You should have seen this one coming … Who is your favorite Male lead character? And why?
It's a good thing I've had all week to anticipate this question – heroines were so much easier! I suspect that I'm much less loyal to my heroes, a serial monogamist perhaps.
The first, and much the most enduring, is Winnie-the-Pooh. It's funny that a poor memory, a sweet tooth and an inclination to stoutness is so much more endearing in a Bear than a husband, but Pooh still makes me smile. My loyalty is strictly to the A.A. Milne and E.H. Shephard characters, though –later incarnations have never really appealed to me.
Now we get to the serious stuff. Hamlet is next, and the first of a list of Byronically mad-bad-and-dangerous-to-know types. He's followed by J.P. Donleavy's Balthasar B, he of the Beastly Beatitudes, and a young man of very loose morals. Next is Francis Crawford of Lymond, from Dorothy Dunnett's 6-novel series, The Lymond Chronicles. A sixteenth-century Scots noble, Lymond is very much in the Hamlet vein, exiled and hunted down by his family, living by his wits and sword, and rampaging across Europe and the Ottoman Empire to the detriment of friends and enemies alike. Lymond was to some extent followed in my affections by another of Dunnett's heroes, Niccolò, his great-grandfather, who has a similar capacity for both humour and destruction. Swashbuckling at its most entertaining. In this category I must also include Albert Campion, who just beats Lord Peter Wimsey for me, although I know many won't agree. You'll have noticed that I like my men to be funny, erudite and not entirely responsible. And they need to be better than average dancers (I'll exempt Pooh on grounds on girth). Loyalty demands that I include Titus Groan, although he's singularly lacking in a sense of humour, and it's a bit strange being in love with a man you've known as a baby!
Happily, a more mature taste brings me to Mr Knightley, my favourite of the Austen men, despite his infuriating tendency to be right. Nonetheless, he's the one I'm spending most of my time with these days, a serious, well-read man, and above all, restful, a quality under-rated in one's youth, but which I've come to appreciate.