Wednesday, April 15, 2009

My Top 10 Literary Heroes

This has been a few days in the gathering and is a response to The Edtrix's post on her blog Ribbons of Light. My top 10 favorites, these were hard to decide on and you'll find many of Jane Austen's heroes on this list mostly because I just love them so much! goes:

1. Rev. Henry Tilney of Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
No, I'm not copying, really! Northanger Abbey has been my favorite Austen novel since age 15 when I begged for the audio book for my birthday. Every time I read or listen to the book I fall in love with him all over again. The why is easy, he's such a humorous goofball but with a good head on his shoulders. He's a clergyman from a respectable family, worth a bit of money in his own right, hardworking, kind, honest, messy, dog lover, fashion buff but a man's man and a bookworm. I also like the fact that besides his sister Henry has a low - or I guess streamlined view of young women and those are changed by the simple goodness of Catherine Morland's heart. He also looks so well in high boots, tall hat and great coat! Adding actor JJ Feild to the mix and you get a goof smile and a great tease. What's not to like?

2 Frederick Wentworth
2. Captain Frederick Wentworth of Perusasion by Jane Austen
Brave, bold, sea faring man with a good sense of humor and many great stories to tell. Kind, generous heart, good with children, a loyal friend, always does what's right and is good in a crisis. I'd rather take a walk in Bath under his umbrella than with anyone else. Add the ability to write a romantic turn of phrase. Ciaran Hind's portrayal of Captain Wentworth is my absolute favorite and I don't think anyone can rival him (even the lovely Rupert Penry-Jones), he looks so great in the uniform!

3 John Thornton
3. Mr. John Thornton of North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell
I did read the book first before watching the film but it was news about the film that first got me interested in Gaskell so really Richard Armitage was the face of Mr. Thornton for me throughout the book. What to say about Thornton? Well, besides being tall, dark and handsome, he has a great accent, is a fair and honest businessman and master. I love that Margaret opens the hopeless romantic side of him, he's very passionate by nature and she challenges him to express it not only in his love for her but also in kindness for other people. I also admire his longing to better himself through extensive reading and listening to what others have to say. Love for the book and movie that's what makes him number three on my list!

4 Edward Ferrars
4. Edward Ferrars of Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen
I must confess I do like Hugh Grant in his portrayal of this character as well as actor Bosco Hogan in the 1981 version, but although Dan Stevens isn't always my ideal of Edward I like this newest adaptation best.
Edward of the book is such a quiet, thoughtful, earnest fellow it's hard not to love him when Elinor learns to. He's responsible, kindhearted, generous, self-sacrificing, loyal, honorable and patient. He enjoys simple country life and the love of true friends over popularity and style. And he's truly deserving of Elinor who I admire greatly.

5 Mr Knightley
5. Mr. Knightley of Emma by Jane Austen
Mr. Knightley is the type of guy that I know my father would like me to bring home (but one of my dad's favorite books is Persuasion). Mr. Knightley is the truest gentleman in the world. His patience in waiting for Emma is so romantic in itself, even though he has a bit of a hard time expressing himself. Never swayed by anyone, he's steady, unmovable especially in his love for Emma. He's honest and straightforward and always says what he really thinks, he's the voice of truth throughout the story. I can't help liking Mark Strong best even though he does tend to have a certain gruffness and lecturing side of Knightley. Jeremy Northam did a good job but I still think he was a bit too good looking for Knightley.

6 Frank Harrison
6. Dr. Frank Harrison of Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell
Talking about hopeless romantics brings to mind young unexpected Dr. Harrison who enters a woman's world at Cranford and has every single lady, including his housekeeper, thinking he's ready to propose! I haven't read the story but I adore Simon Woods in the role and my heart always goes out to him when at the end of episode three it leaves him very bewildered. But after unraveling the mystery and fighting for his dreams he gets the girl he loves and deserves. Satisfaction!
I also can't help harboring a crush on his jokester friend Jack Marshland who besides being dark and of pleasing countenance also has a nice singing voice.

7 Arthur Clennam
7. Mr. Arthur Clennam of Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
A new favorite of mine it doesn't hurt that he's acted by Matthew Macfadyen. I definitely haven't read the book and I haven't even seen the end of the miniseries (2 more episodes to go) but Arthur's kindness, honesty, and slight bewilderment are truly charming. And Amy Dorrit loves him so he really must be someone special.

8 Nicholas Nickleby
8. Nicholas Nickelby of novel by same name by Charles Dickens
I've seen both recent versions of this film and enjoyed the one with actor James D'Arcy so much it's officially on my favorites list. I love Nicholas' kindness and hardwork to help and better those around him whether it be orphaned schoolboys or young damsels in distress. His wakening to harsh reality is sad but he bears loss bravely and rises again and earns the respect and beauty he deserves.

9. Mr. Jack Worthing (alias Earnest) from The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
He's been through the quizzing of Lady Bracknell and is found wanting in only point - he never knew his parents. Colin Firth does a wonderful job of portraying the stumbling, fun-loving, kind guardian, and adventure seeker who will do anything for the love of his lady, even change his name. This could be my favorite movie ever and after reading the play I still love the character of Jack. Silly, I know, but a great guy all the same.

10 Edmund Bertram 10 Edmund Bertram
10. Mr. Edmund Bertram of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
Yes, yet another Austen hero! But although once swayed by a beautiful woman Edmund is a worthy hero, worthy even of Fanny Price's goodness. Content to be a country parson Edmund values his faith and family even above beauty and talent. Tempted in many ways by Miss Crawford, Edmund stays his kindhearted, studious, sensible self.
I love Nicholas Farrell as Edmund but Blake Ritson almost rivaled his preformance, I actually enjoyed how he became forgetful and hopeless when he saw Fanny in a new light. Silly, but a good steady man.

So that's it. I'm also working on my top 10 favorite heroines and villains and almost have them ready. I'd love to hear your thoughts and who your favorites are. This was so much fun! :)



The Editrix said...

I enjoyed reading your list. :-) I look forward to seeing your favourite villains and heroines!

Liz said...

What about choosing your Top Ten most Moving Relationships in a period movie.
For example.Colin Firth and Elizabeth Shu (sp!)and Emma Thompson with Kenneth Branagh in "Much Ado about Nothing" would probably be somewhere on My List.

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