Even the Damned Love: A Top Ten List

If you had asked me if I had a type of guy I liked, in life or in literature, I would’ve told you no on both counts (though I do have a soft spot for idealists). A recent discussion with a few friends forced me to realize I do indeed have a type. The discussion consisted of making top fives. My top five men were Timothy Olyphant, Henry Cavill, Matthew Goode, Ben Whishaw, and Edward Norton. Apparently I am nothing if not consistent in my preferences – at a glance those five are practically identical. Oddly enough, the most attractive guy I’ve ever met was a redhead. What does any of this mean? Nothing really (although, as far as I’m concerned, those men are fictional – it’s criminal to be that attractive), but this week’s top ten list (as hosted by The Broke and The Bookish) is ‘top ten characters I would crush on if I were also a fictional character – also known as book boyfriends’. It’s also quite possible I picture Henry Cavill as James Bond.

Now I will endeavor to make an interesting, varied list of fictional men I would date.

Even the damned love. From?

We all know Captain Wentworth and Edward Fairfax Rochester will be on here, right? So let’s begin with the obvious, though the rest are in no particular order. You might be interested to know that I am not the only one who likes some of these characters. Captain Wentworth, Mr. Rochester, James Bond, and George Emerson made the list 111 Male Characters of British Literature, In Order of Bangability coming in at 53, NUMBER ONE, 23, and 42 respectively. However, I question the validity of the list as it includes only one Shakespeare character – King Lear – see number one on my list to understand why I take issue.

10. Captain Wentworth in Persuasion by Jane Austen. It all comes down to that letter and the pining. Who doesn’t want to be pined for? I do. Is that too much to ask?

9. Edward Fairfax Rochester in Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. I can forgive the attempted bigamy for a lifetime of adoration, love, and respect.

8. Mike Noonan in Bag of Bones by Stephen King. More than anything, his devotion to his wife during their marriage is inspiring, even when he realizes he didn’t know her as well as he thought. This is one of the rare books that makes me cry, which speaks volumes considering I cry about once a decade. Of course, I am purposefully avoiding The Book Thief to preserve this fact.

The things nobody knows make us who we are.

7. James Bond in Moonraker or From Russia With Love by Ian Fleming. And it’s not just because I wanted to be Gala Brand (okay, maybe a little…). If you’ve not read the novels (and only seen the movies), disregard this entry. If you have, then you’ll understand why that black haired, blue eyed spy with a badass singular scar appeals to this black haired, blue eyed non-spy with a singular scar. Commonality is important in relationships.

‘There is only one way of checking if a woman really loves you, and even that way can only be read by an expert.’

6. George Emerson in A Room With a View by E. M. Forster. Persistence and patience. I happen to agree with the sentiment below.

She stopped and leant her elbows against the parapet of the embankment. He did likewise. There is at times a magic in identity of position; it is one of the things that have suggested to us eternal comradeship.

5. Raylan Givens in Pronto by Elmore Leonard. Intuitive, righteous, but not saintly. If any of you watch the show, you know that I am totally justified in my character love. (we all love a bad pun, right? RIGHT?!?)

4. John Thornton in North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell. You’ll be happy to know that I’ve started on this. In the meantime, I’m using Richard Armitage’s portrayal as the placeholder. That scene at the train station melts my heart every time.

3. Tyrion Lannister in A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin. The following sealed my love for Tyrion in book one:

Well, my legs may be too small for my body, but my head is too large, although I prefer to think it is just large enough for my mind. I have a realistic grasp of my own strengths and weaknesses. My mind is my weapon. My brother has his sword, King Robert has his warhammer, and I have my mind… and a mind needs books as a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”

2. Ben Hanscomb in IT by Stephen King. Handsome, intelligent, and writes poetry. Consider Beverley and Rory interchangeable.

I love you, Beverley…just let me have that. You can have Bill, or the world, or whatever you need. Just let me have that, let me go on loving you, and I guess it’ll be enough.

1. Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare. While I do love Benedick, this also has everything to do with me wanting to be Beatrice. It would be a wonderful marriage – assuming we didn’t kill each other first.

There’s a skirmish of wit between them.

So…ten fictional men worth dating. This list was quite a stretch of my imagination (given the type of literature I read), except for the first two, whom I’ve adored for longer than I care to admit. And there’s not an Cullen, Black, Grey, Fraser, or Brandon among them…

Who’s on your list? Do men have book girlfriends? Is Henry Cavill Daniel Craig’s successor? Most importantly, Moonraker has had not one, but two fabulous covers (here and here) – which one’s better? I own the former and want to own the latter. These are the things I wonder about (not really, but for the purposes of this post…).

Image found here, original source unknown.

