Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Monday, May 9, 2011

Is Richard Castle an Alpha Male?

I went to see Thor over the weekend. Loved it. Don't worry that I am about to spoil it for you. I don't do that. But I don't think it's a spoiler to say that Thor, as a character, is firmly in the column labeled Alpha Male.

Writing the Alpha Male is something I struggle with. What is too much? Or is anything too much? I like a little softness, a little quiche eating. Stephanie does not. Alpha all the way and certainly no quiche eating. I think she really likes for her male characters to eat only raw meat. It might even need to be alive. And have poisonous fangs.

Though some of our characters are hers; some are mine, and a few are a combination, it is essential that we both love them. Consequently, we both make a few concessions. I'm always seeking to further educate myself on the great Making of the Alpha Male. After all, it takes more than being willing to eat live rattlesnakes.

I was only about ten minutes into Thor, when I knew this was a character after Stephanie's own heart. I began to reflect on other TV and movie characters.

Sometimes the answer is easy.

Definite Alpha Males:

  • Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Eric Northman (True Blood and Southern Vampire Mysteries)
  • Conan (as in The Barbarian)
  • Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly)
  • Anyone played by Tom Selleck
  • Damon Salvatore (Vampire Diaries)
  • Joey (Friends)
  • Han Solo (Star Wars)
  • Don Corelone, Vito or Michael, take your pick (The Godfather)
  • Jethro Gibbs (NCIS)
  • Julia Sugarbaker (Designing Women)
(Some of you won't agree with that last one. Okay, I don't either. Not really. But a case could be made and I thought it was kind of funny.)

Definitely Not Alpha Males:

  • Xander (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  • Barney Fife (The Andy Griffith Show)
  • Wash (Firefly)
  • Every male except Joey on Friends
  • Every male on The Big Bang Theory
  • Frodo Baggins (Lord of the Rings)
  • Ron Weasley (Harry Potter)

But there are others I'm not so sure about. What about:

  • Luke Skywalker (Star Wars)
  • Seeley Booth (Bones)
  • Richard Castle (Castle)
  • Bill Compton (True Blood and Southern Vampire Mysteries)
  • Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)
  • Angel (Buffy and Angel)
  • Edward (Twilight)
  • Jacob (Twilight)

So how about it? Are they? Or not? Who's you're favorite Alpha Male?


  1. Oh, no doubt. Seely Booth and Angel are both Alphas.

    I love Alphas. There's nothing to brag about in bringing Alan Alda to heel, or at least to the bargaining table.

    To me, what makes an Alpha is a willingness to make decisions, to be in charge, to shoulder the responsibility. When I worked in an office setting, I was amazed at the number of people, men and women, who refused to make any decisions. They just weren't going to take the responsibility of maybe being wrong, so they'd rather let things not get done. An Alpha will step up to the plate, and swing away.

  2. I love your definition, Linda. You just made me sigh at the thought of that type of male.

    Yep, I'm an alpha male lover. Though not the jerky kind. I just need a take charge kind of man, who yes, isn't afraid to make decisions.

  3. I love alpha males too. Maven Linda is right. We like men who take charge.

    I keep thinking of Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) or John Wayne. Their characters always made the tough decisions, they took charge and be damned if any one stood in their way. Maybe that is why I love Michael Corleone so much - he made the decisions, good bad or indifferent - but he made them.

  4. ML--You do write an excellent Alpha!

    What I hate more than someone who won't take responsibility, is someone who fools around so someone else will do it and then takes credit if it goes well and yells, "It wasn't me!" if it doesn't. No Alpha Male would do that.

    Kim--The jerky kind--that's where it gets muddy for me. I know an AM doesn't have to be a jerk, but if I write him too nice, all of a sudden, he's not Alpha.

  5. Cheryl. Right. Do it and move on. If someones doesn't like it or you were wrong say, "Yeah, I did it." What else is there?

  6. Seely and Angel are Alphas. I LOVE them!! And I can't wait to see Thor. What an amazing lead man.... sigh.

  7. I love that description of an alpha male, ML! That is so on target. He doesn't have to be a bully, or uncaring of others feelings, but take charge is a good description.

