Friday, May 6, 2011

Literary Crushes

How many times have you found yourself so head-over-heels in love that you wanted to spend all your time with just one person? It’s a beautiful and, for all the crazy number of people in this world, a rare thing. Something precious. Something to be nurtured, often in secret, because the idea of ridicule is so embarrassing, so painful? But you wouldn’t trade that feeling for the world . . .

How many times has that one person been fictional?

Okay, I’m going to share a list of my Literary Crushes in totally random order. Do please note two things, however:

1. I am talking about crushes! Not a character you simply like to read about/find yourself picking up more books on that character, etc. I mean a full-fledged (and usually, but not always, secret) crush!

2. All of these were before I was married. My Rohan is aware of (most of) these fellows and does, in fact, feel prepared to deal with the residual feelings (because some loves never truly die).

Okay, on to the noble company.

My very first literary crush happened when I was 14 years old. One bored evening a picked a certain thick volume off my parents’ bookshelf, purely on a whim. And was introduced to the dark, twisted, fascinating world of 221B Baker St. and this fine gentleman.

He was dangerous. He was polished. He was tortured. He was brilliant. He was musical, analytical, lethal, and sardonic. I mean . . . what’s not to love?

So I crushed pretty badly for quite a while there, read every single short story or novel Conan Doyle ever wrote on the man and even dared attempt a few spin-offs by other authors (notably, this series).

Thus I first learned what a literary crush means.

Following that, and not too very long after, I picked up The Lord of the Rings. I was familiar with the story because my father had read it aloud to me and my brothers back when I was about 9 years old, during our move from England back to the states. So I knew I loved it already. But I did not expect to fall so very hard and fast for the main character: Frodo Baggins.

A hobbit.

Well, when you’re 14, there’s not accounting for taste.

But seriously, I just adored this brave fellow who was willing to risk so much and risk it so beautifully for the sake of others. And, unlike Sam, he didn’t have a possible love-interest waiting for him back home, which made him all the more tragically appealing to me! So I crushed really bad and found myself totally swept up in his adventures.

(Another note: I did not fall in love with the movie incarnation of this character. I mean, Elijah Wood was very wide-eyed-sweet and all that . . . but he just did not compare to my own imagined Frodo. And he never will.)

So that crush on Frodo lasted a good long while. Until about midway through The Two Towers. Because you see . . . that’s when I met Faramir. (Again, not the movie version. I am sticking strictly to literary crushes, not cinematic ones).

If Frodo was a crush, Faramir was a passion. Mixed with a crush.

Okay, moving on.

After that, at various times my literary crushes included:

Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle

Sydney Carton from A Tale of Two Cities (you knew there’d be a bad-boy in there somewhere)

Eugenides from The Queen’s Thief series

Mac from Eight Cousins (O! I crushed hard on him! In fact, that may have been an earlier crush than Sherlock Holmes . . .)

Dr. Neil McNeill from Christy (book, not TV series. Didn’t particularly care for the TV series)

Cyrano de Bergerac from the play. (And no, his romantic French prose didn’t hurt a thing! “Non, merci! Non, merci! Mais. . .chanter, rêver, rire, passer, être seul, être libre . . .”)

Wow. What a strange romantic history I have had all in my head. Some of these I have to ask myself . . . where the heck did that come from? But, hey. True love knows no bounds.

I once really crushed on a historical figure, Major John Pitcairn, who died tragically at the Battle of Bunker Hill. I fell for him while studying Lexington, then turned the page to Bunker Hill and . . . Sniffle! Sob!

My brother very practically pointed out that he would have been long dead by the time I was born anyway. Thanks! ‘Cause that helps! (sniffle)
Anyway, those are mine. I’m sure I’ve forgotten several, but that’s a goodly number of them anyway! Who were some of yours?



Interesting. Can't say that I've ever had a crush on a fictional charecter. I only read the Magic Tree House series when I was younger, and truth be told I'm not all that into boys, despite the fact that I'm fourteen. I have to admit I'm surprised you liked Frodo that much. He bothers me, personally.

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Well, at 14 I wasn't into boys either . . . except in books. I liked fictional characters much better than real boys, who really need time to grow up! Looking back, I'm not quite sure why I crushed on Frodo either . . . Faramir is much more my type. ;)

Stephanie said...

It was Aragorn for me, then Faramir. I very, very, *very* closely self-identified with Eowyn, so followed her through all the ups and downs of that romantic sub-plot. :) HUGE crush on "Strider" as we first meet A in FotR.

Prior to that, I had a GI-NORMOUS crush on Florian from Lloyd Alexander's Westmark, and I'm pretty sure he was the first one. Actually, now that I remember him--he hasn't come to mind frequently or lately for quite some time now--I think those old feelings are still quite there! The nice thing is, much of what I like about him I see in my sweetheart, too. :)

...I don't know that I've actually had any literary crushes aside from those three. At least, none come to mind at the moment. I tend to be very dedicated to a select few of a very particular type of hero, I guess.

Oooh, no, wait. There was an extraordinarily charming gypsy from Alexander's first Vesper Holly adventure. I forget his name, but I liked him quite well. And I quite enjoyed Lionel from A's The Cat Who Wished To Be a Man, I guess, too. :)

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Oh! I can't believe I forgot about all those fantastic Lloyd Alexander characters! Particularly Lionel . . . do you know, I think I even kind of minorly crushed on Fleuder Flam. He was just so funny! But with secret strengths. I like charactres like that. It's been a long time since I read the Vesper Holly books, and I remember the charming gypsy . . . but can't for the life of me recall his name either!

