This week we are discussing our favorite literary heroes and heroines… do we use the word “heroine” anymore? Is it considered sexist, like “poetess”, “authoress” and “actress”? It’s ironic, really, that it was ever used because “Hero” in mythology was, in fact, a woman.
But, I digress. It’s been a hard couple of weeks for me. Although I read a great deal, I was stumped to think of real “heroes”.
I cast my mind far in my past to begin.
The first idea that came to mind is “heartthrob”, and I have to admit that Andre Bolkonsky in “War and Peace” would have been my choice for a literary boyfriend when I was a teen. Of course, Jean Vanjean from “Les Miserables” certainly becomes a fine person and one worth getting to know. As for having someone worth knowing and acted like a hero, I have to say that Agatha Chritsie’s Hercule Poirot would be someone I’d love to have in my life.
As I have written before in “Austen’s Pretty Limits”[Archives], no one writes a hero like Jane Austen. Her main female characters, although good, never seem to appreciate them. Never have I read one of her novels that I don’t say out loud at some point, “If you don’t take him, I will!”
Perhaps it’s because even though my life has often been far from rosie, it’s mine. I don’t think I’d ever trade places with anyone, not after my hard-earned victories. Heroines are hard for me to acknowledge as any I truly admire enough to change my life to become .
I enjoy reading the adventures of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum, Gretchen Archer’s Davis Way. MaryJanice Davidson’s assorted werewolves, mermaids, vampires, fairies, etc, and the female characters in many other writers’ works, but I am not sure I consider them as true heroines; none are place-traders.
The closest that come to life-switchers are the good women written by JK Rowling. Molly Weasely, (possibly), but surely Minerva McGonagal and Hermione Granger. If there is any of the woman I would really want to trade places with, (although not become), it would be Nyphadora Tonks, because of all the honorable men in Harry Potter’s world, Remus Lupin is a true, though undersung, hero.
Magic aside, I think I’ll stick with this life…but I hope other writers keep the great characters coming. I like to read about nice, honorable people.