My Top Ten Fictional Heroes

As ever with these lists, it's difficult to narrow this down and these choices are the ones that are relevant at this precise moment in time; they are subject to change tomorrow.  (Or whenever I remember all the heroes I really ought to have put on this list and proceed, as a result, to facepalm with gusto and frustration.)

#10. Tom Sherbourne
{ The Light Between Oceans }

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Tom Sherbourne needs, to borrow a phrase, All The Hugs. He's scarred, but he doesn't want to dwell in his past trauma. He doesn't try to deny it, but he wants to move forward. He loves deeply and puts others before himself, and he's bound and determined to follow his conscience and do what's right.  And if he fails initially, he will make amends insofar as he can, even if it wrenches his own heart out. *clears throat*

Also, his letter to Isabel near the end makes me cryyyyyyy. And this quote, especially, speaks to me so much:

"Perhaps when it comes to it, no one is just the worst thing they ever did." 

*crying faces forever*

#9. Jude of Doran
{ The Hunting of the Last Dragon }

Once Upon a Time adds another tale from the Land of Untold Stories with Craig Horner taking the role of the Count of Monte Cristo.
This is kiiind of how I picture him.

I love that Jude has such major character development over the course of the book.  He starts out like pretty much any other typecast adolescent: annoyed by his younger siblings, desirous of glory and adventure, and not too invested in work.  But then he's thrust into one of those situations that strips people down to their barest selves and forces them to look at, for all it's so cliché, what really matter.  His entire family (in fact, his entire village) is obliterated by a dragon when he's away; and on top of that, he's saddled with the guilt of knowing that if he'd taken his younger sister with him as she begged, she'd still be alive.

So . . . that's a little sucky. 

Then, as he sets out on his journey to track down the dragon and kill it ('cause, like, what else are you gonna do), he crosses paths with a traveling circus and the Asian girl the owners have enslaved as an "oddity".  Then he basically rescues her from a would-be rapist and they flee together and continue his quest and so on and so forth. 

All that set-up to say, he's a different person at the end of the book than he is at the beginning.  But it's not so much that he changes all that vastly; rather, he evolves.  And all the maturity, courage, ingenuity, and protectiveness he's always had come fully to the surface.  He's precious and adorable, basically.

#8. Johnny Martin (Max Campion)
{ Penelope }

This movie in general makes me happy, and Johnny is adorable.  I love the alternately playful and lethargic persona that he displays.  He's kind of a seat-of-his-pants kind of guy, so he's not one of my absolute tip-top favorites, but he feels (as does the film itself) like an old friend at this point.  And he has a pretty decent character arc, too.

(Also, I like the fact that after he and Penelope have their first separation, Johnny makes the effort to turn his life around, and not because he's hoping that they'll reconnect.)

#7. Bertram Wooster
{ Jeeves & Wooster }

Typical Bertie look: good-natured sympathetic confusion.

On this list because he's a lesson in optimism and he always makes me feel better. ♥

He does not have his Adult Life Stuff together even a little bit; he's irrepressible; and he's always up for trying to help out a pal in distress.  

And he's possibly the single funniest character I've ever met in all my born days. 

#6. Digory Kirke
{ The Magician's Nephew }

always a queen of narnia, digorykirke:   digory kirke aesthetic

"Don't I just wish I was big enough to punch your head!"


He is precious and flawed and brave and loyal and curious and teachable and generally great.  He's staunchly determined to do the right thing, and even though he definitely slips up at times, his uncompromising sense of duty and integrity is wonderful to behold.  

Remember how fiercely protective he is of Polly?  Remember how boldly he stands up to Uncle Andrew and Jadis (most of the time)?  Remember how receptive he is to Aslan?  Remember how much he loves his mummy? *cries*

"Digory never spoke on the way back, and the others were shy of speaking to him.  He was very sad and he wasn't even sure all the time that he had done the right thing; but whenever he remembered the shining tears in Aslan's eyes he became sure."

#5. Killian Jones
{ Once Upon a Time }

Pin for Later: 37 Reasons You're Deeply in Love With Once's Captain Hook See?

Tropey, cliché, guy-lined, black-leathered cheeseball that he is, I love Killian Jones.  I love his arc.  I love how complete it is.  He's a villain when we first meet him, though he's giving off those strong "bad boy who will be magically redeemed by his connection to the heroine" vibes that I know some of y'all hate so much (and with valid reason).  The thing about this guy, though, is that he spins that particular archetype a slightly different way.

