What’s Your Fantasy?

Yesterday I posed the question: What characters from literature did you have a crush on growing up?

I had heaps. Some of the names I don’t remember, because it was twenty years ago. Others I know so well, I would recognise them on the street if I passed them.

I got a tidy mountain of names from people on Facebook — here’s a few of them:

Aragorn. Jondalar. Heathcliff. Perrin Aybara. Quatre Winner. Valentine Wiggin. Hamlet. Rochester. Mr. Darcy. Draco Malfoy. Dustfinger. Pippin. Ender. Laurie. Gatsby. Elizabeth Bennett. Eowyn. Elinor Dashwood. Sybil Vane.

That’s a tidy list of swoon-worthy characters there. A couple of mine are on that list, but I thought I’d share some of the others.


1. Ash Redfern (as modeled here by Alex Pettyfer)

Ash is first introduced in the first book of L.J. Smith’s Nightworld series, Secret Vampire. (I come honestly by my urban fantasy roots.) He’s described as laconic, dangerous, and self-serving. But he’s really rather lost. When he meets his soulmate (a concept that skewed my view of relationships throughout my youth), he makes some dumb choices, but Mary-Lynnette lines him out. He also has eyes that shift colours at random, which is probably part of my fixation with eye colour in writing. L.J. Smith gave her supernatural characters very interesting eyes. Ash is definitely a bad boy, but he’s educated and deliberate — and when it matters, he pours himself into being a better person. He’s one of the few recurring characters in the Nightworld series, and I still love him.

Plus, he was my first taste of a self-actualised vampire. He did his thing and didn’t fuss too much about it. In fact, a lot of Smith’s vampires didn’t brood. Bully for her. Broody vamps get on my nerves. (See blog logline.)

Unsuspecting Ian Somerhalder does not know he is really Gabriel from the Dark Visions trilogy

2. Gabriel from the Dark Visions Trilogy

Ah, Gabriel. Total brat, delinquent, bad boy who accidentally killed the girl he loved. But then he falls in love with Kait, and he risks himself to save her life. Yep. Textbook dreamy. In the books he had grey eyes, but Ian’s just so durn pretty that I couldn’t think of anyone else better to represent him.

(And he actually does have greyish eyes — this picture has been edited to make them look bluer, I think.)

Bua ha, Brian Robinson. Don’t you know you’re actually a witch called Adam Conant?

3. Adam Conant, from The Secret Circle

Before you get all, “Oh, that’s not the actor who played him,” remember that that show started as books. In the books, Adam is said to have red hair. This is Adam say, a few years after high school. 🙂 I always loved Adam — not only because he was a witch who was also cool with women leading the circle, but because he really tried to do the right thing.

Plus, there’s a puurrrrow factor you just can’t ignore here. Just look at him.

Yes, there is a lot of L.J. Smith on the beginning of this list. Just take one look at my raggedy copies of her books to know how much I read them.

“So you want me to be a sorcerer now?”

4. Garion (or…Michael C. Hall)

This was one of those crushes for me that made me reread the entire Belgariad/Malloreon multiple times. It’s classic fantasy — farmboy turned king ad sorcerer, and I loved Garion. Especially in the Malloreon.

Yeah, Mr. Darcy will always wear Colin Firth’s face in my head. Always.

5. Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy

That is is first name, by the way.

I think it’s impossible to read Pride and Prejudice without coming away with a crush on Darcy or Elizabeth, or even Bingley. But probably not Mr. Collins. I read the book before seeing the five hour extravaganza that is the A&E miniseries, but the moment I saw Colin Firth’s face, I died a little. The scene above? Yeah. Try to watch Darcy and Elizabeth in that scene without melting into a puddle of I-need-a-cold-shower.

There are so many other little crushes I had growing up. Taran from the Chronicles of Prydain (I wanted to BE Eilonwy), Julian from the Forbidden Game, Mat Cauthon and Rand al’Thor from the Wheel of Time — too many to list here.

In a way these early crushes influence what you look for in a partner. And they’re always there, like old friends you can go back to whenever you feel the need. Most of mine were from reading fantasy (surprise, surprise), and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t spend a lot of my youth looking around corners for hidden magic.

