They’re the ones whose actions are so powerful, so illustrative of the kind of man others can’t help but respect that we feel — as readers — to be in the presence of someone with great character when we first encounter him on the page or the screen. Someone who is loyal, intelligent, courageous, determined to stand up for what is right. Someone who is too honorable (and, most likely, too stubborn, LOL) to be easily swayed by any attempted bribes by others. Someone who is willing to make sacrifices for those he loves without hesitation — and without any expectation of credit.
In Mr. Darcy, Jane Austen created a man whose heroic nature has stood the test of over 200 years, but I don’t have to tell any of YOU that! Everyone here knows that the master of Pemberley is more popular now than ever. We admire his honor and his cleverness, yes. But we fall all over ourselves when we discover the way he hunted down his enemy in P&P; the way he set aside his own pride for the sake of saving his beloved’s family from social ruin.
Diana Gabaldon constructed a man with a similarly strong character, but he lived in an earlier, harsher era and needed to wield a sword. Still, there’s no doubt that Outlander’s leading man, Jamie Fraser, possesses all of these heroic traits. He’s smart. Funny. Incredibly brave. He’s physically put himself in harm’s way on many (ohhh, so MANY!!) occasions to protect his wife. Most memorably, IMO, was his knowing the cost to himself when he rescued her from prison and the grave danger this act put him in, resulting in an even bigger sacrifice later… His sense of honor was riveting.
On the less perilous edge of the literary world is Gilbert Blythe, longtime “frenemy” of Anne of Green Gables, who’d loved our impulsive heroine for years, but had to wait for her to finally grow up enough to see the light. He, too, is a character of intelligence, humor, loyalty, and sacrifice. He gave up his teaching position at the closer school so that Anne could have it instead. And he waited for her for years, showing his patience and steadfastness, despite her many rejections.
I think it’s worthy of note that all three of these amazing fictional men chose strong, smart, independent, and spirited women as their soulmates. 😉 I think it’s even more worthy of note that the authors who were inspired to write these heroes and heroines were/are equally clever and creative.
With the recent and untimely death of Jonathan Crombie last Wednesday (the talented Canadian actor who portrayed Gil in the film adaptations of Anne of Green Gables), as well as the anniversary of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s death coming up on Friday (she died on April 24, 1942), I’ve been reminded of the strength of my attachment to the “Anne” books, which I began reading in high school.
I am, as always, an Austen lover to the bone, so JA’s characters never leave me…
And, though I’m a newer convert to the wonderful world of Outlander, I’ve been passionate about catching up! Some of you know this already from my Facebook updates, but I was a guest author & panel presenter at the SOKY Book Fest this past weekend, and I had the pleasure of meeting Diana Gabaldon at the author reception. She couldn’t have been more gracious, and I loved getting to hear her thoughts on what inspired her to set the story in Scotland and how she began the process of “peeling the onion” on Jamie’s character and slowly discovering his many layers.
Who are your favorite fictional heroes???