Does he become Emma Swan's significant other?  Yep.  

Is his relationship with Emma the only thing that "changes" or "redeems" him?  Heck no. 

He's probably first drawn to change because of Emma, sure; but the actual work, the actual changes in behavior, the actual choices . . . those he comes to both on his own and with the help of friends.  He fights his evil tendencies hard and often; and he fails hard and often, too.  But change he wants to and change he will, with or without Emma. 

And I love him for it.  And, of course, for his adorable romance (because yes) and his camaraderie with other characters and his sarcasm (contrived though that latter sometimes is :-P).

#4. Shasta
{ The Horse and His Boy }

The Horse and His Boy - Shasta arrived at the tombs of the dead outside Tashbaan on the edge of the Great Desert.

This guy's really one in a million, y'all.  He's extremely brave for someone so young and with such a traumatic/sheltered past.  And even though he'll complain about it every now and then, he'd rather look out for others than exclusively serve his own needs.  

He's just adorable: adorably pouty, adorably ingenuous, adorably relatable.

" . . . And he told about the heat and thirst of their desert journey and how they were almost at their goal when another lion chased them and wounded Aravis.  And also, how very long it was since he had had anything to eat."

XD  I love him. 

There are just too many tiny little moments to mention, scattered throughout the book, that make me so fond of him.  But, basically, it comes back to what an unpretentious and courageous person he is; and just the way, in general, that Lewis brought him to life. 

#3. Cadvan of Lirigon
{ The Books of Pellinor }

Image shared by vittras. Find images and videos about photography, dark and hands on We Heart It - the app to get lost in what you love.

I've only read this series once (planning to fix that real soon, rest assured), but I fell hard for Maerad's rescuer/mentor/advocate/companion/friend.  He is certainly flawed, but he's humble enough to recognize that and to be willing to hear truth from the people who know and love him.  And the way he loves people in turn resonates really deeply with me.  He's wise and temperamental and deep-running and loyal.  Love him very muchly. 

#2. Tom Harte
{ Broken Trail }

If you're wondering why, you can read this.  The short version?  He's quiet and resourceful and very Down To Defend™.

#1. Faramir
{ The Lord of the Rings }

"War will make corpses of us all."

Same with Faramir.  I know you vets are tired of hearing about him, so I'll just direct those of you who might be new to the post where I talked a lot about why he's my #1 favorite of all time

Who are some of your favorite fictional sirs?


  1. I love Johnny/Max in Penelope. James McCavoy has never been more fanciable. (When he jumps the gate!!!) Nice to see Diggory getting some love too, although Edmund was always my Narnia favourite :)

    1. He's adorable!

      Awww, yes. They're both such great guys. :)

  2. Love this post, Olivia! From this list, I especially love Faramir, Digory, Bertie, & Tom. (Recently I've been considering reading the Pellinor books...all that you've said about them sounds so good!)

    Some of mine that easily come to mind include: Florian Beck (Salt to the Sea), Walter Blythe, Alf Arless (Lark Rise to Candleford), Hank Wilson (The Sweetest Thing), Roger Penhallow (A Tangled Web), & William Buxton (Return to Cranford).

    Will you do a Top Ten Fictional Heroines post soon?!

    Caiti <3

    1. Thanks! (Ooh, I'd love to hear what you think of them if you do read them! They're by no means flawless books, but I do love them. :))

      Awwwwwwwww, Walter and ALf!! *sniffles*

      I suppose I ought to now, oughtn't I?? ;)

  3. Oh, Bertie, I love him in the books, haven't managed to force myself to watch the show, I looked the wording in the books, so not sure how much I'd care for the show.

    I'm more an Eomer fangirl, I think the Faramir in the movie spoiled Faramir, even though I know he's great in the book.

    Edmund will always be my fav, then Shasta, and then Eustace, I think. I love me the evil/bad/naughty men/boys turned good. Continuing on that theme, Martin from the Faerie Rebels.

    I also love a snarky lead man or hero. Sheftu, Lord Peter Wimsey. Martin again.

    And then basically all Rosemary Sutcliff's male protagonists.

    1. The show is a decently accurate adaptation of the series, but I do still prefer the books. ;)

      Ahhh, Eomer is amazing!! Love him a lot.

      I love a good redemption angle, so I know what you mean there.