    I was recently reading Blown Away by Sharon Sala and the hero makes decisions when he needs to, but stands by the heroine when the decisions are hers to make. I know this wouldn't be alpha by Harlequin standards, but I didn't feel it diminished his alpha-ness for me. :)

  8. Oh, I do love me an Alpha male.

    Maven Linda's description is great! I think that a key point, made the decision and live with the consequences, good or bad.

    I agree that Seely and Castle are both Alpha. There isn't any doubt when they are in the room that they are the decision makers!

  9. Christine--You will love "Thor"--that is if you, like me, love to see people who richly deserve it get their bottoms thoroughly kicked all over several universes.

    Angel--There are different standards of Alpha, for sure. I guess I like the ones who eat rattlesnake quiche.

    Stephanie--Last night at the table we were talking about Alpha males. None of the men got it at all. The Guy actually said the words, "I am not an Alpha Male." Godson's Mom put her head on the table and laughed until I thought she was going to pass out. And we must agree, if anyone knows one, she does.

  10. I'm glad you mentioned Richard Castle! I'd been pondering that question for the last season, as he's continued to frustrate me. Initially I would have pointed to the wit and physique and confidently proclaimed him Alpha, but now I've decided that he's more of a Beta in an Alpha's designer clothing. >.> Having seen the actor play Malcom Reynolds---a TRUE Alpha--I find the contrast to be entirely too stark. And as of late my husband (a solid Beta with the heart of an Alpha only under pressure) has started mentioning he thinks Castle needs to 'man up.' >.>

    I'm also glad you mentioned Julia Sugarbaker! I generally consider myself to be pretty Alpha, and it takes one to know one. Coming back to Firefly and it's terrific character compositions, I strongly identify with Zoe...right down to having married my own uncanny version of Wash! I suppose personally I like the idea of an Alpha male...they're nice to look at and confidence is attractive. But I wonder if females with Alpha qualities tend to be better rounded out by Beta males. After all, Alphas do tend to amplify aggressiveness in each other (male and female).

    ~Angela Blount

  11. Interesting, Angela. I'm pretty Aplha. My husband is quieter than I am, but definitely Alpha. A Beta could not handle me and--don't tell him--but if he did everything I said, I probably wouldn't want him anymore.

    It's kind of like cake and frosting. There not just one cake that works with one frosting.

  12. Julia Sugarbaker is indeed an Alpha. I want to be like her when I grow up. I've had to learn to be more Alpha as of late. I think some of the qualities were there, but they were lying dormant and needed a good kick to bring them out.

    I love the comment about Castle -- Beta in an Alpha's designer clothing. As for "manning up," he can't get too Alpha on Beckett or she'll run. And please do not let them kiss for real until they are ready to cancel the series because we all know the Cheers/Remington Steele/Moonlighting kiss-too-early curse.

    I love Maven Linda's heroes. I still remember the strip wrestling scene in Dying to Please. Actually the heroine in that one was pretty Alpha herself.


  13. PM--I love Julia too. I go off like she does, but only in my head. Sometimes it wants to come out of my mouth but I remember she was on TV. I think Castle is doing what he needs to to get what he wants in the end--even if he doesn't know what that is.

    Totally agree about the kissing. Kiss of death--for the show that is. And I would hate to see that happen.

  14. Oh! Thor was magnificent.

    "This mortal form is growing weak. It needs sustenance." ;)

    Really great alpha male: Dean Winchester from Supernatural. Ka-ching!

    Damon Salvatore! Gotta love a man who reacts and then accepts responsibility, with smoldering blue eyes and enough charm to kill a rattle snake. ;)

    Cool post, Jean!

  15. Oh Kathy! I love Dean! He's funny, sarcastic, smart and sexy, let alone being an alpha! Sigh...

  16. Kathy--I don't watch supernatural but I'll take your word for it.

    I knew you would like Thor. "I need a horse!"

  17. Jean, I'll take Castle anyway I can get him, ;-)
    Or Tom Selleck all the way back to his days on The Young and the Restless. Great post!