Last week on MMM, Jess outlined her favourite literary heroes. Now it's my turn!
So, what makes a hero for me?
So, what makes a hero for me?
Integrity, first and foremost. He can make mistakes - in fact, he has to ... where can he improve if he starts from perfect? He will wrestle with issues internally, but in the end his true nature shines through - and it's a good one! And that integrity must absolutely extend to the woman he loves - his love is true and noble, not driven solely by a physical attraction (though, that should be there too, of course!).
He's a manly man. Usually he has a distinguished or dangerous occupation, something that showcases his strength and courage, sets him apart from the other men. That doesn't mean he's a fist-wielding barbarian. I like him to have a sense of self control and decency!
When he falls for a woman, he makes it known. There's nothing like a manly man expressing that a woman has stolen his heart. Now I'm not talking about those emotional men who sprout their feelings at the drop of the hat. I'm talking about the man who never exposes his heart. But once his heart has been captured, he is willing to risk rejection and humiliation in order to make his feelings known.
He will do anything for the woman he loves. Nothing speaks love more to a woman that a man who will go past the boundaries of expectation, go outside his own comfort zone in order to please her. And it is usually done without her asking, and without parading the fact around. After all, he's done it out of love for her, not with the motive of impressing her.
Confidence without cockiness. This is a biggy for me. A real man doesn't need to boast of his accomplishments, because he's secure in himself.
Ok, so who are my favourite literary heroes?
If I go based solely on the books, and leave aside any good looking actor enhancing the hero's qualities, I am tempted to declare Mr Knightley from "Emma" as my favourite Jane Austen hero over Mr Darcy. Let's face it, Darcy is arrogant, and he still looked down on Elizabeth's family - until he decided he loved her. (That said, Elizabeth's feisty temperament is just the antidote and they do make a perfect match.) Mr Knightley's kindness and benevolence to those in society beneath him is more open and obvious. He struggles with his feelings for Emma, endures a period of time when he believes she's in love with someone else, but in the end he can fight it no longer and declares his feelings.
You'll have to forgive my lack of range because as you may have heard me mention before, I've spent a good decade of my recent life with my head out of books. I struggle to remember the books I read before my life went into career overdrive, and I've only been playing catchups in the literary world in the last few months.
There is one hero I remember reading who I did sit up and notice. King Richard III. What? You mean the king who they believed killed his boy nephews in the tower? The one and the same!
So, there you have it folks - my favourite literary heroes :) Yes I realise that all these characters live quite well in the past, but don't read too much into that. I simply don't read much contemporary fiction.