My Favorite Romantic Literary Heroes

These are the men who made me feel their pain when the course of love did not run smoothly. Both in the book and on film, these are the guys who suffered long and silently before finally winning their one true love. I adore a tortured hero, one whose devotion endures through much tribulation. So these few are my absolute favorite book-to-screen Valentines.

Who is your favorite literary Valentine?


John Thornton

 Margaret may not have looked back, but we couldn't stop staring at this forlorn face. (Richard Armitage as the BBC's John Thornton in  North and South )

Margaret may not have looked back, but we couldn't stop staring at this forlorn face. (Richard Armitage as the BBC's John Thornton in North and South)

Of course. Who else could possibly top John Thornton? No one reveals the agonized longing to be loved like Thornton -- both in prose and in smoldering looks. Thornton will always be my King of Hearts.

Awards:

Master of the Smoldering Stare

Dad-approved Spouse Material

 Kisser Extraordinaire


Edward Rochester

 As tempestuous, rugged, and sublime as nature itself. (Toby Stephens as the BBC's Edward Rochester in  Jane Eyre )

As tempestuous, rugged, and sublime as nature itself. (Toby Stephens as the BBC's Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre)

He's moody and a bit unpredictable, but once he's smitten by Jane, his passion and devotion are unwavering. Caught in an impossible situation, he makes a desperate attempt to secure his happiness. I love Rochester's good side: the man who was tricked into marrying a woman that swiftly slid into insanity but still took care of her; the man who took care of a bastard child not his own. His yearning to align his life with the good and pure Jane is heartrending. Whenever he calls out "Jane!" my heart does a little flip.

Awards:

Top Jokester

Skeleton in the Closet Winner

Most Likely to be Burned by Life (and fire!) Award 

 


Col. Brandon

 A gentle kindness pervades this man's every word and act. (Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon in Sony Pictures'  Sense and Sensibility )

A gentle kindness pervades this man's every word and act. (Alan Rickman as Col. Brandon in Sony Pictures' Sense and Sensibility)

I adore Col. Brandon's quiet selflessness. Patient, meek, but all the while a strong and reliable force for good -- I can't help thinking what a fool Marianne is for overlooking this gleaming gem of a man. 

Awards:

Sweetest Man in the Shire

Reliable to the Core

Will Buy You a Piano Even if You Snub Him Award


Gabriel Oak

 Holding in his pain one last moment. (Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel Oak in  Far from the Madding Crowd)

Holding in his pain one last moment. (Matthias Schoenaerts as Gabriel Oak in Far from the Madding Crowd)

Gabriel Oak is the anti-Alpha male, which is why I really, really love him. Here is a man who patiently puts others' concerns largely over his own and is as steady and constant in his affection, purpose, and duty as any hero of more ostentatious fame or nobility. He's not rich, but has a character of gold.

Awards:

Nature Boy (Excellent with sheep)

Won't Lie to You Award

Still Loves You Even if You Marry an Idiot Award