira, haven't you ever won a prize here before? That's just WRONG!!! I hope you enjoy this one - the Cadbury is fantastic!

KJ, what a fantastic post. Witty and thought-provoking at the same time. I can definitely see the similarity between lions and romantic heroes. Especially the grace and beauty part. Actually I know it's corny but I love it when a hero prowls across the room like a panther. Be still my beating heart!

Tiffany Chalmers said...

Love the post. It's so true.

I like men who are totally possessive... and prowl around all... manly... on top of the qualities you listed.

Terry Odell said...

Gee, that lion doesn't really sound like the ones I studied in bio class.

The male does very little; lies around sleeping most of the time. He mates with all the females in the pride. When an up and coming male lion usurps the old leader, the first thing he does is kill all the cubs and then mate with the females to eliminate the old guy's genes and replace them with his (he's totally unaware of this, but these guys run more on instinct).

They do have great hair and eyes, though.

Carol said...

Well...alpha sound great in theory!
but do they have to be so damn arrogant!
I like them to have a flaw in that arrogance!to make them the rest of us!
And I don't think having it off with lots of ladies is sensible any more ...who knows what they will catch...and pass around!(the list is longer now!)
I just listened to a radio program about the connection between balding men and testosterone levels in men... less hair can mean more in other departments!
No doubt thou...the king of beasts is a glorious creature!
Cheers carol

Kim Howe said...

Natalie, congrats on the GR! Donna, that was a close one. :)

Great comments! There's something primal about the male lion that is very appealing...that's probably why we forget about all those bad qualities once we look in those eyes! Terry, right you are about the dark side of these felines, but doesn't that make them more intriguing?

Anonymous said...

Carol, I agree with the testosterone-balding connection (says she of the husband with very little hair!! LOL!).

Kim, I can definitely see the lion-romance hero connection. I've only seen them at the zoo, of course, but they give me the weak in the knees willies. Love the mane and all that "look at me" masculinity!

And Anna, I'm with you. Nothing like a hero on the prowl. Yum...

Keira, congratulations on your FIRST EVER Bandita win! I guess you just know us too well!

Suzanne Welsh said...

Morning everyone! Just stopping by on my way to bed. Congrats on nabbing the GR, Natalie!

KJ what a great post and you've pointed out many similarities, especially the steely-eyed gaze and powerful bodies!

I think I may go have some very masculine-testosterone-being involved dreams!! Yummo!

Kate Carlisle said...

Ooh, I love those scenes of the male prowling the room, watchful and arrogant, ala Mr. Darcy in that dancing scene in P&P. Very, um, stirring. :-)

Great post, KJ! I love all the alpha similarities you listed, and we'll just pretend those other similarities that Terry mentioned don't exist. Hey, it's fiction, right? LOL

Natalie! Good job on the nipping the GR for the day!

Joan said... the post KJ!

Many alpha heroes get compared to predators and the lion IS the King of the Beasts.

I think their ability to stalk their, I mean their prey is appealing. Especially if the prey er, I mean heroine... is equal to them in self confidence, determination and can look him eye to eye.

Whoa....gotta go write now...

BTW, congrats Natalie.

Minna said...

Congrats Natalie!

Miljoonasade: Marraskuu (November):

Minna said...

Ok, I just couldn't resist:
The Tokens - The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Minna said...

Philippe Candeloro- George of the Jungle:

jo robertson said...

Great analogy, KJ! I'd love to see a lion in the wild. Lucky you!

Congratulations, Natalie, you broke Helen's two-day run with the rooster, but managed to keep him down under where the weather is much warmer than what we're having here in the northeast. Brrrrr!

I agree with the similarities between the lion and the alpha male. For me, it's that sense of stalking and uber power! Chills!

Terry Odell said...

If you want to Disneyfy your lions, go ahead. It IS fiction. But most of the qualities you're listing here belong to the FEMALES. They're the ones who do the stalking and hunting. Males might defend the pride from intruders, but he's not protecting the females as much as protecting his rights to breed with them.

Sorry to be such a biologist. :-)

Joan said...

I still think there are great comparisons between male lions and alpha heroes.

The male lion is still a powerful beast that I for one would not want to tangle with. Yes, females do a lot when it comes to tending the needs of the pride etc. but then so do females of the human speices.

As to Disney-fying it if you've ever been the The Animal Kingdom, you'll see that Disney is doing a LOT for conservation and study of many different types of animals.

Natalie Hatch said...

okay the science teacher is coming out in me, but did you know that if the lion can't keep going for whatever reason his brother takes over. As in if he's already done it 20 times to the lioness his brother will step in and keep going kind of like a tag team thing. That poor lioness won't be able to walk for a few days later.
just a tidbit of information - thought you'd like to know.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Having seen them in the wild too, in Kenya, I can totally get behind the Alpha Male/Lion comparison. I don't think its so much Disneyfying as it is recognizing the power, strength and sheer physicality of both examples.

Oh, can I just say that KJ's right, see them yawn and you just have to shudder.

Those eyes, though, are like big gold coins. Beautiful and glinting with knowledge that you are prey and they are a predator. :>

terrio said...

I'm so busy and I've missed several days over here. Or was it just two? LOL! It feels like more!

All I can says is great blog and my answer would be WRITE MORE BOOKS! But then, I have hundreds on my shelves yet TBR, so maybe the crisis doesn't seem all that frightening to me. :)

Joan said...

Um....trying to see if Natalie's tidbit of information can be worked into a romance fiction book...


Kim Howe said...

Natalie, thanks hilarious. I guess that's what brothers are for??? To pick up the slack???

There is something very magnetic about lions in the wild. If you ever have the chance to see them in a safari, please go for it. They are incredibly majestic and elusive...just like our heroes. :)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

They are SO cool!

Anna Campbell said...

Natalie, ouchies!

Caren Crane said...

Natalie, you naughty thing! Enjoy the GR and please note how many traits he shares with the lion. *g*

Kim, I hadn't thought about it quite in those terms, but now that you mention it, heroes and lions do seem to have a lot in common! Personally, I enjoy the confident stride (which my husband definitely has). I also like a little bit of arrogance - more in lions than in heroes - but it gives a heroine a perfect opportunity to take the hero down a peg or three. *eg*

Caren Crane said...

Carol, I worked with a balding guy who said, "You know, the thing about balding is, the women know you have all that extra testosterone and the expectations can be exhausting." Ha!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Snork! About the expectations, Caren. That's too funny!

(The Duchesse is also married to a balding man....a trend? A coincidence? Hmmmm.... A Bandita Conspiracy?)

Keira Soleore said...

Fo asked, "Keira, haven't you ever won a prize here before? That's just WRONG!!!"

Donna's was my first win in The Lair, and I'm just thrilled to bits. I have won your CtC and Christine's Duke over on the Risky Regencies blog.

Vrai, here're my daughter's group nouns....
A Hop Skip of Bunnies
A Tale of Princesses
A Giggle of Barbies

Terry Odell said...

Hey, I live next door to the vet for Disney's Animal Kingdom and I used to work for the zoo in Miami. I commend what these institutions are doing for conservation. I just don't happen to see the same correlation between male lions and the sort of heroes I'd like to read about.
My 'Disney-fying' comment referred to the anthropomorphism of the critters, and that, as well, is something we tend to do automatically. People don't always grasp that animals are hard-wired for survival. Look at the people who think polar bears are cute. Hubby helped with some polar bear research. Nobody was allowed to be outside without a gun or a person with a gun.

And, Natalie-- that tag-team mating covers the whole pride, not just a single female. :-)

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