My Favorite Austen Hero

Since Ms. Daisy did such an excellent job on outlining the attributes of a hero, I decided to compare and contrast a couple of heroes of Jane Austen’s world. I actually have a t-shirt that says Colonel Brandon > Mr. Darcy.  Before you think I’m getting into a war of Alan Rickman vs. Colin Firth, let me set you straight. I’m talking about the characters in the books, not the actors on the screen.

Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice was arrogant and not very kind to Lizzy in the early parts of the book. He denigrated her, her looks and her family.  He wasn’t a nice guy at all. Over the course of the book, we did learn that internally, he was very heroic in scope. He found himself  in love with Lizzy and did all he could do to save the reputation of her and her sisters when the youngest eloped. It was at a great financial cost to him. But it still sticks in my craw that he was so cold to Elizabeth Bennet in the beginning.

Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility was a much gentler hero.  He was in love with Maryann Dashwood almost from the moment he met her. He was always cordial and kind to her. Even when she fell for Willoughby, all the Colonel wanted for her was for her to be happy, even if it meant she would find that happiness with another man. A man he didn’t believe to be worthy of her. This is very heroic in my view. 

A third hero of Jane Austen’s work was Mr. Knightly in Emma. He was kind of a mixture of Darcy and Brandon. He was gentle and kind to Emma but, when necessary, he called her out on her bad behavior.  All in all, I think this man, this balanced hero, is my favorite of all the Austen heroes. (and we won’t even talk about Jeremy Northam- LOL!).

So, as you can see, my idea of a hero is a man that can be strong when he needs to be but can also be kind and gentle most of the time.  Jane was very talented at making her heroes diverse and very different. Someday, we’ll talk about the Wickhams, Willoughbys and Frank Churchills of Jane’s works. The bad boys, as it were.

Over and out from the Tuesday fox. Today is my youngest son’s 17th birthday. I’m aging not too gracefully!


About Author

The author of these blog posts is a lawyer by day and fiction writer by night.
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16 Responses to My Favorite Austen Hero

  1. Laurie Ryan says:

    Youngest son’s 17th birthday? My baby turned 30 a few months ago. Now, that’s feeling old! 🙂 Kudos to you for an excellent analysis of characters. The Colonel wins in my book, also. 🙂


    • Thanks Laurie. When my youngest is 30, I dread to think how old I’ll feel LOL- I guess we’re as old as we wanna bem right? Thanks re: analysis of the three heroes. I could have added Wentworth and the others but didn’t want to natter on too much.


  2. Darlene says:

    Happy Birthday to your #2 Son. Think I saw him on tv last night with a recap of scholar’s bowl. It was just quick still shots and they didn’t show anyone close up.

    Great analysis of the Austen men. I think Darcy is my favorite. Every fiber of his being fights against loving Lizzy and he overcomes all of that and listens to his heart. At first his litany of what was wrong with her but he loved her anyway annoyed me but isn’t that what we all want someone who recognizes that we have faults (perceived or real) but they love us despite the faults? Great post.


  3. danicaavet says:

    Happy birthday to your son!

    I’ll admit, I haven’t read a single Jane Austen book *ducks* I’m sorry! If it would’ve been required reading, I might have, but er…my profs liked Charles Dickens and Mary Shelley. I know, I need to read them and I keep planning to. I will one day though, I promise. *crosses her heart* But I agree with what you’ve said about heroes. There have been some romances where the hero has been a complete ass to the heroine, causing her emotional pain and that always grates on my nerves. I can think of several authors (historical romance) who use this technique and I won’t read their books anymore because of it. I like a hero who knows the value of his heroine almost immediately even if he fights it with all of his heart and soul. He just can’t be a jackass to her. LOL


    • Danica- you’re forgiven for not reading them. There is so much good out there to read that it can be missed. LOL!

      I have written some arrogant heroes but they come around pretty fast with their attraction to the heroine and aren’t mean (too much). LOL!


  4. Daisy Harris says:

    I was a huge Austen fan in late Jr. High and then again right at the start of college, but it’s been so long that I hardly remember the guys. 😦 I should go through and read Austen’s works again. It would give me great insight into newer regency romances.

    But I’m all for bad boys. They’re always my favorite!


  5. jeff7salter says:

    Jillian, sorry to be late arriving. Very strange day.
    I love your quote: “a hero is a man that can be strong when he needs to be but can also be kind and gentle most of the time” and that might be my entire column on Thursday. Just your quote. Ha.
    Like Danica, I have not read the Austen books. Don’t know where I was or what I was doing, but just never connected with them.
    Of course, literary heroes and real-life heroes are — to my mind — two different animals. I guess that’s in my Thursday blog also.
    Well, in fact, I can’t say much anything else without obviating the need for y’all to read my post in two days, so I’ll just shut up.


    • See, that’s what I love about you, Jeff. You and I think alike a lot. AND I totally got all that you just said. LOL! I only read the Austen books as an adult. I don’t enjoy them as much as a lot of people as I’m BIG on dialogue and there is not a lot of it in the actual books. I have a rule- I try to read a classic to about every three-five modern novels and then I read a couple of non-fictions. I want to keep my reading diverse so I sometimes pick up something to read that is not quite for fun. I have this real fear of one day losing my brain (my best asset) and so I try to read things to keep myself sharp.

      AND I totally agree, literary heroes are different beasts for sure. Things we have to do to make for tension and great fiction would never be tolerated in life. See, I just stole your post, right? LOL!

      I hope whatever had you in its grip today lets go soon!!


  6. Jeff- It’ll be our secret.

    Hope you get over it soon. They’re a nightmare.


  7. My dad, my spouse and son all get them- all have been on floor rolling in pain. Not pretty.


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