The Coolest Men in Literature

As I’ve already written a post about my favorite fictional women, here’s one about the men. (Books are probably the main reason behind my impossibly high expectations of men.)

  1. Rhett Butler (Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell)

He is by far the sexiest man I’ve ever come across in a book. He laughs at Scarlett’s pretentious “feminine wiles” and encourages her to be spontaneous instead.  I love his insolence, charm and his tendency to point out unpleasant truths at the wrong time. What’s not to like?

“Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was or what freedom really is.”

  1. Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee )

He is courage and integrity personified. If I were to have children in the future, Atticus is exactly the kind of parent I’d want to be. He treats his children as equals (even letting them call him ‘Atticus’), respects their space, handles their mischiefs tactfully and leads by example.

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

  1. Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore (You may have heard of him.)

He is the definition of cool in my dictionary. You’ve got to admire his wisdom, omniscience, quiet confidence and power. I also love his wry sense of humour.

 “It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

  1. Fitzwilliam Darcy (Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen)

Who can resist the tall, handsome, distinguished, male version of themselves?! I was really annoyed when everyone in the novel mistook his classic symptoms of introversion for arrogance.

 “I cannot fix on the hour, or the spot, or the look, or the words, which laid the foundation. It is too long ago. I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”

5. Tyrion Lannister (A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin)

He is proof that greatness comes in small packages. He may be a dwarf, but he has both brains and Bronn, not to mention kindness, wit and chivalry.

“Let them see that their words can cut you and you’ll never be free of the mockery. If they want to give you a name, take it and  make it your own. Then they can’t hurt you with it anymore.”

6. Captain Frederick Wentworth (Persuasion by Jane Austen)

Ladies, I dare you to to read Persuasion and not swoon (figuratively) at the most beautiful love letter in literature. Even I was floored by it, and that’s really saying something.

“I can listen no longer in silence. I must speak to you by such means as are within my reach. You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. ”

7. Sydney Carton (A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens)

That man was the first crush I ever had, at the age of eleven. Though he was pessimistic and wasted his talents, I loved him for his intelligence and constancy. Naturally, I was left heartbroken by the ending of the novel.

“I wish you to know that you have been the last dream of my soul. In my degradation I have not been so degraded but that the sight of you with your father, and of this home made such a home by you, has stirred old shadows that I thought had died out of me. Since I knew you, I have been troubled by a remorse that I thought would never reproach me again, and have heard whispers from old voices impelling me upward, that I thought were silent for ever. I have had unformed ideas of striving afresh, beginning anew, shaking off sloth and sensuality, and fighting out the abandoned fight. A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it.”

8. Amit Chatterji (A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth)

He is one of the three suitors that Lata has to choose from, and my personal favourite. I have a thing for clever, sassy writers, and the character is said to be based on Vikram Seth himself. I love the poem he wrote for Lata (‘A Modest Proposal’). Another poem of his is also intense and full of yearning-

The Fever Bird

The fever bird sang out last night.

I could not sleep, try as I might.

My brain was split, my spirit raw.

I looked into the garden, saw

The shadow of the amaltas

Shake slightly on the moonlit grass

Unseen, the bird cried out its grief,

Its lunacy, without relief:

Three notes repeated closer, higher,

Soaring, then sinking down like fire

Only to breathe the night and soar,

As crazed, as desperate, as before.

I shivered in the midnight heat

And smelt the sweat that soaked my sheet.

  1. Howard Roark (The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand)

Like in the case of Darcy, I identify with Roark’s personality, especially his terseness, detachment and individualism.

“I could die for you. But I couldn’t, and wouldn’t, live for you.”

  1. Sherlock Holmes ( books by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)

I’ve always been a fan of Sherlock’s famous powers of deduction, but I never considered him sexy till I saw Benedict Cumberbatch’s version of him on the BBC show. The actor  somehow manages to be coldly indifferent and ridiculously charming at the same time.

 “How often have I said to you that when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth?”

Honourable mentions- Gandalf, Edward Rochester, Gilbert Blythe, Mr. Tilney, Mr. Knightley, Teddy Laurence and Konstantin Levin.

NOTE- This list is based on the books I’ve read. If you think there are other fictional men I should read about, please let me know.


4 thoughts on “The Coolest Men in Literature

  1. divya44 says:

    Hey. May be Robert Langdon from Dan Brown series can be added into the list. 🙂


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