Monday 14 February 2011

Literary Crushes

Today is St. Valentine's Day, a day to celebrate your love. Since I am currently gloriously single, I am not going to celebrate my love with a real person - rather, my love for a harem of three literary chaps.

I quite regularly develop crushes on literary characters - although a little odd, I sort of welcome these crushes since, to me, it shows the skill of a writer. If you invest so much in a character that you wish they were real - well, an author is doing a fine job!

1) Silk

Silk, or Prince Kheldar, is a Drasnian Prince - a cheat, a liar, a swindler, an acrobat, and a spy. He is deliciously sarcastic, self-deprecating and arrogant about his quite considerable abilities. He sees all life as a game and is a fervent bachelor until he meets his match in Velvet during the Mallorean series.

Silk is far from attractive - being slightly rat-faced, with a long nose that twitches when he starts to gamble. Everything I love about him is to do with that attitude.

Silk: So, which boat did you want to steal?
Garion: We're not stealing, we're borrowing.
Silk: Did you plan to bring it back when you're done with it?
Garion: No.
Silk: Then the proper word is steal.

[They pick a boat]

Belgarath: This is a really bad boat. If you were going to steal one, couldn't you have picked something a little nicer.
Silk: Told you.

2) Gabriel

Gabriel Wolfe is the dark anti-hero of L J Smith's best trilogy for YA - Dark Visions. He is handsome in an icy way, with chiaroscuro colouring, dark, dark hair and pale skin. His eyes are grey, coolly mocking. Gabriel is... just... I can't even say how much I adored this guy when I was fourteen years old. I must have wished one hundred times for him to walk from the pages of the book I held. I read particular quotes about him until I virtually knew them by heart. I'm almost embarrassed about the extent of my crush on this guy. And why? Because, over the course of three books, we're allowed in the see the very heart of Gabriel, and his fierce love for Kaitlyn.

It was only then that she realized, that she remembered, what the true danger in this was. Only then that she understood what Gabriel had meant by his warnings.

Because she could feel what he felt. And along with the gratitude, the sheer satisfaction and relief, were other emotions. Appreciation, joy, wonder, and - oh, dear God, love....

Gabriel loved her.

And this:

And it was good just to hold her and touch the softness of her skin. He wanted to hold her hard, not to hurt her but to keep her safe, to show her that he was strong enough to protect her. Her beauty was like fire and strange music, and he loved her.

3) Anomander Rake

This is a more recent crush, and hence hasn't hit as hard as the other two did (since I was in my teens then, and desperate to experience true love). I'm a little older, wiser and probably more cynical - and Anomander Rake fits the bill for this sort of crush.

Rake is a Tiste Andii, nearly seven feet tall, with ebony-black skin, silver hair, sharp features and eyes with epicanthal folds and vertically-slitted pupils whose iris' change colour depending on his mood. Rake can also change form to an enormous, silver-maned black dragon. Rake is also currently the wielder of Dragnipur, a silver-hilted bastard sword forged by the Elder God Draconus.

"There is no struggle too vast, no odds too overwhelming, for ever should we fail- should we fall- we will know that we have lived."
— Anomander Rake

All three of these guys share one characteristic - towering arrogance. I do like my guys to be bad boys with a sneer and a sarcastic comment (in literature, obviously!)

On this Valentine's Day, please share with me your literary crushes!


  1. Anomander Rake, you and me both!

  2. Anime crushes - Sebastian from Kuroshitsuji! Butler who is also a demon. Badass. Kills baddies with knives and forks. Makes tea.

    Urahara Kisuke from Bleach. Blonde, mysterious, dark past but also a bit silly. Got to be able to laugh at yourself...

    Book crushes -
    Sirius Black from Harry Potter. Also Tonks, she was awesome.

    Comics -
    John Constantine but I would probably make him take a shower first.