36 thoughts on “Even the Damned Love: A Top Ten List

    1. No, they don’t need to be. They’ll mention a few of the previous plots in the story, but nothing you need to know for the current story to make sense.

      And Justified, it drives me crazy that I have to wait until it becomes available on DVD (too cheap for cable and too much to read). I do love Raylan, it has nothing to do with Timothy Olyphant, of course. I once saw him from afar, it was glorious. I even watched the truly dreadful I Am Number Four for him.


      1. Good to know!

        Raylan is awesome but I love Timothy Olyphant. I haven’t seen that movie and actually had no idea he was in it. Not that I’m checking Redbox for it now or anything… did you see him in Hitman? He looks funny bald. I really loved him in Deadwood and the movie A Perfect Getaway.

        The season ender is this week for Justified so it should be out soon fortunately. 🙂


      2. He does look a tad odd bald, but sexy nonetheless. I did enjoy him in The Perfect Getaway, he’s good in Catch and Release too (though the movie itself leaves a little to be desired). It’s safe to say I’m a fan (he is number one on my list).


  1. Yes I included John Thornton in my list as well :). Yay for Captain Wentworth as well. I didn’t even think about him to be honest, which surprised me now because I really enjoyed Persuasion. Another yay for Rochester as well :). I loved Toby Stephens as Rochester in the BBC Miniseries. Great List Rory :).


    1. That is my favorite adaptation of Jane Eyre, Toby Stephens IS Mr. Rochester for me. And really, it is that letter that stick with me from Persuasion. No one writes letters like that anymore and it is such a shame.


  2. Great list! Wentworth also made it on my list too and yay that you started North And South! Richard Armitage was just brilliant and wonderful and is John Thornton, ditto about the train scene *le sigh*

    Had I done more than 10, George Emerson would’ve made my list too xD

    My TTT


    1. I’m excited to hear that he plays the character well. I don’t usually like to see the movie version first, but if I do I don’t like to be disappointed when I read the book. Since I absolutely love Richard Armitage in the miniseries, I’m happy to know he does the material justice.

      That is a convoluted way of saying I loved Richard Armitage’s performance and I hope to love the novel. He made anger attractive…


      1. Same here, I usually read the original first before watching the adaptation but someone posted up that train sequence (and of course out of curiosity I watched it, lol) and I was like “Well, not I definitely have to watch this!” I was watching a special feature on the DVD and Richard Armitage was pretty passionate about the role and the book too (as if he wasn’t awesome enough, hee).

        I have to say, Richard Armitage brooding as Mr. Thornton kind of beats Mr. Darcy in that category 😀


  3. I enjoyed the Bond movies and books (mostly), but he’s too love ’em and leave ’em for my taste. (Even if he has been played by some seriously good-looking men on-screen.) I love that you included some classics, and even a Shakespeare hero… though if I had included one, mine would have been Henry V. The man can lead, he gives great inspirational speeches, and the scene with Kate near the end is marvelously funny and potentially passionate at the same time… see the Kenneth Brannagh version for a great interpretation.

    Here’s my TTT list!


    1. I actually chose Moonraker for that specific reason, as the girl leaves him in the end for another agent. The books, much like the movies, are good fun, but seldom award-worthy.

      I have never seen the Kenneth Brannagh version, though I’ve heard wonderful things about it. Shakespeare definitely wrote better male characters than female characters, there are only a few strong characters worth noting (reflective of the time period I imagine), which is why I chose Beatrice and Benedick.


  4. I admit my preference in real life runs to dark haired men. My sister though is the complete opposite and goes for light haired. I think Richard Armitage is the only actor we’ve agreed on and Daniel Craig. So we’ll never have a Jerry Springer moment in our lives. 😀

    I’ve been DYING to read a bond novel, but I haven’t taken the plunge. Hopefully I’ll get to do it before June. I agree with your list. George Emerson would have been on it, had I been working on a longer list.

    Jessica @ Literary, etc


    1. I had no idea that I preferred dark haired men, but apparently I do (and once I thought about it, it’s very much true). I quite liked Daniel Craig in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, but more because his character reminded me of one of my favorite people (not that he was bad to look at by any means).

      Bond novels are fun, but nothing I would rush to read, there are far better books out there. However, they are short and can easily be read in a day or two (and nearly forgotten just as fast).


  5. Benedick! I’ve never read “Much Ado” but that Kenneth Branaugh version is one of my all-time favorite adaptations…possibly soon to be replaced by Joss Whedon’s version. We’ll see.

    I’ve only read a couple of the Bond books, but I remember my friend and I wanting to claw our eyes out when a sex scene in “Casino Royale” was described as having “the sweet tang of rape.” NOOOO. BAD JAMES BOND.


