Quick game for Valentine’s Day: who would be your chosen fictional character to take out on a date? Or, as it’s still lockdown in a lot of places, to stay in with to enjoy dinner for two?
Doesn’t matter whether you’re single, like me, or coupled up; it’s fiction.
Would it be the arrogant Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, who regularly appears to top the polls (you sort of forget his first name is Fitzwilliam). Or the spirited but callow Laurie from Alcott’s Little Women? Could it be passionate and idealistic George Emerson from E.M. Forster’s A Room with a View? Surely not Emily Brontë’s mean and moody Heathcliffe? Someone a little less… Historical, perhaps, such as Edward from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series?
For those with a preference for women, does George Elliot’s clever, impulsive Maggie Tulliver make you turn the pages faster? Flirtatious and independent Shug Avery from Walker’s The Colour Purple or prickly, punkish Lisbeth Salander from Steig Larsson’s ‘the Girl’ books? Could it be that a more overtly sexy, sassy character steams up your reading glasses, a Bond girl maybe, like the beautiful and acerbic Tiffany Case in Fleming’s Diamonds Are Forever? Or smart and lovely Anne Riordan from Chandler’s Farewell, My Lovely?
‘Fictosexuality’ is, apparently, the word for a physical attraction towards fictional characters. Though in terms of a Valentine’s date, we could make that someone you’re simply attracted to – it doesn’t have to be sexual.
What’s beneficial about finding book characters attractive is that, even though a physical description may be provided, we tend to focus more on their personalities and actions, not getting too hung up on looks. This differs from crushing on actors and media personalities, where physical appearance can dominate.
Not that this makes our choices more fortunate, necessarily. Sorry to say that I found Nino Sarratore in Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend novels horribly attractive, even though he behaved so appallingly. Though on the plus side, better a fictional ‘bad boy’ than a real-life one. Anyway, mainly, I prefer brainy – and closer to my own age. Atticus Finch? Okay, you’re on.
Read It Forward compiled a roll of ‘30 Characters from Literature We’d Want as Valentines’. Whilst it contains a few of the ‘usual suspects’, it’s a bit more quirky and thoughtful than many lists. The top fifteen are given below. They’re not necessarily my choices, but they get plenty of readers’ votes.
Do you agree with any of these choices? Or who is your fictional crush?
Jamie Fraser from Diane Gabaldon’s Outlander series.
Heathcliff from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights.
Hermione Grainger from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.
Lenore Stonecipher Beadsman in David Foster Wallace’s The Broom of the System.
The Cat in the Hat from Dr. Suess stories.
Amory Blaine in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise.
Augustus Waters from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
Peeta Mellark from Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games series.
The Lorax – Dr. Seuss again.
Edward Rochester in Charlotte Emily Brontë’s Jane Eyre.
Joelle van Dyne from David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest.
W.P. Inman from Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier.
Lawrence Selden in Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth.
Oedipa Maas from Thomas Pynchon’s The Crying Of Lot 49.
And just to add another female…
Lisbeth Salander from Stieg Larsson’s The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.