When the Guy Saves the Girl?

by - September 18, 2017

Hello, my friends!

I've been doing a ton of reading lately (whoa! Really?) A couple of the books I've found are Christian fiction books that take place in a fantasy world and feature an oh-so-wonderful male lead.

(I deeply recommend all of these, BTW.)

And this got me thinking about the lack of strong heroes in YA fiction and how much I miss it.

Don't get me wrong- I'm all for female empowerment. I even did a post on male vs. female leads a little while back when I saw Wonder Woman, which is rather incoherent but basically says this: Your lead needs to be the person that drives your story the best. It needs to be the right lead FOR YOUR STORY. If the story would be different and not as good with a female lead, then stick with a guy MC. If it's a story for young women, go with a female lead. I don't see the gaps in YA that a lot of people talk about, especially not in recent releases.

But then, in the above listed books, the strong male is not (usually) the main character. Resistance has a dual narrator, although I'd argue that Kyrin (the girl) is more the main character. In The Girl Who Could See, the titular girl, Fern, is the protagonist. And Dragonwitch has about four main characters--Alistair, Mouse, the Chronicler, and Leta-- some girls, some boys. Only Dare has a truly male MC.

But the common thread in all of these is that the girl is strong. The girl can do a lot. The girl can go a long ways on her own. There aren't really any damsels in distress in any of these (unless you're counting Renna from dare, who I'd argue isn't a damsel in distress at all,  but I may have to do another post on that sometime....).

But sometimes, the girl reaches the end of her rope. Actually, that happens fairly often, because it's true. No one can do everything by themselves, especially not young women who aren't particularly adept with a small weapon. When that happens, in the above book, the (dreamy- *sigh*) hero comes crashing in, swords blazing and battle cry raging, and dispels the enemies. And the girl breathes a sigh of relief and contemplates how to thank him.

There's several reasons I think this approach is good, especially for the Christian spec-fic genre (for anyone who doesn't know, sci-fi, fantasy, dystopian, and other such genres from a Christian perspective.) Here they are.

The girl can still be strong... but she can't always save herself.

Because let's face it, even Katniss Everdeen, often viewed as the epitome of the "strong female lead," can't always save herself. No spoilers here, but think about the times in the first book when someone rescues her. 
And of course, by "someone" I mean Peeta...

She isn't always forced to save herself completely on her own. I appreciate that. Kyrin and Renna can't rescue themselves all the time either; they need their books' heroes to come and save them when they get to the end of themselves.

Be honest for me now...it's totally swoon-worthy, AND we'd all love to have a hero come rescue us...

I know most of my readership is girls, but guys, I'm looking at you too in a different way. (Hint, hint: this means you're supposed to BE the hero.... ;) ) 

Much as we might like to read about a girl kicking butt and stabbing people and taking over the world (trust me, I'm no exception), there's just something that happens to me when the hero comes crashing in to save the girl and she maybe saves his back at the last second (love it when that happens too) and then they awkwardly stare at each other as I'm screaming, "Hug each other, you idiots!!!" 

Yeah. 

It makes me want to find a hero to rescue me from the Hunger Games/a band of evil ryriks/Harrison Vane/etc. 

(Points if you get either of those second references!! ;P)

It's a picture of what God does for us.

Even if we're the strongest Christian alive, as the bride of Christ, there's going to be plenty that we go through that we can't endure on our own. When a girl is saved by her hero, it makes her fall even deeper in love with him. Much like Una of Heartless and her prince Aethalbald. 
(Yes, I'm in love with Goldstone Wood. Get over it. XD)

The Prince saves Una from slavery and death under the Dragon, and she has no choice but to love him all the more for it. And, I'll be honest with you, there's nothing more romantic than your Hero proving that he's willing to sacrifice himself for you. (I've never experienced this in real life, but I know.

Because that's what Jesus did for you and me. 

He loves you, and he died to rescue you. And now he fights for you. 

Rest in that. 

And have a great rest of your week. :)

So, chat with me! Do you like stories with heroes who save the girls, or do you find it annoying or triggering or whatever? I'd love to hear your opinion on this--issue? Have you read Goldstone Wood or Blades of Acktar? 

~Faith

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59 comments

  1. AWESOME!! See, I like the idea of the guy being stronger because its kind of how we were made to be. Girls can be strong, but guys are stronger. We need more manly characters in books.

    <3
    ~Ivie
    iviewrites.blogspot.com

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  2. Also, did you see the link up Julian is doing? You should check it out. <3

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    1. I did in fact see it, I'm trying to figure out if I have time to do it. :P

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  3. And The Girl Who Could See is AMAZING!!

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    1. I know! I got a paper copy and it's so beautiful on my bookshelf :)

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  4. I totally, 100% agree with you on ALL of this!

    And DUDE, I need to read the Tales of Goldstone Wood. Like, right now, please :p And also the Girl Who Could See!! I have heard so. Many. Good. Things.