    1. That last bit made me laugh, probably shouldn’t have, but it did anyway. Bond is a bit of a cad, but an attractive one. If it’s any consolation, he gets dumped at the end of Moonraker.

      You live in Portland, right?


      1. I’m heading to Portland at the end of May, I was curious about must see/must visit places and on the other hand any places to avoid. I always hear fabulous things about Voodoo donuts…


      2. Awesome! First of all, unless you reeeeeally like donuts, honestly, Voodoo may not be worth it. The line is always ridiculous. It is kind of a Portland staple, though, and they do make yummy donuts. If you’re interested in other specialty Portland sweets, I recommend Cacao (ridiculously rich and delicious drinking chocolate) and Cupcake Jones or Saint Cupcake.

        Voodoo is downtown, and while you’re there, you absolutely need to go to Powell’s. Biggest bookstore in the world, baby! Grab lunch from the food carts near 3rd and Stark. It’s not far to walk to Pioneer Square to sit and eat and people-watch. The Pearl District is the yuppie neighborhood and it has lots of swank shops to explore. If you’re in town on a Saturday, check out the Saturday Market. It has tons of crafts, goodies, and food, not to mention lots of interesting folks.

        Downtown-ish, there’s also 23rd Avenue, which has shops that are not quite as swanky as the Pearl along with lots of yummy restaurants. It has a good mix of chain stores and independent places, and it’s a beautiful place to walk around. I’d actually recommend spending time on 23rd over the Pearl.

        Across the river in NE, there’s Alberta Street, which has some yummy tea (Townshend’s) and coffee (Caffe Vita – warning, contains hipsters) shops, as well as some delicious Thai restaurants (Cha Ba Thai is my favorite). There’s also Salt & Straw, a fantastic ice cream shop with flavors like pear/blue cheese, olive oil, and chocolate/salted caramel. Aside from eating, though, there’s not a whole lot to do over here. It’s like 23rd minus the shopping.

        NE also has one of my favorite tea places, The Jasmine Pearl, which offers great tea tasting. It’s not very convenient, though. Same story with my recommended dinner spot, Montage (Cajun-inspired dishes and amazing mac & cheese) – worth a visit, just not convenient to the fun stuff.

        For outdoorsy stuff, there’s the Oregon Zoo, the rose gardens, and the Japanese Garden. If you’re into thrifting, there’s a Buffalo Exchange near Powell’s, along with tons of vintage/consignment shops.

        Oh, pubs! Horse Brass and Kells are both awesome. I’ve never been to Deschutes but I hear good things about it. McMenamins is kind of a staple around here – it’s a whole chain of funky old buildings that have been remodeled into funky old-looking restaurants/bars – but the service is almost always slow and the food just okay.

        So yeah, I think that concludes my essay on things to do (or, more accurately, eat) in Portland! Have fun!


  6. You have EXCELLENT taste in fictional men I LOVE George Emerson how can you not love a guy who says ‘I want you to have your thoughts and feelings even when I hold you in my arms’ and LOVE Tyrion Lannister as well! You know I love Mr. R and Capt. Wentworth as well!


    1. I was *thisclose* to including that instead because it would be a wonderful thing to hear.

      We should start a Mr. Rochester appreciation day. Although I imagine there might already be one…


      1. That is EVERY day for me LOL Back in the day I did this community on LJ that was called LERO..which was the League of the Extraordinarily Rochester Obsessed LOL It was really goofy..


  7. YES TO CAPTAIN WENTWORTH. I am always a sucker for pining heroes! And Richard Armitage’s voice is just jasdjasidjalsdqoqdq. How can anybody not swoon? My toes actually curl when I hear it. Almost orgasmic. ;D

    My top ten!


  8. Oh man, Richard Armitage is North and South – soooooo swoon worthy! I haven’t read the book, but I do want to. I keep hearing about Captain Wentworth from Persuasion and that letter he writes. But Darcy is my man!

    Not a real fan of Mr. Rochester. I think he is kind of a jerk – although I’ve softened towards him since I saw Michael Fassbender portray him 🙂


    1. You don’t like Mr. Rochester, did you read the same book I did…? Only kidding, he’s not for everyone and I do get annoyed when he toys with Jane’s feeling though jealousy.

      Read Persuasion, while Wentworth might not surpass your love for Darcy, it could be close. The letter is truly a thing of beauty.


  9. Henry Cavil . . . oh my goodness. Ever since The Tudors, he’s been my guy. Yeah, I have a literary list, but it’s pretty boring and predictable. Also, I’m bi (although bi is such an unsatisfactory term), so I’d have to make a top-10 lady list too.


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