  3. Just a couple:

    Priscilla 'Hutch' Hutchins from Jack McDevitt's Engines of God series. Over the course of the series, Hutch starts off investigating the odd celestial artifacts that focus on the series, ends up leading a group across an insanely dangerous planet (That's about to be destroyed by a supernova) and finally ends up as a senior Fleet officer coordinating a galaxy-wide research project. She's relentlessly competent, compassionate, doesn't take any crap and is at the same time completely human and relatable. Hutch is great, arguably the best female SF protagonist not enough people know about.

    Huillam D'Averc from Moorcock's Count Brass novels because, well...he's HOT:) Slightly amoral, swashbuckling, basically decent and ultimately doomed and tragic. Edmund Blackadder from Blackadder II with better hair:)

  4. Comic crushes too, huh? Oracle and Black Canary from Birds of Prey, especially the Gail Simone run:)

  5. If Goddesses count then Tahkasis from Dragonlance.

  6. Silk was the very first one that came to my mind, too. I'll probably never read those books again, but I had SUCH a crush on him when I was 14... and still do, really.

    Ditto F'nor from the Dragonriders of Pern books by Anne McCaffrey. Again, upon adult reflection, there are some really dodgy things bout those books, but I would do F'nor. And Robinton. What was Menolly thinking going off with that younger dude, her and Robinton were SO meant to be together.

    And BRON. Guh, Bron. Hero of The Wolf Within, by Pamela Belle, which I'm due to review some time this year. I was initially sold on the series by the artist's depiction of him on the cover (which, OK, looks a bit like Christian Slater), but I fell in love with the character, too.

    Guh - I can tell I'm going to need to come back to this post after work when I have time to think. I know there have been SO MANY.

    Are we allowed to include characters from TV Shows? I'm guessing probably not, but still...

  7. Mrs Amelia Underwood from the Dancers at the End of Time series! Principled, sentimental, and feisty in a non-cliche way.

  8. Ce Nedra. I was actually dating a girl who looked like her when I read Belgarion for the first time.

    A more recent one is Alexia Tarabotti. She'd probably drive me bonkers in real life, but in a book she is great.

    My first literary crush on the other hand was the girls that the Hardy Boys hung out with, but that is a looong time ago now.

    And since someone mentioned comics:
    Psylocke, as drawn by Jim Lee, and Phoenix in the Excalibur comics.

  9. You get a bonus for including Anomander Rake. He is certifiable badassery. In fact, wouldn't it be cool if he swung Dragnipur at every teenage vampire/werewolf crush? LOL! Edward and Jacob can pull the wagon for a while within the sword.

    I am sure your crush will only grow as the books go on. ;)

    I'm with weirdmage and Alexia Tarabotti....there's simply something about her.

    I would add to my crushes:

    October Daye from Seanan McGuire's Fae series. Half human Half Fae with pointy ears? Yes please!!

    Arwen from LOTR. Sorry, but the eternal fantasy fanboy in me will never let that crush die.

    Sgt. Hellian, Bonehunter, Drunk, and all around crazy ass girl....but awesome nonetheless, from Erikson's Malazan series.

    Viridiana Sovari from Brent Weeks Night Angel trilogy. My god this girl oozes sexuality whilst remaining eternally grounded. She is hotness incarnate. Picture Scarlet Johansson from Iron Man 2...that's what Vi looks like. Uh....YUM!

    Jenine Gyre also from Brent Weeks Night Angel series, but is the opposite of Vi in that she is a completely chaste princess initially, but over the books grows up and becomes the kind of woman I would totally marry. She is just amazing.

  10. Anomander Rake? Really? Having a crush on Drizzt Do'Urden (or however you spell his name) would be a little lame; having a crush on Steven Erikson's Drizzt-fanfic-Mary-Sue is grounds for stopping talking to you.

