Wanted: Literary Character

Wanted: Atticus Finch, to marry one single young lady. Please email bad4shidduchim[at]gmail if you have any idea where he can be found.

Not for me, actually. This one is for someone else. I’m just jealous I didn’t think of it first. I mean, who doesn’t want to marry the perfect man? The one who always knows exactly what to say and do? It’s almost unfair to create such a guy because it makes everyone else inadequate in comparison.

He’s definitely at the top of the literary heartthrob list, up there with Fitzwilliam Darcy. Who else should be up there? (Howl Jenkins?)

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68 thoughts on “Wanted: Literary Character

  1. Who else should be up there? – Count Dracula obviously. Okay so he violates the mitzvah of not drinking blood (don’t be judgemental, everyone has their teivahs), but he’s rich, immortal.

    Kurtz – Okay he’s insane and his home is ringed with spears that have decapitated heads on them, but no one will disturb you.

    The Count of Monte Cristo – He can’t just get a loan, he can buy the bank.

    Mr. Knightley – Yes, some guys read JA.

  2. Atticus Finch isn’t a hearth throb. He’s more like a sensible sort of pick. Not dreamy. Better than that.

    Mr. Darcy is dreeeaaaaamy.

  3. Gilbert! And Cyrano DeBergerac, at least in my opinion. I was always ready to smack Darcy though, so all those Jane Austen lovers may think that my opinion is worthless.

  4. Mr. Darcy and Rhett Butler! Colonel Brandon is pretty nice too.. although my opinion might be influenced by the 1995 movie. And then if you go for the interesting, flawed types — Severus Snape.

  5. Remus Lupin. ’nuff said.

    Prince Farmair of LOTR. AKA ‘my Faramir’ 🙂

    Captain Carrot. I forgive Pratchett many things for creating this complicatedly simple character. I am almost ready to change places with Angua and be a werewolf in order to get him…

    mmf#7: Count me in the ‘would love to smack Darcy’ camp. Even by the end of the book I don’t completely believe in his transformation. The arrogant @&%!!!

    Colin Firth, on the other hand…!

  6. Wellspring: Colin Firth rocks. I’m not crazy about Carrot (despite his looks and lineage), but Vimes is a much more real cool guy to me. I’m a big Vimes fan.

  7. Han Solo? Oh, wait, he’s not literary . . .

    Has anyone seen the new PBS version of Sense & Sensibility? While I’m a big fan of Alan Rickman, this new Colonel Brandon was less . . . old. Rickman in ’95 was actually 50, rather than the book’s 35. Was it 35? Although, to be fair, due to it being the early 1800’s and all, probably 35 year olds looked 50. The new version has Brandon sweeping Marianne up casually, whereas Rickman was distinctly winded.

    As for Darcy, he plays a flawed character who behaves himself for his lady. I’m sure the arrogance thing didn’t just casually walk off into the sunset. So we’re back to Mr. Knightly, who was a mentsch and scolded Emma for not being one. Why did Emma end up with him?

  8. Good call on Vimes. Though I’m not sure he’s the idea husband, exactly.

    Then again, neither is Darcy. He did say at the end that he was just being nice because “he thought only of her.” It’s not like he actually felt any responsibility or urge to do good. Then again, she deserved him, seeing as she claims she first fell in love with him upon seeing his estate. And Colin Firth does not count as a character.

    Knightly? A mentch? So obnoxious. He thinks he’s the village to raise the child. I would love to get a crack at his head.

    InkstainedHands – I was always partial to Snape myself. He was the only complicated character in the entire series. Though she ruined him in the last book. Egh.

  9. Princess Lea — No, I haven’t seen the new version yet. I should though! Alan Rickman always seems to get the younger roles, have you noticed? Both Colonel Brandon and Snape are supposed to be in their 30s, and Alan Rickman was around 50 when he played the former and in his 50s/60s when he played the latter. He’s one of my favorite actors though, so I don’t mind in the least. :]

    Bad4 — I actually want a crack at Emma’s head. She annoyed me to no end from the beginning of the book. It was only towards the middle that I began to find her tolerable. At least Knightley’s behavior can be explained. He was basically the closest person who COULD tell her that what she was doing was off.

    Snape was always my favorite character. I was actually kind of surprised at the fact that Rowling could create a complex character, since the rest were a bit flat.