I think that's cute that you identified with Eowyn so closely. :) And I remember being so pleased and surprised when I realized that my Rohan had all the romantic qualities I liked in my favorite literary crushes (as varied as those crushes may have been). You know you've found your hero when . . .

Now I want to reread The Cat Who Wished to be a Man.

Faith King said...

My LOTR crush was Éomer. So much that my friends called me "The Rightful Queen of Rohan" for a while. And I wrote an Éomer/Lothíriel fanfic.

Edmund from Narnia.

Most of the others are TV boys, notably Jonas Quinn from Stargate SG-1 and Chuck Bartowski from Chuck.

I... have a LOT of fictional crushes. *blush* Takes the edge off. ;-)

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Literary Crushes are awesome! ;) My friends used to tell me that I was setting myself up for a fall, though . . . that my ideal man was too unrealistic. Don't let them tell you that. Literary heroes do exist in real life too, and they are well worth waiting for!

And Chuck is just adorable. I never crushed on him, but he's so . . .well . . . adorable! :) Your fanfic sounds fun, too.

Anonymous said...

First, I just want to say I finished reading Heartless and I LOVED IT! Really, I did! I was hooked from begginning to end! Usually that doesn't happen for me. You did a wonderful, amazing job! And I can't wait to read Veiled Rose! =)
Anyway, on to literary crushes:
Jamie McKie (from Liz Curtis Higgs' Thorn In My Heart, Fair Is The Rose, and Whence Came A Prince. Aw man, when the cover for Prince came out I thought I'd blush. He's a hunk!)

Frank Churchill (from Emma by J.A. I thought he was kinda cute, despite his blundering with Jane)

Iain Campbell (from Kathleen Morgan's These Highland Hills series. Usually the hero of a historical romance book turns out to be a big jerk towards the middle of the book [at least I think so]. Not Iain. Reading about him, he sounds like such an easy guy to be around. I liked him from the begginning to the end! And that's saying something. I know we're all human, but the way most guys in fiction act makes me want to smack them badly!)

And thanks to you(no, really)I now have a bit of a crush on Aethelbald (which is weird because he's actually Jesus) and can I just say that the part where he and Una are on the beach and she's dying is my favorite scene in all the book. It moved me alot... Anyway, he tops as the best hero of all fiction (because he's the aforementioned Jesus. lol).

And I think that's about it. As far as TV goes my first, first crush on a fictional character was James Hiller from Liberty's Kids(he's 14 and I was 13 or 14 at the time so it worked =P).
I also happen to like Richard Armitage(3 words: tall, dark, and handsome).
And I thought Charlie Epps from Numb3rs was cute too (and having skills at math, which I totally lack, doesn't hurt either).

Ok, that's all I gotta say.
Keep up the good work!

Christa McKane

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

I love keeping this blog because I end up with so many fun reading suggestions!

Thank you for sharing, and thank you so much for all your kind comments as well. That did my little author heart good! :) I hope you will enjoy Veiled Rose as well!

Anonymous said...

Hey, Christa McKane again.
I'm glad my words encouraged you! =)
But I'm also writing to correct a mistake I made (and I can't edit posts on this blog): Richard Armitage is an British actor, not a fictional character. The two TV shows that I've seen him on are BBC's Robin Hood as Guy of Gisborne and Spooks/MI-5 as agent Lucas North.

Faith King said...

@Christa McKane - isn't he the guy playing Thorin in the Hobbit also?

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Oh, and he played Mr. Thornton from "North and South" too! I really liked him in that. Haven't seen him in those other roles, but will have to check out the BBC Robin Hood. Is he really playing Thorin, Faith? Now that is an interesting casting job . . . wouldn't see him as a dwarf!

Faith King said...

Yeah... it turns out that behind the beards and makeup and shrinking camera tricks quite a lot of the dwarf actors are... not what you'd expect. ;-)

Hannah said...

I know this is a really late comment, (over a year later!) but I found this post simply hilarious.

Most of my literary crushes have been short and sweet. This might have something to do with the fact that I read books really fast, and meet interesting characters all the time.

But here is a list (not in any particular order) of some who stand out.

Legolas (okay, okay, I probably wouldn't have fallen so hard for him without the movies)from LoTR.

M from "Winnie the Horse Gentler" by Dandi Daley Mackall. He was just so mysterious and tragic in the way he kept to himself, but utterly brilliant.

Leinad from "The Kingdom Series" by Chuck Black. So young and so determined to serve the king even through slavery and torture. Sigh..

Tagg from "Taggerung" by Brian Jacques. Yes, I know he's an otter, but he's otterly awesome in how he revolts from evil to become a hero.

Will Scarlet from "Scarlet" by Stephan R. Lawhead. Twas a rather short crush, but strong while it lasted.

Wulf from "The Brethren" by the amazing historical novelist H. Rider Haggard.

There's another one on the tip of tongue, but since I can't remember him, I guess he wasn't so important.

And the most obvious one for me at this time, (and he has secured himself in a place for all time) is...


Unknown said...

I also am about to post a SERIOUSLY late comment, but I have to. I'm with Hannah... Eanrin! :-[