  11. Alright, that may have been a bit harsh. I'll still talk to you. But maybe with a tiny bit of disappointment.

  12. Amanda, on the subject of Rake, just wait until you get to Memories of Ice. :)

    Me? Karin Murphy from the Dresden books, and Seren Pedac from Midnight Tides (and subsequent Malazan volumes.)

  13. @ David Moore. Rake would take your pitiful Drizzt and feed Dragnipur into his gullet before he could even swing a scimitar...oh and then he'd land his retooled skykeep on him.

    Rake is ten times the character that Salvatore-created Drizzt character is. Drizzt is a poorer baby brother to Rake.

    Fanfic...pah...madness sir, utter madness.

  14. Sounds like you have the hero's ready to fight for you Amanda. Good luck with that and enjoy. I myself don't have a literary heroine. So, guys if you can suggest any, I'll be happy to pick up the book.

  15. A few more:
    From Dianna Wynne Jones books:
    Mordion in Hexwood - sooo much.
    Tom in Fire and Hemlock.
    Chrestomancy - of course.
    And Howl from Howl's Moving Castle, just a bit.

    From Tolkein:
    Aragorn - the book but completely and totally not the movie. He wasn't meant to be that buff and greasy.

    From Stephen King:
    ... Uh, do author crushes count? 'Cause... yeah. Otherwise: Cuthbert from Wizard and Glass, and probably a whole bunch more people I can't bring to mind right now.

    From Stephen Gould:
    David from Jumper, just a bit. Especially in Reflex where he gets tortured in a really twisted way. What? I never said I wasn't messed up.

    From Audrey Niffenegger:
    Henry from the Time Traveller's Wife
    Fucked up? Check. Super power? Check

    From Susanna Clarke:
    Jonathan Strange... you know, when he starts getting dark and fucked up.

    Ummm, so basically, it's not a hard and fast rule, but: good people who get fucked up and have some kind of angst (especially secret identity angst) but also a super power and/or magic. I don't really do the Bad Boy thing, but I do angst in a monumentally big way.

    I have more, but I think that will do for now.

  16. I too fall into the angsty-and-damaged-but-inherently-good crush category.

    - Henry from "Time Traveller's Wife". Very, very yes! (But without the whole feet thing. Because that's just... harsh)

    - Neil Gaiman's Dream, of course. He's mopey, self-absorbed and (let's face it) just a touch emo.

    - Aragorn, too - but only when he's Strider. The minute he starts on the "Aragorn son of Arathorn" business, I lose all interest. After that, he's just elfbait.

    - Stark from "Only Forward". Just because.

    ...but, really, it's all about John Rokesmith from "Our Mutual Friend". It's beyond a schoolgirl thing. My copy of the book actually falls open at the page with his big speech to Bella... and I've been known to sigh dreamily as I read it. Christ, I'm embarrassing.

  17. @serenitywomble Oh! I always thought I was alone with my Cuthbert crush! He was so snarky and funny when everyone else was a bit dour- loved him, wish we'd seen more.

    Other MAJOR literary crushes include:

    Ford Prefect- some people want the Doctor to come and whisk them away in the TARDIS; when I was 13, I wanted Ford to turn up and take me to a really good party. I honestly think my enormous love of Ford helped form a great deal of my personality.

    Crowley from Good Omens- in some ways, another version of Ford- tendancy to want to avoid responsibility, cool wit, happy to sink a few drinks... I read Good Omens over and over again to the point where I think I've got all of Crowley's bits memorized (as it were). He is just too cool for school.

    If we're talking anime, then I will mention Spike Spiegal from Cowboy Bebop (the sexiest animated character ever) and Nicholas Wolfwood from Trigun, who was just hawt, quite frankly.

  18. I have honestly never thought of this before. Thinking of it now, I can't think of a single female character I have ever had a crush on or would.

    Those closest I have come to this sort of thing is which characters I wish I could be. I think the first that admired was Astinus Lorekeeper from the Dragonlance books.

