In the wake of Valentine’s Day, I have been pondering to whom I would actually consider giving
my a chocolate heart. Other than my father and brothers, there are few real men who have held any sway over my heart.
This is probably because I was always too taken with fictional men. Strong men, charming men, daring men, teasing men . . . . . . in short I have had many fictional men in my life. I thought I might do a purge and get them all out.
These are men I have loved, past and present, from literature and film. They are the men who, between them, give me my definition of romance!
The very first book I ever read that had a romance in it was called Mara, Daughter of the Nile. I was enthralled. Add adventure, intrigue, moral crisis, and Ancient Egypt, and Sheftu, the dashing, daring, Egyptian noble and leader of a resistance won my heart. He was described as ugly, but his intelligence, bravery, and total commitment to be his ideals and his beloved made my first literary crush.
- Luke Skywalker
When I was young, I did not understand the appeal of Han Solo. Luke was my favorite, the entire way. Looking back, I am not sure how I could have adored such a whiny, brash, impractical kid. In my defence, I was young myself. He was geeky and cute, and I loved him. Take that, Han Solo!
- The Scarlet Pimpernel. AKA, Lord Percy Blakeney
The first account of a charming, double-life-leading hero, the Scarlet Pimpernel had by the time he dressed up as a plauguey old woman and sneaked Aristos out of revolutionary Paris. He was brilliant, self-sacrificing, funny, believable, and oh! so passionate! His love for Marguerite – however adle-brained she was – made my knees weak.
- Lord Peter Wimsey
If you require any explanation of the attractivity of Lord Peter, kindly take a moment to breath deeply, look around the site, and then go read some Dorothy Sayers. He is hilarious, delightful, with an appealing touch of rogue, and deeply British charm. Not to mention his superb wine palate. And his mind. And his real nobility of heart.
- Captain Wentworth
Captain Wentworth is a flawed, resentful man with little self-knowledge. I would marry him in a heart-beat. His passionate letter to Anne will always have a place in my list of Most Romantic Sincere Confessions.
I grew up having Wodehouse read aloud to me. Eventually, I read him on my own. Had anyone told me that I would eventually fall head over heels for a Wodehouse character, I would have giggled at the ridiculousness. Wodehouse characters are more known for their adroit bumbling and talented mishappery. But Psmith, of Leave it to Psmith – pronounced “Smith”, but changed so as to set out character apart from all other Smiths – is graceful, socially adept, dealightfull teasing, and skillful at talking and bluffing himself out situations. He falls in love passionately, and goes to extreme lengths to win his fair girl, and help his friends, and most attractive of all, he coolly, openly and sweetly confesses his love. Heart. Throb.
- Gabriel Gale
Gale, the poet protagonist of Chesterton’s The Poet and the Lunatic, is absolutely bonkers. He stands on his head, and walk around with a wide-eyed innocence and wonder that threatens to be the end of him. He loves wholly and sweetly, caring not just for the physical, mental, and emotional well being of his friends, but for the ultimate state of their souls. Essentially, he is poet. I cannot resist true poets.
- Captain Malcolm Reynolds
I came home late on Valentine’s Day, feeling slightly guilty about leaving my housemate all alone on that Day o’ Love and Pink Things. When I knocked at her door to offer some heart-shaped skittles, she jumped guiltily, cast her eyes sideways, and mumbled, “I had a hot date with Mal.” And suddenly I was jealous. I want a date with Mal. That witty, purposeful, painfully loyal leader of the good ship “Serenity”. Also, he looks real nice in tight pants. So I am told.
One the most overlooked characters in all of Middle Earth, Celeborn is oft overshadowed by his charismatic wife. It was only in The Silmarillion that I came to appreciate him on his own. In fact, Tolkien never finished developing his story; drafts of a new history of Celeborn make up part of the Unfinished Tales. Celeborn is a wise and strong prince and warrior. He is the one gives practical advice and help to the Fellowship, and the one who rebukes disbelief in “old wive’s tales” and myths. When he does step in to lead, even Galadrial obeys. Actually, he was the one who gave Galadrial her name. He is a man’s man. Er, elf.
Aragorn might be one of the most strong, appealing men in all of literature. He is capable, humble, smart, strong, loyal, loving, and is probably the last word kingly. It took several reading to pick up on his romanticism, but with some background and little reading between the lines, you can see that even at the start of his journey with the Hobbits he is thinking of his beloved Arwen. He is the epitome of faithful love.
There are probably several more with whom I fell in love over the years. But these are the ones who some to mind -and nestle in the heart – most easily.
Happy Belated Valentine’s Day!