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    1. I'm glad to hear it!

      YES YOU DO. YESTERDAY. They're all SO GOOD.

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  5. Amen!! In Ephesians, it is said that the wives only are required to love their husbands. Their husbands are required to be ready to sacrifice their lives in defense of their wives. This is in accordance to Our Lord's example.

    I believe that women have this unique talent for stepping into the breach whenever they are needed. We've certainly proved that millions of times.
    But at the same time, I believe that the feminist movement really did a lot to lower the manliness of men, and it is up to us Christian women to correct the wrong.

    Don't get me wrong, I love strong female characters too.I'm obsessed with Eowyn from LOTR. She's the poster child for Christian "strong feminine heroines".
    But Tolkien didn't allow her to kill the wraith BY HERSELF. Merry actually helped her kill the wraith in the book.
    Strong heroines, I think, are humble heroines. They know their limits, and they ask for help. And they certainly don't push away a hero.

    Great post, Faith!

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. I thought of that too. The husband lays down his life for the wife; the wife loves him, meaning that she too lays down her life for him, but in a different way, I think.

      I know. If we destroy the masculinity of men, the femininity of women goes along with it. It's very sad.

      Eowyn is epic, I 100% agree. And without Merry there, she couldn't have killed the wraith--it's teamwork of the best variety.

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  6. I agree! We need more strong male characters, and there is nothing wrong with a girl needed help. I really hate that people are trying to wipe that out of most stories.

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  7. I agree, we seem to be short on heroes these days, and short on girls who need heroes!

    If I might add another thought: I think it's important that both heroines AND heroes need help from each other from time to time. Because we're all human--we're fallible, we have weaknesses. And so YES, I absolutely want to see the guys swoop in to save the girls (seriously, that IS swoon-worthy), but I also want to see a mutual relationship where each one's strengths complement the other's. ^_^

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    1. Your first statement is perfection. I'm really trying not to plagiarize that. O_O

      I certainly agree! That's the healthiest kind of relationship, I think.

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  8. YES. We need more heroes! I actually have been planning on doing a post about the need for more male protagonists in YA, sometime.

    I agree 1000% with this. Girls can be tough and totally savage in books and in real life, but guys can be too, and we've taken away a lot of their spotlight. Where is the chivalry?

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    1. OOH DO IT. I will be waiting for that one.

      I know. Chivalry is a concept that I miss. :(

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    2. Now I'm thinking of Mr. Darcy... how fitting. :)

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  9. I absolutely love it when male characters save the heroine of the novel. Yes it's cliche, but yes, I still love it.

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    1. I KNOW! It just makes me sigh and press my hand to my heart.

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    2. OMG OMG I DO THAT TOO! And then I always flail somewhere in there.

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  10. I like both. But the hero saving the heroine is very swoon worthy.

    I agree with your statement where the MC should be whatever works best with the story. So many people forget this because they want to make a statement for one side or another. Their story often is lacking because of this.

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    1. It really does make me crazy that that happens. You should tell a story for the purpose of telling a story. If your protagonist should be one gender in order to tell that story the best, then so be it.

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  11. I agree 100%!!! TV shows drive me insane with the female character is constantly saving herself and the male characters. Yes, we get it - you're a tough character. But you're not PERFECT.

    Even my favorite shows and books have this happen (Chuck and Psych), but I still cringe every time the male is about to save her but JUST KIDDING she doesn't need you. :/

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  12. My personal preference is when both the female and male are saving each other, when it's a team and they both need one another. I wish more books showed characters needing help (in a healthy, not whiny way). :)

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  13. AHHHHHH RESISTANCE!!!!

    I had a serious fangirl moment when I saw that cover....that is one of my favorite series!

    Personally, I love the "handsome hero saves the day, with a lovely lady at his side to encourage him" thing. I love girls who are powerful in ways other than slicing and dicing (though I don't mind them doing their share of it every now and then). And I like it when she saves the hero, and he saves her, and it's just a general sense of "we both do what we can do best, be it fight or help in other ways."

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    1. It's so good! I don't know that I would necessarily call it one of my favorites, but I've recently started reading it and it's so good!

      I love it too! We have very similar taste in stories ;)

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    2. To be honest, I've only read the first two. So something may happen that may turn me away, but so far I've enjoyed what I read. It's very similar to my own style of writing, actually, which is one reason it's enjoyable to read. I feel like I'm reading my own story. No magic. Lots of characters. And Jace is just like one of my favorite "own" characters of all time. :)

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  14. ohhhhhh gosh! I like stories with heroes who save the girls but to a point. I don't like wimpy girls just like I don't like wimpy guys (both in characters of books and in real lifeXD)
    Have you read Goldstone Wood or Blades of Acktar? I have not, we dont have time. I know lame excuse but I seriously don't have anytime! I have just enough time to read the Bible before I go to bed. I hope that things will lighten up so I can continue my bookworm life but as of now my inner bookworm is dying

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    1. Oh my word. I love Goldstone Wood and Blades of Acktar, and as soon as you get time you must read them! I totally get it. Praying that the craziness dies down a bit soon!

