I had a post last Friday at Romance University, and I completely forgot to link it here. Blame my forgetfulness on the combination of the holiday and a virus that just won't quit. In any case, here's the link. The post is about the four aspects of "mateability" that we look for in a romantic hero.
Coincidentally, after the post went live, I pulled out my old copy of Leslie Wainger's Romance for Dummies -- which is a very smart book, notwithstanding the title, and probably the best all-around guide to writing romances I've ever read. I still had a page flagged in this book leftover from my study of Lost in Austen. Under the subheader, "Heroes are for loving," Leslie writes:
Think of your hero as a prize, the prize the heroine wins after all the conflict is resolved. (By the way, just so you don't think I'm being sexist: Make your hero realize that the heroine's love is the prize he wins.)
This echoes Propp's fairy tale structure derived from Russian wonder tales, which ends with a wedding as a symbol of victory and as a reward for vanquishing the baddie. Yet more evidence to support the notion that genre romance follows fairy tale structure. One difference, though, is that Propp seemed to operate on the idea that the hero won a bride, but in genre romance, the hero and heroine win each other, as Wainger notes.