Physically and Emotionally Damaged: the BDB

**Spoiler Warning: If you haven't finished the Black Dagger Brotherhood series up to Lover Mine, there may be spoilers for you in the ramblings below**

A few of the romance-minded people on Twitter were discussing a week or so ago the preponderance of damaged people, both emotionally and physically, that are present in JR Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood.  

I wonder if the sheer number of injuries and illness is a symptom of (according to her bio) JR Ward's former profession—in health care and hospital administration—or if there's another reason her characters have such a difficult time of it.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood members are warriors fighting for the survival of their race, but they are not just battle scarred. Life, itself, has been rough on almost every single one of them. All of them, to some extent, are damaged physically or emotionally.

Think about it: Wrath is blind, Phury is an amputee, Zsadist is scarred, John Matthew is mute, Mary is stricken with cancer, Jane is killed, Butch gets stuck with a piece of the Omega, Vishous is partially castrated (as well as stuck with that glowing hand) and Rhage has his inner Godzilla. Even Qhuinn is considered "damaged" because of his mismatched eyes.

Then there are the chemical addictions: Phury is addicted to red smoke. Rhevenge is forced to use Dopamine to dull his symphath ways; Xhex uses pain for the same reason.

Those who aren't permanently physically damaged are often emotionally tortured. Tohrment loses Wellsie, Ehlena is dealing with her father's mental illness, Bella is kidnapped and physically tortured.

No one, it seems, is safe from the bad stuff that happens to members or associates of the BDB. Or maybe being messed up to begin with is a prerequisite to membership.

For all that romances sometimes ignore less than physically perfect heroes and heroines, Ward seems to wallow in the imperfection. And she doesn't seem to fall into the other trap so many romances with "impaired" characters often do of having a disability define the characters. Ward takes a practical approach. Neither minimizing or exaggerating the effect the disability has on each individual character. (With the possible exception of Phury's drug addiction. That seemed to overwhelm his book).

In fact, perhaps damaged isn't the right word for it. For Ward, the word might be 'enhanced.' Because the physical and emotional scars or limitations are often great sources of strength for her characters as well. With, again, Phury being the exception. (No wonder I hate his book so much).

What do you think? Is there a reason, beyond angst fodder for the stories, that all the BDB seems to have such a rough time of it even when off the 'battlefield'? Does it bother you? Or do you like the fact that Ward puts her characters through the ringer?


  1. Rhage is pretty much the only normal one of the bunch with his inner Godzilla.

    Take a look at Larissa Ione's hero. I joke they are blue-balled me because she gives them all sexual problems. LOL

    At least with Ward's heroes, they aren't miracally cured, but can deal better with their "damages" because of their women.

  2. @KB,

    Rhage gets kind of emotionally tortured when the Scribe Virgin makes him think he's lost Mary forever. So even he doesn't get off easily. :)

    Good point, though, on how the women help them deal with the physical and emotional issues.