Confession: I hate the term “book boyfriend.” I don’t know if it’s because I dislike the word “boyfriend” due to the connotation or if I feel like “book boyfriend” feels childish. I mean, yeah, there are a lot of male characters I adore from literature (I wrote an entire series of posts about my favorites on The Fangirl Initiative), but to lower them to mere “boyfriend” status seems… wrong, somehow. Instead, I prefer to use the term “literary gentlemen.” So here are my top ten literary gentlemen.
(This prompt is for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Book Boyfriends/Girlfriends [Which characters do you have crushes on?])
Gilbert Blythe, from Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery: Hands down, Gilbert Blythe will always be my favorite literary gentleman. I fell in love with him as a child, but my adoration has only grown in recent years. He’s not a perfect person, but he’s perfect for Anne and I love how their relationship changes and grows. They don’t start off in love; they start off as friends and love comes out of that. I think it’s beautiful. Plus, Gilbert Blythe is a sweetheart and a dreamboat.
Almanzo Wilder, from the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder: Along with Gilbert Blythe, I fell in love with Almanzo from the Little House books at a young age. He was so chivalrous and brave, coming to rescue Laura from her terrible time as a school teacher, risking his life to help find food for the town. He was so romantic and swoon-worthy, and I’ve come to appreciate his character more and more as I grow up. Plus, Farmer Boy was always my favorite book.
William Cliffton, from The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy: I don’t know what it was about William Cliffton, but when I read The Disappearances earlier this year, I was completely enchanted by him. One of my Goodreads updates for the book was simply, “Hi, I love Will. Bye.” because I was so overwhelmed by his character while reading. He’s loyal and steadfast, thoughtful and kind. He keeps his promises, and while he’s quiet, he shows his affection through actions. *sigh*
Mr. Knightley, from Emma by Jane Austen: As much as I love Mr. Darcy, my favorite Jane Austen hero is Mr. Knightley. He’s sweet and kind, caring for all people, even if they aren’t in the same social class as him. Most of all, he cares deeply for Emma and wants to see her succeed. He loves her so much, he’s willing to speak up when she does something wrong and gently guide her into becoming a better person. He’s honest and clear-sighted and looks for the best in people. Basically, he’s adorable.
Percy Jackson, from Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan: A list of my favorite literary gentlemen wouldn’t be complete without Percy Jackson. He’s just so… wonderful. Yeah, he’s a crazy kid who happens to be the son of a Greek God and he makes a lot of stupid decisions and says a lot of dumb stuff. But he has a big heart and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to stop Kronos and basically save the world. He’s loyal to the point that his loyalty is his biggest weakness, but even then, he doesn’t let that stop him from succeeding. There is just so much about Percy Jackson I adore that it would take more than a paragraph to discuss. Stupid Seaweed Brain. *sobs*
Finnick Odair, from The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins: When I first met Finnick Odair in Catching Fire, I wasn’t sure what to think. Who is this sugar-cube loving weirdo? But as his story unfolded alongside Katniss’, I began to see a different side to him and that’s when I realized there was a lot more to Finnick than just the “sex symbol of the Capitol.” He’s protective and strong and willing to sacrifice everything for those he loves. He deserves so much more than he was given, and I’m still bitter about it.
Carswell Thorne, from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer: Pretty much from page one of Scarlet, I was in love with Carswell Thorne. He’s snarky and conceited and all sorts of reckless. Which is pretty much my favorite thing (other than the sweetheart best friend). But over the course of The Lunar Chronicles, Thorne become more than a scoundrel and criminal mastermind. He changes, becoming a hero, and that, my friends, is the biggest reason I love Carswell Thorne.
Nikolai Lantsov, from the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo: Much like with Thorne, I was head-over-heels in love with Nikolai Lantsov from his first introduction in Siege and Storm. And that was even before I knew he was a prince. Back there, he was simply a witty privateer, and I loved him. But my love for him grew as the trilogy progressed, and I’m pretty much a sobbing mess whenever I think about the “King of Scars.” I still can’t get over that Leigh Bardugo is writing a duology about him either. It’s everything I’ve wanted.
Atsushi Dojo, from Library Wars: Love and War by Kiiro Yumi & Hiro Arikawa: I don’t remember when I first picked up the Library Wars manga, but I know that I immediately loved it. Somewhere between that first volume and the final volume, I fell in love with Dojo. I, of course, knew he had to be Kasahara’s “prince” that rescued a book for her years previous, which only added to my adoration for him when it was finally revealed. He’s loyal and brave, caring about his soldiers and the freedom of libraries above all else. He doesn’t give up, and he finds a way out, no matter what. Plus, he’s so handsome…
Calvin O’Keefe, from the Time Quintet by Madeleine L’Engle: I recently re-read A Wrinkle in Time and some of the sequels and let me tell you, I ADORE Calvin O’Keefe. I’m sure that the first time I read this book in middle school I loved him, but I didn’t realize how much I did until I re-read it. Calvin is just an adorable cupcake. He doesn’t have the best home life, but he doesn’t let that stop him from being a kind and compassionate person. He cares for Meg, despite that she thinks she’s ugly. He also cares for Charles Wallace and the rest of the Murray family, even though he’s not related to him. Calvin is a “cool” kid, part of the basketball team, loved by many at school, but he doesn’t get a big head about it. He’s humble and brave, going above and beyond what is necessary to help save Meg’s father. He’s just wonderful in so many ways.
Of course, there are a plethora of other literary gentlemen I love. Almost all of the male characters from The Lord of the Rings are swoon-worthy, and I love most of the other Jane Austen heroes. There are so many male characters from comic books, manga, classic novels, and YA books that are just as wonderful.