Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Death and The Maiden, or Why I Love Bad Men @LexxxChristian

by Alexandra Christian

I have a confession to make. After this weekend, I will have seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi five times. That’s right, I paid to see it in the theater five different times at more than ten bucks a pop. I realize that I most likely have a psychological problem. It isn’t that I have a weird obsession with large men that have strange faces (I do). Or that I might have a slight mask fetish (I do). Or that I’m a lifelong Star Wars junkie (I was literally a week old when A New Hope came out). My problem boils down to this-- I’m attracted to bad men. Not in my real life, mind you. My husband is probably one of the sweetest people in the world. But there’s something about that dark prince that whispers wicked and wonderful things in your ear that is so appealing. We call that phenomenon death and the maiden.

Death and the maiden is a theme that began in Greek mythology with Hades and Persephone. The idea of the frightening God of the Underworld seducing the innocent daughter and dragging her down to the Underworld with him. That theme was popularized during the Renaissance with the figure of death looming over or even kissing a beautiful, young girl.  It further evolved into many aspects of our culture, including literature. Beauty and the Beast, Phantom of the Opera, and even Fifty Shades of Grey, among others, are based upon this idea. That contrast of light and darkness, yin and yang, and their attraction to one another, can be traced through much of our popular culture. Is it any surprise that it has become a tried and true romance novel trope?

Which brings me back to the new Star Wars movie. I don’t want to spoil it or anything, but at the center of the plot (and indeed the entire sequel trilogy) is the death and the maiden thread being played out by Kylo Ren (or Ben Solo depending on your point of view) and Rey. Now, whether you agree with it or not (please do NOT send this blog hate mail in the comments), that aspect is pretty clear in the climax of the movie (hehe… she said climax). It adds a layer to the movies that I always thought was missing in the clumsy May-December kisses between Padme Amidala and the doomed Anakin Skywalker.

If you’ve read my books Beast of Burden or Huntress, you can see the death and the maiden influence weighing heavily on both stories. In Beast, the dark prince Cianan Marek seems pretty darned evil on the surface. He forces beautiful and innocent Sascha to be his slave in exchange for her previous master’s indiscretions. He’s a werewolf. Not to mention that he has a really big, nasty secret that I won’t disclose (you gotta read the book). In Huntress, Prince Malik is literally a monster that’s rescued from his own rage and anguish by the dragonslayer maiden, Thalia. It’s also there in my sci-fi romance series, Phoenix Rising (Naked and Neo-Geisha). The heroine, Phoebe Addison, is a seemingly innocent librarian who reluctantly falls in love with the angry alpha superspy, Cage St. John. The aforementioned heroines are drawn to these heroes because of their darkness. They are, perhaps subconsciously, excited by the perceived danger of loving these men who behave badly.

As both a reader and a writer, I’m a sucker for these stories. And I can’t be the only one. Fifty Shades of Grey has made millions of dollars worldwide and Phantom of the Opera is the longest running show on Broadway. Are we hardwired to love the things that are bad for us? Or is it that we long for someone to push our boundaries and force us to do the things we fantasize about, thereby allowing us to absolve ourselves of any guilt we might feel? I suspect it may be simpler than that. Perhaps embracing “death” is a way to face our own fears of mortality. By taking “death” as a lover, it gives us some sense that we have conquered it.

Or maybe I’m just a sicko.

(All views expressed in this guest post are those of the author, Alexandra Christian, and don't necessarily reflect that of the SFR Brigade.)


Librarian Phoebe Addison has lived her entire life within a seventy-five mile radius of her small Louisiana town, but when she receives a strange medallion from her adventurous, off-world sister, reality tilts toward the bizarre. Everything Phoe thought she knew is…well, wrong. Dead wrong. But bone-numbing fear has no place in this brave new world—nor by the side of the dangerous, exquisite man who saves her life.


Following the tragic slaughter of his family, operative Macijah “Cage” St. John understands evil in a way no man ever should. He traded happiness for a magnificent and terrible power, and fate isn’t done with him yet. He wasn’t looking for comfort. He didn’t need tenderness. But today he’ll play hero to a damsel in distress, and his quest will deliver him to the uncanny Martian colony of New London—and his heart to the demure Phoebe Addison. The bookish beauty’s hidden talents and deep abiding love just might save Cage from himself.

Boroughs Publishing      Amazon       BN      Kobo      Smashwords      Print 

About the Author:

Alexandra Christian is an author of mostly romance with a speculative slant. Her love of Stephen King and sweet tea has flavored her fiction with a Southern Gothic sensibility that reeks of Spanish moss and deep fried eccentricity. Lexx likes to keep her fingers in lots of different pies having written everything from sci-fi and horror to Sherlock Holmes adventures. 

A self-proclaimed “Southern Belle from Hell,” Lexx is a native South Carolinian who lives with an epileptic wiener dog and her husband, author Tally Johnson. Her long-term aspirations are to one day be a best-selling authoress and part-time pinup girl. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America.

Amazon Author Central:


  1. Thanks so much for letting me jabber away on the blog!

  2. Love the Death and the Maiden trope. I might have watched too many youtube vids on the whole #Reylo phenomenon. (I really hope JJ Abrams keeps that thread going in 9.) I've always been a #TeamPhantom fan and always think Christine was an idiot for not choosing him. I haven't read or seen Fifty Shades. I didn't know it fit the Death and the Maiden theme. I wish I was brave enough to write it in my next story. Thanks for sharing!

  3. As a guy, I think I always suspected that the attraction lay in the female protagonist's desire to fix/heal/nurture the bad boy. Also, in extending the trope to Death itself, falling in love and staying together allows her to achieve immortality, not necessarily to conquer Death, but to join it eternally.


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