  19. Faramir for ever. My first and biggest literary crush. The LotR movies did his character no favors but he was truely swoonworthy in the books.
    Imriel from the Kushiel's series by Jacqueline Carey. He is such a hot mess. The trying to be good but wanting to be bad angst. Yeah it is pretty sexy.
    Mr. Darcy of course. The height of repressed passion. His hot and cold struggle against his attraction to Elizabeth Bennet is the reason for my disapointment in almost every romance since.

  20. I am swooning over Matthew Clairmont in Deborah Harkness' "A Discovery of Witches"! You mentioned "investing in a character"... Is it kosher to admit that I also fell madly in love with the heroes in my novels while I was writing them? I spent so much time with them, and in order to ensure that the heroine and the reader would love him, I had to fall in love with him, too.

    Especially my romantic version of Dracula in "Dracula, My Love" and the hero Michael Tyler in "Nocturne." I have a soft spot for gorgeous, charismatic, extremely intelligent and accomplished vampires with a conscience, who struggle daily to rise above their dark desires, to keep the mortal woman they love safe... :)

    I wrote a blog on this very subject that you might enjoy: "The Heroes I Love To Write About":

    Happy Valentine's Day!

  21. @loummorgan

    Henry: OMG, yeah, the feet thing was HARSH. However, I loved how, umm, *inventive* he was with time travel as a horny teenager. Ohmygoodness the ideas that gave me!

    I am also with you on Aragorn as Strider. It's that whole brooding-but-in-hiding thing. Secret-Identity-ish, I guess.

    I'd probably go for Dream, but he doesn't blow me away. Richard Mayhew from Neverwhere, on the other hand... He was so cute in the TV show as well.

    We weren't meant to fancy the pants off Cuthbert? But... he's the funny pretty one! Not that I don't always have a thing for Roland, but that's more in a 'I see the more violent and rather scary side of myself, there' sort of a way. I would have loved to have seen more of Cuthbert, too. Wonder who they'll cast if they get that far in the Crazy film/TV project thing they have planned...

    And OHMYGOD, how could I forget Ford Prefect? Yes, yes, yes. I would take the Doctor or Ford Prefect quite happily, but then again - why not have both? I'm sure they would get along...

    :D Good to be reminded that not all my crushes are angsty.

  22. Henry Winter from A Secret History: brainy and sociopathic, smokes Lucky Strikes. Essentially my perfect man.

    Zaphod Beeblebrox: my first crush, from the radio series (guh, that voice). "I grew that arm just for you, baby. Took me six months but it was worth every minute." That panache, that stupidity - I can now see the pattern of my ex boyfriends emerging.

    The Marquis de Carabas, Neverwhere: probably because he was played by Patterson Joseph, but really - what a magnificent bastard.

    Dream, Sandman: literally dreamy (boom boom).

    Sam Vimes, Discworld: driven, sarcastic and awkward. Wonderful.

  23. Bellis Coldwine from 'The Scar', just because you know she'd be dirty... Plus a bit Goth. Heh.

  24. Oh, yeah-- Henry from Time Traveler's Wife. I love him!

  25. My biggest literary crush has got to be on Vanyel Ashkevron, from Mercedes Lackey's "Last Herald-Mage" trilogy. I can't help it; there's just always been something about this guy that draws me to him.

  26. Dang Ria, you took the words right out of my mouth!

    Another would be Prince Sanglant from Kate Elliot's Crown of Stars series. Dark, broody, passionate and Other, what's not to love.

    Oh and Joscelin from Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel series. He's just awesome.

  27. Coming in late to the crush-fest here, but ... Lord Peter Wimsey is mine. I totally understand if (as is speculated) Sayers created Harriet Vane because she herself had fallen in love with Lord Peter.

  28. Late to this post but had to comment to say how much I like it! I'm tickled that you said Gabriel from Dark Visions. I think that was one of my favorite L. J. Smith series. And Silk is an interesting choice!