Who Are Your Literary Crushes?

Alison Morris -- February 17th, 2009

Today’s topic of discussion comes compliments of my outrageously intelligent and well-read friend Peggy O’Connell, who posted the following bit on her LiveJournal blog a week ago. I thought it posed such a good question that I asked Peg’s permission to reprint it here. Can’t wait to see what responses you come up with to this one!

I was feeling particularly disinclined to get out of bed this morning, so I was lounging around pretending to be Nero Wolfe, lying in my yellow pajamas and bellowing for Archie. Then I thought that if I had an Archie, I’d be particularly disinclined to get out of bed. 

This led to a discussion with my husband Kevin about literary crushes. I fully admit that if Archie Goodwin or Peter Whimsey were real (and living now), I’d totally leave my husband to be their love slaves. I have literary crushes on them.

I challenged Kev to name his female literary crushes, and he couldn’t. We both lay there for a good 10 minutes racking our brains, trying to come up with a female worthy of literary crush. I even went and scanned the book shelves.

So I throw the question open, particularly to the males out there. What female literary character do you have a hankering for? Comic books are completely ok, but no fair using characters that have subsequently been in movies if you liked them because you liked the actress.

It was really depressing to realize that there are plenty of books I’ve loved with female protagonists, but that as a whole, they’re not presented as being quite so godlike and admirable as the males. We use the term Mary Sue, but perhaps it should be Murray Sue.

Come on, people, help me out here. There’s got to be someone. Don’t make me lose faith in literature.

51 thoughts on “Who Are Your Literary Crushes?

  1. Daisy

    I know you’ll think I’m weird, but Huckleberry Finn is one of my favorite guys of all time. @Mallory Loehr: chrestomanci is another 😀 Why are men in literature so much more attractive than men in real life?

  2. Emily

    Okay, one of my big male literary crushes as a teen was Taita from River God, by Wilbur Smith. (although I’d want the non-eunuch version) Also Sandy and Dennys from Madeleine L’Engle’s Many Waters. Michael Olson from Christopher Pike’s Final Friends series. Sirius Black. Harry Potter, kind of, since according to JKR, he was born the same year as me and thus we would be the same age were he alive. (and in some corner of my mind, I think he is!:) Aragorn. Cutter the martial arts teacher from Julie Kenner’s Demon-Hunter series. And if we can include graphic novel characters, I would say Hellboy and Spider-Man/Peter Parker, and Wolverine and Gambit from X-Men. And I know he was a bit screwed up, but I always had a thing for Hamlet.

  3. Tara

    Vicki, funny you bring up Menolly. I’m a huge McCaffrey addict, and I’ve always been in love with Sorka (Dragonsdawn) and Torene (Chronicles of Pern). I think they’re fabulous, strong, intelligent women. And Damia from the Tower series. McCaffrey just makes too many awesome female characters that I’d totally give up the male gender for 🙂

  4. Elizabeth

    Female literary crushes? Definitely Jo March. Idgie Threadgood. Galadriel. Nefret, from Elizabeth Peters’ Egyptology mysteries. (Ditto her husband, Ramses. Perfection on a stick.) This awesome character, Gabby, from David Grossman’s The Zig-Zag Kid. You’re right, though; it’s a lot harder to think of female crushes!

  5. Cheryl

    The fictional females I’ve had crushes on aren’t romances, but rather girls/women I’ve wanted to be: Sara Crewe from A LITTLE PRINCESS, Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, Rosalind from AS YOU LIKE IT, Honour from Robin McKinley’s BEAUTY and Aerin from her THE HERO AND THE CROWN, Jo March. Men, however, might be strictly for romance (and some of them flings, as they’d be impossible to live with): Stephen Maturin, Lord Peter, Eugenides, and Dexter from THIS LULLABY.

  6. praxilla

    As a proto-crush (so young I really didn’t know what it was at the time): Aragorn. Not very original, but, well, I was sincere. And among Jane Austen heroes, I prefer Captain Wentworth from PERSUASION. Women: I thought of Shakespeare and Shaw heroines right away, but among kids’ books, I also had proto-crushes on (or at least deep admiration for) Nancy Drew, Anne of Green Gables, Caddie Woodlawn, and the Indian woman from Island of the Blue Dolphins. As for genuine adult crushes, isn’t this a little like the old question of who are your heroes? And they say girls often don’t have any. I always thought this was true, but I just realized Beethoven was a hero of mine, when I was young. So maybe I have other, hidden, heroes. Not too many women among them, though, except Emily Dickinson and Emily Bronte.