  10. Mr. Darcy, for sure. Not Howl Jenkins though, as crushworthy as he may be–Diana Wynne Jones even remarked in an interview that she is surprised by how many people have a “thing” for him, since he is so obviously NOT good husband material. I’ve also always had a soft spot for Laurie from Little Women (he so married the wrong March sister, btw).

  11. Bad4 — I actually want a crack at Emma’s head. She annoyed me to no end from the beginning of the book. It was only towards the middle that I began to find her tolerable. At least Knightley’s behavior can be explained. He was basically the closest person who COULD tell her that what she was doing was off. – She had spoiled bored rich kid syndrome, what else could be expected.

  12. True, he’s not a good husband, but at the end of Castle in the Air he proved to take more naturally to parenting than Sophie. Anyway, his attraction isn’t in being a good husband, per se, as much as just being a good person.

    Yes, Emma is awful. There isn’t anyone likable in that book, really. *dodges a crack on the head from JA fans*

  13. I need a Gilbert Blythe, I think… only Lakewood style.
    I liked Snape till the last book, when I started feeling bad for him. Hard to respect a nebach, y’know?

  14. funcuzzled — I don’t know, I don’t really see him as a nebach case, despite all that. I mean, look at the way he dedicated his life for ‘the cause’. It takes strength and determination to do that, especially when you know that you’ll never get any thanks.

  15. It wasn’t his dedication that makes him a nebach case. In the last book she turned him into a pathetic romantic. And yes, that’s nebach. Someone who’s continuously besotted for some 20-odd years? Whose entire life – all the joys and griefs and anger and happiness – hinge on the continuous adoration of a single childhood friend? I thought that was nebach too. In my mind, Snape’s life ends at book 6 – I simply refuse to synthesize that last revelation. I know she meant it to be good, because she thinks that love and bravery are the best things on the planet, but I happen to disagree with her on both points.

    Never read the Green Gables books, so I can’t contribute there. And I only watched Gone with the Wind, but Rhett there seemed a decent fellow, if a little over-confident. But that’s a male trait, I think.

  16. Here’s why Joe Willard from Betsy-Tacy is the perfect man:
    -Smart
    -Talented
    -Athletic
    -Hardworking
    -Everybody likes him
    -Romantic
    -and like a typical male, full of pride

    Rhett Butler is a heartthrob, but boy does he have a temper! The book is amazing, you should definitely read it.
    And if vampires can be considered marriageable, I vote for Stefan Salvatore. Damon would probably be more fun to date, but he’s not really a family man (aside from the fact that vampires probably can’t have kids).

  17. Yes, Emma is awful. There isn’t anyone likable in that book, really. *dodges a crack on the head from JA fans* – Have you read Northanger Abbey? It’s half a parody of gothic novels which is hilarious.

  18. NYC Girl — I don’t know about the big temper… I mean, when you look at what he has to put up with, it’s hardly surprising that he loses his temper every so often. It’s actually a bit surprising that he even chooses to put up with so many things.. and people.

  19. Who cares? He probably flipped out in Israel. ;]

    Seriously though, his reputation followed him a lot more than it should have. It sounded as if the things he did in his 20s were the only things that people remembered, even when he was in his 40s. (And look — his bad reputation mainly consisted of him not returning a date home on time. It’s not like we’ll ever really know exactly what happened on that date, although in the book they assume the worst.)

  20. This is a great conversation- I’m very interested in what people have said so far. Seems to be a running theme of HP and JA, with other classics thrown in along Anne of Green Gables/Little Women lines. I wonder why no one mentioned Harry Potter himself- if it wasn’t for the fact that I object to talking about fictional characters in this way, I would point out the fact that he is humble, he’ll do anything to protect the people he cares about, he’s responsible and polite, and good midos generally. Lacks a good parental role model, and has mortal enemies who want to kill him, but otherwise, I really can’t understand why anyone would prefer Draco or Snape.

    (Funny, the way I just described Harry is practically the diametric opposite of Howl. And of DWJ’s characters, I like Christopher Chant better. Or how about Sherwood Smith’s Vidanric? You ever read that book, Bad4?)

    Don’t forget the fact that we’d have to convert all of these characters to Judaism first. Thought someone ought to point that out.

  21. So, I don’t have any competition for Farmair? Oh, well. Even among ardent Tolkien fans, I usually manage to get him when everybody else is busy fighting over Aragorn.

    As for Snape – I could never understand why he has so many fans. I mean, bad or secretly good, the man IS a bully. This part of his character is not a disguise. The last book made him somewhat pathetic, but at least you could have some compassion for him, something I had certainly not felt before. Still didn’t like him, though.

