Got a tag from Rachna, which asked me to list out my top ten fictional heroes. Of course, I grabbed at it with both hands, metaphorically speaking. I am the kind of reader who attacks every book with the zeal of one permanently in need of a character to develop a terrible crush on. So here, in no particular order, are the male characters from books who have left an, err, rather lasting impression on me.
1] Mr Darcy: Be still my beating heart. The rich, stuffy seemingly unattainable Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy, from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is not the kind of man one develops a crush on. To start with, he seems rather stody. But then he grows on one, and how. And then we have Colin Firth playing him. Is that fair, I ask you? Counting off attributes on fingers, handsome, rich, and under the nasty snobbish hide, a genuine nice guy who bails Elizabeth’s family out when they were faced with social ruin.
2] Rhett Butler: The most heartbreaking words I ever read came from Rhett Butler at the end of Margaret Mitchell’s magnum opus, Gone With The Wind, “Frankly, my dear, I dont give a damn.” With those words, my teenage heart was shattered. Rhett Butler, the character, was everything I wanted my ideal man to be, and for the life of me I couldnt get how Scarlett would be lusting after the prissymaid Ashley Wilkes when a real man like Rhett Butler was around to woo her, and indulge her. He was sophisticated, witty, wealthy and willing to take risks, a surefire recipe for female knees buckling under.
3] The Jackal: Fredrick Forsyth’s The Day of The Jackal based on the international terrorist Carlos Illrich Sanchez wove together the portrait of a sensual, high living terrorist who killed without remorse or impunity. gah. Why do I like the bad boys?
4] Edward Cullen: He looks like a greek god, with honeyed eyes, chiselled features and is loaded. And devoted. And almost stalkerish in his devotion to an extremely ordinary looking Bella. Which girl wouldnt swoon and want this man, err, vampire in her life. And yes, he drives a Porsche, you never need to cook for him, but yes, you run the risk of becoming his meal. Small price to pay, given he’s always gulping and muttering about self control. Plus, he’s always around to defend her against rapists or worse, tracking vampires and their vindictive better halves.
5] Tom Ripley: This man is so charming, so shiver inducing that I think I would have a tough time keeping myself away from him. Patricia Highsmith’s The Talented Mr Ripley is a character who is created with such empathy and infused with such charm that one actual empathises with him, an the eerie psychopathic mind that justifies all his actions.
6] Mr Rochester: “Jane. Jane. Jane.” When a blind Mr Rochester, tormented, calls out to Jane Eyre, far away and at the point of agreeing to marry the perfect St John, one accepts the improbability of the plot device in that it jerks Jane away from the moment and back to Edward Rochester. Dark, brooding and not handsome, Mr Rochester is the epitome of the Byronic hero. And when Jane marries him, despite his burnt arm and his blindness, we applaud, because we adore him, the way he is.
8] Heathcliff: This list wouldnt be complete without him, would it. The tortured, vindictive, violent, untamed child man yearning for his Catherine. The anti hero from Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights has inspired movies and teleserials and sour faced men to be nasty to the women they love for years now.
9]Bertie Wooster: What a total rapscallion. I can imagine life to be a total hoot if one was engaged to him, given that he would be struggling at the bit to find a way to make me chuck the ring back at him. And ofcourse, we would have Jeeves shimmering along to soothe things out with well fish oiled brains and restorative aperitifs.
10] Hannibal Lecter: Thomas Harris’s Hannibal Lecter, if he didnt go around killing and eating people, is exquisitely well read, sensitive, has great taste, and as is evinced in his obsessive love with Clarice, also capable of love. Err, small price to pay for having one’s kidney diced up, eh. Kidding, kidding.
Now what’s your list? Tag’s up for whoever wants to take it.