Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Favourite Literary Heroes

 Finally, here is my list of my favourite heroes from classic literature. Back in February, I posted a list of My Top Ten Literary Heroines, and I've had this list of heroes mentally composed for a long time, but haven't gotten around to posting it until now. I didn't number them as I did my list of heroines, though, because I just thought it would be easier not to rank them this time. Surely you must understand. : )

  And so, without further ado, here is my list.

 Horatio Hornblower of Horatio Hornblower

I believe I can accurately say that Horatio Hornblower is beyond a doubt my absolute favourite hero ever. There is simply no question about it. However, it wasn't always this way, believe it or not! A year ago, I likely would have said Edward Ferrars or Nicholas Nickleby was my favourite. In other words, it was not love at first sight. When Horatio first entered our house, I had absolutely no interest in this unkown series full of ships and officers in uniform which  lacked dancing and pretty costumes (which I must have thought imperative in those days) and which I hastily concluded was not my cup of tea. Needless to say, I was very foolish to have thought so. It wasn't until around two years ago that I actually realized how very foolish I had been, and since then I have completely fallen in love with Horatio and his heroic, selfless nature. He is honourable, courageous, noble, selfless- the epitome of a hero. But he's not perfect. He has his faults, as we all do, and he makes mistakes- rarely, but all the same, he does. But if he didn't, the character wouldn't be nearly as believable, and that's one of the reasons he is the hero that he is. It's difficult to explain- if you haven't seen the series, I would highly recommend that you do and then you will understand!
 However, the Horatio of the C.S. Forester novels is not the same. I read the first book in the series for the first time this spring, and I am quite sorry to say that I was not at all impressed- which must sound terrible because, after all, the books were here first! But Horatio was so much different from the way he is in the movies- he was awkward, incapable and had a very bad temper. It was a bitter disappointment to find that the original character C.S. Forester created was not the Horatio I know and love, but he did still had a few good qualities and it wasn't as if I strongly disliked the character- it just wasn't Horatio. Also, since Archie was such an insignificant character and he had no other friends, Horatio seemed to be extremely lonely and unhappy, which I didn't like a bit. But even so, not even my disappointment at the literary character of Horatio could make me change my opinion of this courageous, dashing hero. He may not be very impressive in the book series, but in the movies he is the perfect example of a gentleman in every way. He is still my favourite and always will be!

 Archie Kennedy of Horatio Hornblower

Archie is Horatio's loyal friend and fellow officer, and although as I mentioned before he is a hardly mentioned in the book, in the series he really is a secondary hero and is just as dear as Horatio himself. By nature he is more of a melancholy person, and at first is rather timid and unsure of himself, but as the series progresses it becomes quite clear that he really is incredibly brave and selfless, a true hero indeed. The friendship between him and Horatio is so adorable and he has such an endearing personality, and he really becomes a better officer, leader, and man as the series progresses.

Edward Ferrars of Sense and Sensibility

This is my very favourite Jane Austen story, mostly because it contains some of my favourite literary characters ever, including Edward Ferrars. Edward is not usually considered dashing or heroic like some other heroes, but he is extremely kind and charming and romantic in a quiet sort of way. He and Elinor both have such charming personalities and are just so perfect together! And of course no one could ever play him like Hugh Grant. : ) When I was younger, I didn't really think of Edward as being one of my favourite heroes, but now he's right up there with Horatio and Archie.

Nicholas Nickleby of Nicholas Nickleby

Nicholas Nickleby is one of those characters it's impossible to dislike, because he's just so very good.  He does all he can to provide for his mother and sister after his father dies, despite his scoundrel of an uncle, he stands up to the injustices of Dotheboy's Hall, he befriends a crippled inmate of the establishment, he defends his sister's honour, he tries to help a girl in unfortunate circumstances whom he knows hardly anything about....need I say more? This is one of my very favourite movies and my favourite Dickens' story. It's also the only Dickens novel I've read, after first seeing the movie, and I was not at all disappointed with the book or Nicholas- he was still the same noble character I have come to love and admire.

William Bush of Horatio Hornblower
 (Most commonly known as Mr. Bush.)

Mr. Bush, another secondary hero in Hornblower, doesn't come into the picture until a bit later in the series. He, like Horatio, is a wise and capable leader and a very honourable gentleman, and he is the one who actually has to talk some sense into Horatio in the last movie, Duty. He doesn't mince words either: he likes to get right to the point, which is another thing I have grown to really like about him. When he first arrives in The Mutiny, he seems a bit uppity- which he kind of is- but he is also very kind and compassionate, especially in the last two movies, and his slightly arrogant demeanor only makes him more endearing.

