Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Good morning, friends! I am tired this morning after a pretty stressful work Monday. But I am happy to bring to you this list of fictional male characters I have loved over the years. I didn’t want to phrase it as “crushes” because I think I’ve moved beyond crushing on fictional guys at my age, but I did really like these guys for various reasons as I was immersed in their respective book/series.
If you notice a pattern among these books, I swear, love triangles rattle me BECAUSE I end up liking one guy more than the other and my heart breaks for them if they don’t get chosen.
In no particular order at all, here are the guys who have captured my heart in some way, shape, or form over the years.
Cold, aloof, prince of the Unseelie Court, Ash was everything teenage me loved in a male love interest. He was the guy who could change if the right person entered his life and shook things up. And the insane journey he took in order to be with his love in his own book, where he’s on the cover, and in his own POV was the reason I loved it as much as the first book that started the series. Team Ash here all the way!
2. Will Herondale
Still my favourite Cassandra Clare book in the Shadowhunter universe, I love that its cover also features my all-time favourite guy, Will Herondale. No offense to Jem or anything, I think he’s a cool dude and all, but reading Will’s letter to Tessa for why he had to keep her at arm’s length for her own safety was heartbreaking and the most beautiful thing I’ve read in letter format. He’s loyal and a good friend, with a strange fear of ducks, but we all have our quirks, right?
While not the first book in the series, Aeduan has been there from the start…in a villain role. But I knew from the beginning he wasn’t just a typical bad guy. He was going to figure out his own path and be his own person, no matter the difficult situation he was born with as a Bloodwitch. So when this book came out with more of his story fleshed out, I was ecstatic and rooting for a romance to develop with a certain Threadwitch who may just be the kind of gal to challenge him in all the right ways.
4. Peter Kavinsky
This list wouldn’t be complete without throwing Peter K into the mix. I was 1000% Team Peter, though I did really like Josh let’s be honest, but this was the right mix of falling in love and teenage angst with all its complicated communication and mixed signalling. Or, to be fair, all that still exists in adulthood, but yes, this was a relationship I rooted so hard for, I admit I threw book 2 across the room because John Ambrose upset me so much.
5. Ian O’Shea
My favourite book of all time has to have an epic romance, which is surely does! Only an exceptional man could love someone that isn’t actually human, the parasitic host that lives in the body of a human girl, but yearns to do what’s best for the human family she’s come to love. Ian went from wanting her dead to putting her needs above everything else, even going against his brother. It still tears me up reading the passage where Ian explains he thought she was beautiful, not just the human female body she was in.
6. Prince Damian
I have a soft spot for princes? With a She’s the Man-esque vibe going on here, a prince falling for his female bodyguard who is pretending to be a man was the adorable romance I didn’t know I needed in a fantasy. Damian never treated Alex like she was anything less than his equal and was respectable and just an all-around great guy. I mean, I’d fall for him too if I had to bodyguard him all the time. Just saying.
7. Grayson Hawthorne
I told myself I wasn’t going to pick a side in this love triangle because I’m so much more mature in my older age to love everybody and let the protagonist just choose for herself without getting upset…I was wrong. Grayson is the brother I pick. He may not be explicit in words or romantic gestures, but when he loves, I feel that it’s in the big decisions that matter and should speak for itself. He’s the lonely, brooding, mysterious guy with a cold exterior that really just masks his vulnerable, soft insides. I’m totally setting myself up for some upsetting down the road, aren’t I? (*please sequel, don’t hurt me*)
8. Brendan Rosenfeld
A more recent read, but I fell for this geeky, techy loner because he can totally stand up to a popular, mean girl like Cameron when she needs to be told what’s right or wrong. Especially when aimed at him. He deserves that. He’s not a doormat just because he doesn’t have/sought out friends. He’s got some backbone, but he’s also the sweetest guy when he opens up to the girl he chooses to trust and love. The world needs more teenage boys like this.
9. Gilbert Blythe
I’m sticking the first book in here, but definitely more in book 2 and 3, Anne of Avonlea and Anne of the Island, do I fall more in love with Gilbert Blythe. Grown up from the antics of a young boy who called Anne ‘Carrots’ for her red hair, he’s become a capable and respectable young man pursuing a career in medicine, all while harbouring feelings for a certain girl he wishes would look at him in the same way. My heart definitely goes out to him and I’m glad this is one story that ends happily.
I loved this unlikely pairing, but Connor the bodyguard with the future queen of America was exactly what I didn’t know I needed. He cares about her not for her wealth or the prestige that comes with, well, everything about her. He wouldn’t be a textbook match, but if we’re talking about wanting someone who has her best interests at heart, he has that in spades, and his yearning to give her the world, whatever he could possibly offer her, had my heart melting five times over.
And that’s it for me! What makes you love certain characters so much that they’re kind of unforgettable?
Is it weird that love triangles, one of my least favourite tropes, has led me to love so many characters? That is a question I ask myself every day…
Until next week!