Lover King archetype explained

March 25, 2012 at 2:23 am 1 comment

I watched You’ve Got Mail last night and there are two scenes in it that explain really well the essence of the Lover King archetype.

The Lover King is the aspect of ourselves that knows the power to shape our world and survive.  the task now is to learn how to use that power well with others.  This happens when you find something of value and and allow your heart to exist outside of yourself.  If you find something you value and you control and protect it to the point of smothering it or damaging others you are in the shadow side of this archetype, the Tyrant.

The Lover King will take a bullet for what he values.  Maybe you can recall the moment in You’ve Got Mail where Tom Hanks won’t let Meg Ryan sit in the cafe alone waiting to meet her online friend.  He holds the power in that he knows who she is and she does not know who he is.  In self interest he would simply walk away and let it die, but he has found something he values more than his ego so he keeps her company.  He then takes full responsibility for her being rude to him.  He does this because he is willing to absorb the pain to take hers away.  He is viewing the situation on a higher plane.  He is thinking about his relationship to others (her) because he is certain of, powerful in, his relationship to himself.  This what makes him a Lover King.

The same energy is active when he comes to her home with daisies when she has lost her shop.  He recognizes that he wants to be her friend, discerns her value to him, and shapes the world to create the conditions where that could happen.  The Lover King discerns things of value and then holds the space for it.  He does this despite hardship and obstacles.  There are several tests of his ability to hold the space in this scene.  The masculine thrives on tests.

Another great scene for understanding the Lover King archetype is seen in The Incredibles.  Mr. Incredible has been captured and is in chains when his wife and kids show up to save him.  When confronted by Elastigirl as to why he went it alone he said he couldn’t risk her – living without her and the kids was worse than death to himself. It didn’t register for him that with her they create something new.   This is the point.  Heroes face the possibility of their own death and learn they can live in a bigger world.  Lover Kings identify what is of value in another person and face the possibility of losing what they most value and having to carry on living.  What they learn is that giving their life in the service of enabling what they value to fully live takes their life to a whole new level – from black and white to technicolor.

Let me know if you can think of any other scenes that capture the Lover King archetype.  I’m collecting them.

Entry filed under: Archetype theory, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Lorne Agnew  |  March 25, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Kim: You’ve nailed the Lover King archetype! That capacity to transcend his own needs in service, as it were, of another person or group, is the essential characteristic of the Lover King. You’ve helped me distinguish this archetype from the more limited Hero and the more benevolent Mentor archetype, and also to see how these three masculine archetypes are so developmentally related.
    I will now take a second look at several films that I think feature a strong Lover King character.
    Thanks, Kim,


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