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  15. Totally agree with this!! And yes, TBoA is awesome. ;D

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  16. I think this is so true but honestly I would love to see more brother saves sister, dad saves daughter, sister saves sister, mother saves daughter relationships.
    BUT WELL DONE, you put this together so well and I was nodding all throughout

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    1. I would love to see that too. Especially sister-sister and sister-brother stuff. I love siblings in fiction when they're done well.

      Thanks :)

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  17. This was a good post! I enjoy when boy saves girl, but I ditto with Anna (above). XD Heartless was AWESOME!!! I just finished The Veiled Rose and can't wait to read the third one!!! XD

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    1. The third one is the best book, I think, ever. It's my absolute favorite book right now. Let me know what you think!!

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  18. It can be tricky, sometimes. I don't want to read about a girl who thinks she can just sit and twiddle her thumbs while the guy does all the work. But one the other hand, I don't want to read about a girl so tough that she doesn't need - or want- help from anyone else. I would much rather read a book with healthy vulnerability and community. It makes the characters both bold and human.

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    1. Indeed. And that's definitely not what I want, or am suggesting! I just think it would be good if within our fiction the guys stepped up and took the lead sometimes.

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  19. First of all, I looooove Resistance and Dragonwitch. SUCH GOOD BOOKS. I haven't read Dare or The Girl Who Could See yet but I really, really want to.

    With that out of the way... AAAAHHHHH!!! THIS POOOST. JUST YES. SO MUCH YES. This very subject is something SO close to my heart. In fact, I wrote a guest post for someone (that'll be going up at the end of this month) with some tips on how to write ACTUALLY "strong female characters" and I mentioned this very thing--how it's okay for females to ask for help. And what's crazy is I used Katniss as an example! BRAINTWINS.

    I'm getting really, REALLY tired of it being shameful for a girl to be saved by a guy. Sure, it's great having girls who can take care of themselves. But come on! If you're a human being, male OR female, you need help sometimes. That's called being human. Asking for help actually SHOWS strength, not weakness.

    Why can't guys save girls? And girls save guys? And they just work together? Because, ya know, that's called being a HUMAN BEING. We all need help, no matter how strong we are. I'm sorry, but I don't think *anyone* can save the entire world singlehandedly, no matter how "strong" they are. XD

    But, on a more serious note, it IS a picture of God. Heartless portrayed it so beautifully with Una and Aethelbald. We need more stories like the Goldstone Wood books that aren't afraid to show REAL people and provide us with such beautiful, poignant messages.

    But anyways, I'm babbling. I have very strong feelings on this subject, if you can't tell. XD

    Just...thank you for posting this!

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    1. Ahhh I'm so late responding to comments... but whatever. Better late than never!

      You need to read Dare and the Girl who Could See-- as soon as possible.

      YOUR POST WAS SO GOOD! I read it as soon as it came out (because you teased it here first lol) and it was outstanding. You said a lot of what I'd been trying to say, but more coherently XD

      I know. It really upsets me. The idea, I think, is to show that guys and girls are equal. Which we are. But the way they do it, weirdly enough, is by turning girls INTO FEMALE GUYS! Emotions are bad, toughness is the thing, never ask for help, get adorned by scars.... these seem more like guy things to me.

      I'm in love with Goldstone Wood. Its characters are so human, and I know a lot of people don't like that--but it's real and true and beautiful.

      YOu are so welcome!

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  20. YES TO ALL OF THE ABOVE. We NEED more strong male characters, and yes, the girl can't always save herself. Just as much as anyone, she needs help. And I love how it's a picture of what God did for us. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

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  21. Just point me toward the hero stuff, and I'd be happy to oblige, hahaha. I like your thoughts here. I don't really consider this subject too closely. People help people (well, they don't even have to be humans), and that's generally how it ought to work. Men are saved by men frequently, and women often save men, if only in less action-oriented ways (while also sometimes saving men in action-oriented ways). I think it's probably pretty rare for a male character to save or greatly aid a female character in some dire situation that doesn't involve action (thinking from the top of my head).

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    1. I definitely agree. If a woman is going to save a man, it would be neat if it was a little bit less mainstream--like what if it was at home in a non-action-oriented setting? Thank you for your thoughts!

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  22. Aw, I love where you took this post! Reading about the kickbutt female protagonists is awesome, but, when done properly, there is something beautiful about the hero saving her (or like you mentioned) them saving each other. There is something really special about that <3

    And the Christ comparison! That was beautiful <3


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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  23. I really like where you went with this ;) If we girls are honest... sometimes we are just sick and tired of being strong and we need a guy to save us and be our hero.... a guy worthy to follow (the kind of guy you can marry and respect for the rest of your life). And I just finished reading The Girl Who Could See today!!! Awesome book ;)

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    Thanks again.

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