Yesterday I posed the question: What characters from literature did you have a crush on growing up?
I had heaps. Some of the names I don’t remember, because it was twenty years ago. Others I know so well, I would recognise them on the street if I passed them.
I got a tidy mountain of names from people on Facebook — here’s a few of them:
Aragorn. Jondalar. Heathcliff. Perrin Aybara. Quatre Winner. Valentine Wiggin. Hamlet. Rochester. Mr. Darcy. Draco Malfoy. Dustfinger. Pippin. Ender. Laurie. Gatsby. Elizabeth Bennett. Eowyn. Elinor Dashwood. Sybil Vane.
That’s a tidy list of swoon-worthy characters there. A couple of mine are on that list, but I thought I’d share some of the others.
1. Ash Redfern (as modeled here by Alex Pettyfer)
Ash is first introduced in the first book of L.J. Smith’s Nightworld series, Secret Vampire. (I come honestly by my urban fantasy roots.) He’s described as laconic, dangerous, and self-serving. But he’s really rather lost. When he meets his soulmate (a concept that skewed my view of relationships throughout my youth), he makes some dumb choices, but Mary-Lynnette lines him out. He also has eyes that shift colours at random, which is probably part of my fixation with eye colour in writing. L.J. Smith gave her supernatural characters very interesting eyes. Ash is definitely a bad boy, but he’s educated and deliberate — and when it matters, he pours himself into being a better person. He’s one of the few recurring characters in the Nightworld series, and I still love him.
Plus, he was my first taste of a self-actualised vampire. He did his thing and didn’t fuss too much about it. In fact, a lot of Smith’s vampires didn’t brood. Bully for her. Broody vamps get on my nerves. (See blog logline.)
2. Gabriel from the Dark Visions Trilogy
Ah, Gabriel. Total brat, delinquent, bad boy who accidentally killed the girl he loved. But then he falls in love with Kait, and he risks himself to save her life. Yep. Textbook dreamy. In the books he had grey eyes, but Ian’s just so durn pretty that I couldn’t think of anyone else better to represent him.
(And he actually does have greyish eyes — this picture has been edited to make them look bluer, I think.)
3. Adam Conant, from The Secret Circle
Before you get all, “Oh, that’s not the actor who played him,” remember that that show started as books. In the books, Adam is said to have red hair. This is Adam say, a few years after high school. 🙂 I always loved Adam — not only because he was a witch who was also cool with women leading the circle, but because he really tried to do the right thing.
Plus, there’s a puurrrrow factor you just can’t ignore here. Just look at him.
Yes, there is a lot of L.J. Smith on the beginning of this list. Just take one look at my raggedy copies of her books to know how much I read them.
4. Garion (or…Michael C. Hall)
This was one of those crushes for me that made me reread the entire Belgariad/Malloreon multiple times. It’s classic fantasy — farmboy turned king ad sorcerer, and I loved Garion. Especially in the Malloreon.
5. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy
That is is first name, by the way.
I think it’s impossible to read Pride and Prejudice without coming away with a crush on Darcy or Elizabeth, or even Bingley. But probably not Mr. Collins. I read the book before seeing the five hour extravaganza that is the A&E miniseries, but the moment I saw Colin Firth’s face, I died a little. The scene above? Yeah. Try to watch Darcy and Elizabeth in that scene without melting into a puddle of I-need-a-cold-shower.
There are so many other little crushes I had growing up. Taran from the Chronicles of Prydain (I wanted to BE Eilonwy), Julian from the Forbidden Game, Mat Cauthon and Rand al’Thor from the Wheel of Time — too many to list here.
In a way these early crushes influence what you look for in a partner. And they’re always there, like old friends you can go back to whenever you feel the need. Most of mine were from reading fantasy (surprise, surprise), and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend a lot of my youth looking around corners for hidden magic.
There’s a fascination with the sweeping romances in the books I mentioned that has stayed close by my side for twenty years. The idea of soulmates, that there’s a silver cord connecting two people that will manifest the moment they get close to one another — I spent a decade wondering if I’d ever find that cord. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
If there’s one thing I learned from these crushes and the philosophy of their relationships, it’s to trust my instinct. After all, the best and most important love in my life has been found in a matter of instants — my closest friends and my husband. Of course, it’s easy to say that in hindsight. But ask my maid of honour and my bridesman (yep, I did that) how we became friends, and they’ll be the first to tell you how immediate it was. As for my husband, something bound us tightly within hours of meeting — and it remained even when we were separated by states and time. Remind me to tell you the whole story someday.
Thank you to everyone who turned up for the #SuperWomen chat last night — it was a raging success, and I had a brilliant time talking with you! We will be doing it again — date pending my whimsical work schedule — so if you missed it, keep your eyes open for details.
What have you learned from your early crushes? Who did you spend your life looking for? Who keeps drawing you back into the worn pages of a book?