    I don’t think I go for complicated characters, in literature or real life. I would rather love the saintly guys!

  22. Oooh! Vidanric! (Shevraneth for those who didn’t catch his name too often.) He is perfect. But a bit too flat as a character- mostly because the Crown Duel books revolve around Mel. I haven’t read the new book yet though.

    Bad4- Vimes may not be the ideal husband- but he has the perfect doting wife- Sybil. You know- the kind that takes care of you perfectly, but can brandish a flaming pot of oil if needed for defense.

  23. Leibel – try Pride & Prejudice & Zombies – it totally redeems a whole raft of JA characters

  24. Um, Harry is stupid, that’s why. Also, he has a temper and he jumps to conclusions waaay too fast. Also, he takes credit for successes that are mostly Hermione’s, imho. Especially in the last book.

    Christopher Chant… He’s definitely cool, well dressed, comes with a high-rolling lifestyle, and he has a sense of humor. But he has a deadly vague expression, he has a tendency to disappear just when you’re about to start dinner, he has some pretty awful relatives, and seems to be always coming home with random children in tow.

    I’ll have to look up Vidanric. I haven’t read much Sherwood Smith.

    I haven’t read LotR since 7th grade, and I’m not going to start. Everyone in there is either all good or evil, so I doubt I’d go for one, though. If you like LotR characters, I can see why you don’t go for Snape. The thing about Snape is not that you’d actually want to marry him, but that he’s the only person in the book who makes a mistake and picks himself back up, making a conscious decision about right versus wrong. (Until the last book, where she turns it into plain ol’ revenge against the person who kill his darling.)

    P&P&Z was AWFUL. I was dying of boredom by the 20th page. I really don’t understand its popularity. Maybe you need testosterone.

    And NMF#7 – you’re right about Vimes’s wife. There’s one for the guys who deserve perfect women, SiBW.

  25. Also, Harry is flaky. He doesn’t study nearly enough, and gets by on luck and some courage. There’s no way he’d be a good masmid.

  26. 28.Sorry to be a killjoy, but whom exactly is this female specimen of flawlessness that deserves “the perfect man?” – Valentine Villefort obviously.

  27. I’m with Bad4 and Male on Harry Potter. I very much prefer Snape to Harry. Harry has this attitude that the whole world revolves around him. He’s the kind of guy who copies homework to get through school and he hates learning — he’d be spending more time on coffee breaks than learning. (And Harry is *how old* in the series? A bit too young, no?)

    Wellspring — I liked Snape even when I was reading the books as a little kid. He’s human, he’s realistically flawed. He’s been hurt so many times over his life that you can understand why he lashes out sometimes. I wouldn’t call him a bully though.

  28. Btw, bad4-
    I’ve noticed that the times posted here are an hour behind- guess you didn’t ‘spring forward.’

  29. The perfect female literary character is an easy one to pick: Polly from An Old-Fashioned Girl (Alcott).

  30. 1) Christopher Chant!!!- great idea (I thought I was the only one why loved DWJ’s books. Witch Week, Cat…)
    2) Atticus Finch (smart, great role model…)
    3) Remus Lupin (my fav. male h.p. character)
    4) HENRY DETAMBEL (who cares if he disappears from time to time?)
    5) Zooey Glass (Holden Caulfield but of legal age: perfect)
    6) Ernest from the Importance of Being Earnest
    7) Sydney Carton
    8) Campbell Alexander

  31. this post was my favorite post ever!!! I was so excited to post my comment that I almost pressed submit comment in my haste…all my favorite heroes, together in one place. Here’s my list:
    1. John Thornton in North & South
    2. Shevraeth–what’s a Stranger to command, though?
    3. Carrot and Vimes–although I don’t think I could marry either of them
    4. Almanzo Wilder (the real one)
    5. Gilbert Blythe
    6. every single JA hero–I love all of them
    7. Atticus Finch
    8. Christoper Chant
    9. Aragorn
    10. Howl Jenkins
    11. Parr from Enthusiasm (I doubt anyone read this except diehard JA fans)

  32. I still don’t understand why some like Snape. Problems or no problems in his life, the guy picks on a 10 year old orphan. And it’s not just once or twice – a mistake, but he is doing it all the time. In my book, that’s despicable.