Sir Percival Blakeney of The Scarlet Pimpernel

All right, I'm not exactly sure what to say about Sir Percy- I'm pretty sure everyone who knows him adores him, as I do, but I'm not one of those people who can gush on and on about him, which I like to say is because I still have yet to read the books and don't yet know him very well, having only seen the movie twice as of yet. But still, it didn't take long to decide he was one of my new favourites! Sir Percy is the epitome of a hero- he doesn't care what people may think of him, as long as he knows he is doing the right thing and for the right reasons, which shows a remarkable kind of conscience that is very admirable. Also, he's very handsome, but that's beside the point. : )

 Daniel Deronda of Daniel Deronda

I haven't read much of this book- and what I have read of it was all about Gwendolen Harleth anyway- but ever since I saw this BBC miniseries with my sister last autumn, the compassionate, honourable, handsome Daniel Deronda has been one of my favourite heroes. He is a very noble character: kind, honest, and gentlemanly, and a very loyal friend. I thought it was very admirable how he had compassion on Mirah Lapidoth and helped her find her family again, and how he tried to help Gwendolen in her unhappy marriage and still remained a friend to her even after the way she behaved. I will admit that I was *secretly* hoping he would marry Gwendolen in the end, but I was still very happy for him and Mirah, and I was glad that he and Gwendolen could still be friends. I truly think that she was "better for having known him". A most honourable sir indeed! (Not to mention extremely good-looking. :P)

John Geyser of The Blue and the Gray

This was honestly the only picture I could find of him.

This is one of my favourite stories ever, and even though the John Geyser of the novel (if it can be called one- more on that in a minute,) is not the same as in the miniseries- it was kind of the same situation as Hornblower- John Geyser is still one of my favourite literary characters. The book was incredibly disappointing mostly because it was so ill-written- it was very short and to the point and not epic at all, as if the writer wasn't really a writer at all, but a dull historian with no concept of the way classic literature is supposed  to be. Also, the characters were not well-developed at all- some of them were even left out, such as John's love interest, Kathy (whom I don't care for a bit, so maybe that part was just as well!) John was supposed to be older too, I think, and since he was very young in the miniseries I had a hard time picturing that. Also, like C.S. Forester's Horatio, he seemed lonely- maybe it was because there was no Kathy, but somehow he just wasn't the same. However, in the miniseries he is a perfect gentleman and I have grown quite fond of him. As evident by the title, the story takes place during the Civil War. John doesn't want to fight for the Confederacy with his brothers, but neither does he want to take up arms against his own family and fight for the Union. So, he uses his gift for drawing to become an "artist correspondent" and gets a job covering the war for his uncle's newspaper in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. John is gentlemanly and kind and a very endearing hero. I think perhaps the reason why I loved him from the very first is because he reminds me so much of John-Boy Walton! I must admit, John Geyser does not quite hold the position John-Boy does, but he is a very noble hero and one of my favourite literary characters.

George Knightley of Emma
 (Most commonly known as Mr. Knightley.)

Mr. Knightley is such a dear! This is my second favourite Jane Austen story, and though I haven't read this book yet- hopefully soon- I knew from the first time I watched the 2009 miniseries that Mr. Knightley was one of my new favourites. He is so clever and witty, and he cares for Emma so much, it's impossible to dislike him. (Though why you would even want to try is ridiculous, which is why no one does!) He is such a perfect gentleman and so very kind to Emma and her father-  and everybody else, for that matter. He and Emma's initial brother-and-sister relationship is so adorable, and they are probably one of my favourite film couples ever because I love them both so much!


  1. Yes yes yes, love them!


  2. John Geyser! You know who John Geyser is! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! (Runs around in fangirly delight, which looks ridiculous cuz I'm 33, but hey.)

    I absolutely adore John Geyser, though I like Jonas Steele even better. I can't remember the first time I saw The Blue and the Gray, I was so young, so all the characters are like old friends now. Anyway, I'm going to follow your blog because yeah... you love John Geyser! And Archie Kennedy! And Horatio Hornblower! Rock on!

  3. Yay!! So glad to hear from someone else who loves The Blue and the Gray as much as I do!! I saw it for the first time last year, but since then I've seen it again and already the characters are like old friends. : ) I do like Jonas Steele too, but I must admit I love John more. He's just adorable! : P
    And yes, the Horatio Hornblower series are my favourite movies evah. : ) I just love most all the characters, especially Horatio and Archie and Mr. Bush. And Captain Pellew. As I said, I love them all! : )
    I'm so glad you like my blog!

    ~Emma Jane

  4. So why don't you like Kathy? I admit I like Mary best, but at least Kathy wasn't horribly spoiled like Emma Geyser.

    Oh, Captain Pellew is magnificent! I admire him greatly. All 8 of those movies are just wonderful -- I can see how they would be your favorites! Do you like any one more than the others? My most favorite is "The Duchess and the Devil" because it has so much Archie Kennedy in it, and because I love prison-escape stories (even though they don't try to escape, lol).

  5. Hamlette,
    I can't really explain why I don't like Kathy. I don't think there is a spefici reason why, there's just something about her that annoys me. But you're right, she's not nearly as bad as Emma! In the book Emma is even worse than in the miniseries, and especially cruel to John.
    I love all the Hornblower movies, but I think Retribution is my favourite, because Archie and Horatio and Mr. Bush are all at their best and Archie demonstrates his courage and heroism! : )


  6. I read the book a long, long time ago, and only once. I remember being disappointed. Seems I've succesfully blocked it from my mind! Hee.


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