  7. Noa

    I actually might have more female literary crushes than men: Alanna and Sally Lockhart, for sure, and Turtle Wexler, as some others have noted, but also Juniper (from the Monica Furlong book) and Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle (…my literary women seem to line up nicely with my literary men!). And Sabriel and Lyra and Shabanu and Cimorene and Tiffany Aching and, most recently, the queen of Attolia.

  8. Noa

    My top 5 literary men (in no particular order, since they move around according to what I’ve read most recently): Frederick Garland, George Cooper, Howl, Calvin O’Keefe, and Theo (from the Westmark trilogy). Wait…I think I need a top ten list, because Will Stanton needs to be on there (young, I know, but so was I when I read those books!) and Thomas Lynn (from Fire and Hemlock), and maybe poor, deluded Coren from The Forgotten Beasts of Eld. Coming up: women!

  9. Verinder

    I definitely have a crush on Ellen Rankin’s Turtle Wexler. She’s fabulous. Elizabeth Bennet, Harriet Vane, Jo March, Jane Eyre, Rosalind (from As You Like It), Laurie King’s Mary Russell, Sally Kimball (from the Encyclopedia Brown books)

  10. Four Story Mistake

    Okay, females only… Jerusha Abbott of “Daddy Long Legs,” Lloyd Alexander’s Vesper Holly (any Alexander heroine, really), Creel from “Dragon Slippers,” the Lass from “Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow, Kate from “Perilous Gard,” Hunky Dory from “Diary of a Fairy Godmother,” Rapunzel from “Rapunzel’s Revenge”… I have to stop myself!

  11. SUMMER LAURIE

    I second R.J. Anderson’s nomination of Europe. I heart her too! And what about Norah (Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist), Leslie Burke (Bridge to Terabithia), or Audrey (Audrey Wait!)? I’d ask them out if I were so inclined…and a couple decades younger. Then there’s Finn from Meg Rosoff’s WHAT I WAS who is one of those “universally” appealing characters.

  12. Miri

    Death, from Gaiman’s Sandman. HugeHuge crush. Buri, from Tamora Pierce (first appears in the Alanna books) Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing – and no, not just because Emma Thompson plays her in a movie. Though mmm, Emma Thompson. Annie and Liza (yes, both of them) from Annie on my Mind.

  13. Randi Rivers

    Edward Rochester from Jane Eyre, followed closely by James Fraser from Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. Of course, I think I’ve had a crush on every hero that Eloisa James has created in her novels. As for women, I think Sally Lockhart from the Phillip Pullman books is cool.

  14. R.J. Anderson

    My literary girlcrush is Europe from D.M. Cornish’s MONSTER BLOOD TATTOO series. She’s tough, capable, has great fashion sense, and a hidden softer side. Eowyn from LotR is another no-brainer. And Aravis from THE HORSE AND HIS BOY, and Jill from THE SILVER CHAIR… But I’m female, and straight. It would be interesting to hear from some male bloggers on this point! (Though I do know that a few of the male regulars on D.M. Cornish’s blog are rather fond of Europe as well…)

  15. Bunny

    Literary crush: Clym Yeobright of Thomas Hardy’s Return of the Native Not-so-litary crush: Joe Morelli of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels. Definitely worth running away from home for. (sigh)

  16. cbroadwe

    I can’t think of any female literary crushes, but I’ve posted this before on this blog (Choose your fictional family), and I stand by it: Calvin O’Keefe (A Wrinkle in Time) was my first crush, real or fictional. If he only existed to ask me, I would absolutely leave my husband for him. In a second.

  17. Vicki

    Definitely Mr. Rochester from “Jane Eyre.” If we aren’t going to be too literary, I really liked Menolly in the Anne McCaffrey “Dragonsong” series. She was smart, loved music, and followed her dreams though her family said that girls weren’t worth much.

  18. Mallory Loehr

    Female crushes: Tamora Pierce’s Alanna from ALANNA THE FIRST ADVENTURE and George from Nancy Drew and Hopey from Love and Rockets. Male crushes: Howl from Diana Wynne Jones’ HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE and Chrestomani (AKA Christopher Chant) from her Chrestomanci books. I will now think of this question all day and probably come up with twenty more!

  19. Nancy Werlin

    But wait! Sorry, I see you have no trouble with men; it’s women you want. In that case: Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan, from the Miles Vorkosigan novels by Lois McMaster Bujold. She’s my hero.

  20. LaurenBaratzLogsted

    The literary male I have a crush on is Richard Jury. (It should be Jay Gatsby, but even I’m not over-the-top enough to hanker for a corpse in a swimming pool.) But if I had to pick a female literary crush most girls have growing up, it’d be Jo March.

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