  33. ag: A Stranger to Command is a new book about Shevraeth pre-Crown Duel. I’m surprised you’re the first to mention Almanzo- he’s right up there on my list! And I did read Enthusiasm when it first came out- I know I enjoyed it, but don’t remember much else.

  34. thanks for explaining about a stranger to command–just googled it, but it doesn’t sound very exciting
    I just reread enthusiasm twice, and I can’t believe how fun it is! (despite the fact that everyone is extremely young and it’s like, oh great, we know you love each other, but we’re sure you’ll break up in two months!)

  35. sarah – which Ernest? The fake one who turns out to be real, or the fake one who stays fake? Actually, I guess the real one is the only one you could possibly consider near perfect, despite lying about a brother in order to gad about in town.

    Definitely Lupin. I think he was mentioned before also. His sole fault is being a werewolf and being too loyal, alas.

    Detambel – yeah, he’s another perfect man, isn’t he? Well what do you want from that kind of romance?

    Carrot’s an easy call but he’s annoyingly perfect. The kind of perfect that makes you feel slightly embarrassed about being a mere human.

    Oh, and Almanzo Wilder doesn’t count – he’s real.

  36. SubWife – it’s not “I like Snape” it’s “I like Snape’s character.” As in, literary character. If you had to choose one HP character to meet for tea, who would it be? Granted Dumbledore would be the most entertaining, but Snape would be the most intriguing. There’s simply nobody else with as many interesting facets to his personality and history.

    (Not that you should underestimate the power of the Sympathy Factor. Snape comes from an abusive background, was bullied throughout life, was crossed in love, etc. He’s also brilliant and brave, and oh yes, a complete jerk.)

    Note: he doesn’t make the list of Literary Perfect Men. Cuz he’s not.

  37. Which female literary character would you want to marry? (speaking to the men) – Mina (Dracula) or Valentine Villefort (okay she’s french, but noone’s perfect).

  38. As a woman, I can’t really understand the appeal of Mina from Dracula–she’s a very two-dimensional character and as such not very interesting…I’m not familiar with V. Villefort, so can’t comment on her.

    As much as I love the Harry Potter books, I don’t find any of them attractive enough (emotionally & intellectually, that is) to want to marry.

    My hands-down favorite for a literary husband (a bit obscure, though) would be Carlton Buell from the Beany Malone books.

  39. Anonymous #56: someone else read the Beany Malone books??!! I was thinking of mentioning Carlton, but figured no one would have ever heard of him. Though it’s been over ten years, I have very fond memories of that series.

    My other choices would be Darcy and Gilbert Blythe, as well as George Emerson from “A Room With a View” (but not the movie version).

  40. InkStained – Like, as in admire (I am with ya there) or like as in find him an appealing personality?

  41. LRS, yes. My sisters and I devoted many, many hours over many years at hunting down all of the books in the series via interlibrary loan (before the days of Amazon) as kids, but still had a few gaps which were finally filled in when the entire series was reprinted several years ago by Image Cascade Publishing (a small company devoted to reprinting girls’ books of the 1940’s and 50’s). Anyway, I never realized how dreamy and entirely crushworthy Carlton was until I reread the books as an adult. He is definitely the prototype of the perfect husband in my opinion, the next best would be Mr. Darcy (the Matthew McFadyen version of Darcy, I should qualify).

  42. Bad4 — I find him appealing in a way. He obviously has some very serious flaws, but it’s human. And honestly, out of all the HP characters, he is the only one whose company and conversation I would enjoy (apart from the fact that he is the only one I would consider going to the Yule Ball with ;]).

    anonymous — The Matthew MacFadyen version is my favorite too. I rewatch it regularly (twice within the past month actually).

  43. Bad4: Carrot is NOT annoyingly perfect. Yes, his kindness and decency can make everybody feel quite inferior, but you can always comfort yourself with the knowledge that you spell WAY better than he does 🙂

  44. I vote Aragorn (someone already mentioned him)

    He is loyal, humble, noble, wise, fierce when the circumstances dictate, brave within reason, and driven to help others in need. He is obviously a special person for Arwen gave up her immortality for his love. Maybe thats the romantic in me saying that if you appreciate the specialness of the other person, it can be worth it to give up of yourself for them

  45. Nmf#7, what are you talking about, male vampires can have kids… didn’t Edward have one? 😕

    I don’t know about you, but most Jewish people I know eat animals once in a while, albeit without real “blood’ per se… 😉 Was a vegetarian lifestyle a requirement? 😛

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