On today's edition of Writers on Rogues -- the fabulous Kate Noble joins the celebration. Now, I think Kate is the Bee's Knees. She's clever and funny and I adore her wonderful Regencies...only more so now because my next book sports a ginger hero, and we authors of ginger heroes must stick together (Kate's ginger is the swoon worthy Jason Cummings in Follow My Lead)! But I digress (And can you blame me? Redheads are my favorite.)...I knew Kate would have a fabulous pro-rogue stance...and sure enough, she does.
rogue [rohg] noun, verb, rogued, ro·guing, adjective
noun 1. a dishonest, knavish person; scoundrel. 2. a playfully mischievous person; scamp: The youngest boys are little rogues. 3. a tramp or vagabond. 4. an outcast, especially in animal groups: rogue elephant or other animal of similar disposition. 5. Biology. a usually inferior organism, especially a plant, varying markedly from the normal.
Out of all the definitions of a rogue, I like the first the best. Nothing against rogue elephants, but there is little better than taking a wholly dishonest, knavish scoundrel and then – in true romance novel form – redeeming him. While a scamp already has rather fun, impish connotations, and a vagabond is probably just in need of a shower, the true rogue is the one who lives a life of utter uncaring dissipation, and then, is tempted by something (or better yet, someone) who does make him care.
In Regency times, there was no better person who fit the definition of a rogue than Lord Byron. He was intelligent, led life the way he wanted, getting exiled and catching gonorrhea in turns (when he lived in Venice during Carnival in 1819, he famously said that he caught the one bout of gonorrhea he hadn’t paid for), and every so often becoming completely obsessed with one of his paramours. He holds constant fascination for many of us still today, because of the way he lived – unapologetically – and because of the dedication to his writing that was the one thing he seemed to take seriously. (A true rogue always needs a goal – else he’d simply be a wastrel.) But what is the modern-day equivalent of the Byron Rogue?
The Jersey Shore guys? They have the dissipation and drinking and DTFing right, but lack the charm and the purpose – hence, wastrel-dom.
Matthew McConaughey? Nah, just a scamp in need of a shower.
On Gossip Girl, the introduction of Chuck Bass is not a promising one. In the pilot episode, he acts only as a troublemaker – and in fact, takes some shocking liberties with poor high school freshman Jenny Humphries. But as the show goes on, the character of Chuck Bass deepened, and expanded. He’d had everything given to him his entire life… except for his father’s love and attention. He has the run of the city – both the highest echelons and the underground – but the dissipation that normally fills his 17-year-old days doesn’t excite him anymore. He’s searching for something he can’t define.
But there is one person who does make him care… one person that he sees the point in being good for: Blair Waldorf. They may drive each other crazy, but they always find their way back to each other. When Chuck’s father dies – it’s Blair’s house he goes to when he’s finally reached the bottom of his grief. When he inherits his father’s real estate empire, he finds that meaning, that goal that he needs, and will work his ass off to make himself a success in the family business.
Oh, he’ll always have that roguish touch – he’ll always be prepared to blackmail idiot Yale secret societies and outmaneuver his opponents by getting them wasted at his underground burlesque club, but the perfect ending to Gossip Girl for me is Chuck, reformed but still a rogue, and Blair (hopefully sans headband) having their happily ever after.
-- Kate's hit the nail on the head with this one. The reason why we love rogues is because of that Chuck/Blair dynamic. Bad boy meets the one girl he just isn't good enough for...and sets out to reform. Le sigh.
So, what do you think, readers? When it comes to your rogues of choice, are you more Byron or Bass? Historical or Modern Day? Silk turban or silk smoking jacket? (Fun fact: Eric walked into the room while I was watching Gossip Girl one day, looked at the TV, and said, "Why is that guy always dressed like Hugh Hefner?" I nearly spit out my diet coke. But, for the record, Hugh Hefner--not a rogue. Just...ick.) Anyway...tell us your thoughts in comments, and one lucky winner will receive Kate's yummy Follow My Lead (chosen on Friday - US Only).