      Oh, yes. Sutcliff has good protagonists.

  4. I din't know most of these, so I need to fix that! I should really rewatch Penelope because it's been such a long time, but I remember loving Johnny/Max!!!

    Digory and Shasta!!!!!! *hugs them forever* They are both so wonderful!!!! <3

    1. Isn't Penelope sweet??

      Yessshhhh. *hugs them with you*

  5. So many peoples on here that I was like, "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS"

    I *may* steal this post idea lol ;P

  6. #9 - now I really want to read 'The Hunting of the Last Dragon', Jude sounds like a guy I want to get to know

    #8 - oh yes, Johnny or rather Max - I like this character a lot and he makes the movie more enjoyable

    #4 - that is my favorite book of the series, I did sort of didn't like Shasta at first but then he became quite amusing and interesting

    #2- I think it was your talk of Tom that made me watch the movie and I do almost love this character & I do like a guy that is willing to do the right thing even if he has to go against people

    Strange, I can't even think of any fictional heroes right now except Westley from 'the princess bride' and from the movie because Cary Elwes is just so wonderful in the role.

    Have a lovely day.

    1. I'd definitely recommend it!

      He definitely does. <3

      Mine too!

      Yesss <3 <3

      Ooh, Westley is great too!

  7. I looooooooooooooooooooooove that you have twooooooooooooooooooo Narnia boys on here *huggles them*

    Shasta was, and still is, an enormous favorite of mine. I loved that he wasn't stereotypically aggressive or even adventurous: he spends a lot of time being like "WHAT THE HECK AM I EVEN DOING ON THIS JOURNEY," yet every single time, he rises to the challenge and faces down danger in Doggedly Heroic Fashion.

    What you said about Killian Jones made me LAUGH. "He's a villain when we first meet him, though he's giving off those strong "bad boy who will be magically redeemed by his connection to the heroine" vibes that I know some of y'all hate so much (and with valid reason)." YOU WERE TALKING TO ME, WEREN'T YOU. *giggles immoderately*

    I do hate that vibe, and that archetype; but I'm glad indeed to know Killian redeems himself and doesn't rely on a girl to do it for him. ;-)

    Awesome post! I should do one of my own . . .

    1. Because they're the bestttttt. <3

      EXACTLY. He's priceless.

      I . . . I can neither affirm nor deny the identity of the person or persons who inspired that particular caveat concerning Killian. Ahem.


      Yes, you should!!

  8. Ok I loooooooove Johnny Martin!! Seriously, all the heart eyes! <3 <3 <3 I'm watched Penelope for the first time a couple weeks ago, and I'm actually working on a post about it right now, in which there may or may not be a goodly amount of fangirling ;) He's just so cute, and his playful personality and his relationship with Penelope, and like you said, there's such a great character arc there! Ok, I'm done now XD

    Aww I looove Shasta too! He's such a little cinnamon roll! <3 ;)

    1. Ahhhh, really?? I'd love to read that post when you finish it!! :D

      Yesh <3 :)

  9. Tom Sherbourne was such a wonderful character!

  10. Hooray for two Narnia characters!! :D Yes, those boys are both strong, pure and relatable, but not in any stereotypical way. Excellent choices!
    The only other one I know here is Faramir, and I believe you know my thoughts on him. ;)

    I'd have to have a little think about my favourite fictional heroes... hmm... I do really like Laurie from Little Women, but I don't think he's classed as a 'hero'... ohh, Gilbert Blythe!! For sure, one of my favourites. Also I really like the character of Jason Bourne/David Webb, although I haven't read the books yet. (Just going off the movies.) And yes, throw Faramir in there and I'd say that's probably a start to my list. ;)

    1. :D :D :D

      I actually considered Laurie as well, but I also came to the conclusion that he might be too much of a side character to be classified as a "hero" . . . ah, well. Potato, pot-ah-to. ;)

  11. I need to do an updated post about my favorite fictional heroes. Thanks for reminding me. :)

    It makes me happy that I know and love every hero on this list, save for Jude. Huh. I need to try The Hunting of the Last Dragon, methinks.

    Great post!!! I'd say more but all my words would consist of agreement, so yeah. *likes this post* ;)

    1. Ooh, yes, please do! Can't wait. :D

      Awwww, yay! (And yes, I do think you need to try The Hunting of the Last Dragon. I THINK you'd like it. :))

      Hee hee, thanks. :D


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