My New Favorite Hero

Raven Boys

I have a new favorite hero (sort of). If you’ve followed me on NAF for any length of time, you will know that my ultimate hero is Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series. That has not changed, at all. You just cannot top the handsome, intelligent, earnest, and hard-working Gilbert. He missed a couple of years of school to take care of his ailing father, tried his hardest to be the top student (usually with Anne as his stiffest competition), he works as a teacher to save up for college and then medical school. He’s exactly the kind of man I sought to marry. And did. July 3rd, my husband and I celebrated 18 years of marriage. All of those words I used to describe Gilbert, could describe my husband.

However, Gilbert is not at all Anne’s ideal hero. She has dreams of a broody, Byronic hero. Someone dark and tragic. I too have a literary preference. The other day on Facebook, the subject of heroes came up. I responded with “physically flawed”. That applies to the characters I write (some of them) and enjoy reading, but they’re almost a third category. This isn’t about finding the perfect man to marry (checked that box) but reading a specific book and developing a literary crush.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a character and thought, if I were sixteen, he’d be my #bookboyfriend. And then I read Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys. Probably not a surprise knowing that one of my favorite movies is Dead Poet’s Society. Anyway, my new favorite hero is Richard Campbell Gansey III. In the book, he’s just Gansey except his family and enemies call him “Dick”. Be still my heart, he’s the ultimate preppy. Tall, thin, and handsome. He comes from money, and is intelligent and athletic. He’s also a bit nerdy with his obsession with the Glendower legends, ley lines, etc. As for physical flaws, he (sort of) falls into that category. Most of the time he wears contact lenses, but there are several scenes where he’s wearing wire-rimmed glasses (a detail I typically find very attractive). He’s also deathly allergic to bees, which I don’t find attractive, only freaky, especially since he’s been predicted to die within a year).

Another aspect is that I can relate to Gansey. He’s always saying something that makes him come off as pretentious, but he can’t help it. It’s the way he is. Inevitably, he’ll try to be kind but steps in it, especially when talking to Blue (the heroine) or Adam (his friend from the wrong side of the tracks). He also has a fantastic line about this that if I’d read it in paper or on Kindle, I’d quote, but I listened to it and forgot the quote. Basically, it’s about using “big words”.

I’m like that. I love using the proper word over a more-common one. I also say things that I’m sure make me sound pretentious, out-of-touch, arrogant, or off-putting in some sort of way. It’s not like I’m some wealthy woman from a prominent family, but it still happens.

So, who is your literary hero (or heroine)?

About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

7 comments on “My New Favorite Hero

  1. I loved Gansey so much. The first two books of this series are stellar–so many conflicts going on with each character. But then in book 3, a gaymance begins between Adam and Ronan …. and it just doesn’t work for me. It feels like the author bowed to the fanbase. And the last book ends with a big, fat, What The Heck. I blame deadlines that kept her from thinking the plot through and executing it brilliantly.

    • I have only read the first two. I can’t wait to read the others although I’ve been spoiled on some of the details including Adam-Ronan. Not thrilled when that sort of thing comes off as contrived. It is so often the case that sequels suffer when authors are on deadline. I’m still looking forward to books 3 & 4, if only for Gansey 🙂

  2. I haven’t read the book yet though it’s on my radar. I looked up quotes on goodreads – is this it? “My words are unerring tools of destruction, and I’ve come unequipped with the ability to disarm them.”

  3. I’m reading the second book now, and I’m in love with this series! Did you hear that they’re making a tv series of it?

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