There’s a fascination with the sweeping romances in the books I mentioned that has stayed close by my side for twenty years. The idea of soulmates, that there’s a silver cord connecting two people that will manifest the moment they get close to one another — I spent a decade wondering if I’d ever find that cord. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

If there’s one thing I learned from these crushes and the philosophy of their relationships, it’s to trust my instinct. After all, the best and most important love in my life has been found in a matter of instants — my closest friends and my husband. Of course, it’s easy to say that in hindsight. But ask my maid of honour and my bridesman (yep, I did that) how we became friends, and they’ll be the first to tell you how immediate it was. As for my husband, something bound us tightly within hours of meeting — and it remained even when we were separated by states and time. Remind me to tell you the whole story someday.

Thank you to everyone who turned up for the #SuperWomen chat last night — it was a raging success, and I had a brilliant time talking with you! We will be doing it again — date pending my whimsical work schedule — so if you missed it, keep your eyes open for details.

What have you learned from your early crushes? Who did you spend your life looking for? Who keeps drawing you back into the worn pages of a book?





About Emmie Mears

Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time.

Posted on September 21, 2012, in urban fantasy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. I totally crushed on Garion! And Aragorn (son of Arathorn), Richard Cypher (Rahl), Tavi…this could take awhile

    • Yeah, there are SO MANY! And if I included video games in here, I’d be all over Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins. And Nathaniel from Awakening. And Sebastian from DAII if he weren’t so stuck on the Chantry. LOL.

  2. Oh, no, Ian Somerhalder’s eyes really are THAT BLUE. I’ve drooled over him ever since I saw him in The Rules of Attraction. Anyway. I’m ashamed to say I can’t remember any of my early literary crushes. I think that’s mostly because I read a lot of crime fiction in high school and the characters weren’t exactly crush-worthy.

    • He is indeed a beautiful, beautiful man. Less than a month till TVD returns, and I get a weekly fix. He’s one of the few celebrities I will admit to going ga-ga over.

  3. I loved Gabriel and I was so happy about how the trilogy ended. He and Kaitlyn belonged together. it was the first book I’d read in awhile as a teen where the good girl actually chose the bad boy in the end, instead of the boring boyfriend.

    • EXACTLY.

      A lot of times the “boring boyfriend” in question was controlling, tuned out, and tried to change the girl. And yet so many times you see say, Jenny Thornton choose Tom over Julian in the Forbidden Game. Though in that instance, Tom did evolve a bit. (Still boring, however.)

      Gabriel was an instance of a very injured person who made choices leading to his own happiness. And he was much better for Kait than Rob.

    • Second thought on that subject, I think a sort of hidden mindset in choosing the “golden boy” over the “bad boy” is a way of ignoring that women are just as subject to having darker sides as men are, trying to keep women in purity mode instead of acknowledging that they too are flawed. That’s why I liked Kait — she definitely had some issues, and Rob was far too naive. Gabriel allowed her to be authentic and didn’t expect her to hide those parts of her away.

      • Kait wasn’t a perfect girl. Flawed characters are far more interesting. You’ve got me wanting to go back and read Dark Visions again 🙂

  4. Who was that dude with the white/blond hair in the LJ Smith books about the ppl who get “sucked” into a game of their worst nightmares? That guy!

  5. Paula, The Geeky Shopaholic

    Gilbert Blythe! I never understood why it took Anne so long to see how awesome he was!

  6. Okay, on the one hand I’m a little disappointed that I don’t get to see who YOU’D cast as Aragorn, Emmie, but I guess Viggo really is a lock. You could have put up a picture of him, couldn’t you? And on the other hand, I’m a little disappointed because you’re going to cost me a little money, because now I’m going to have to read a couple of the books of which you speak. Who says I can’t have a teenage crush at 50?

    • You’re in luck, because the L.J. Smith books have all mostly been re-released in the last couple years. 🙂 They were out of print for a bit. Dark Visions! And give The Secret Circle a shot, because it’s much, much better than the show. Also, the Night World books were all packaged prettily into omnibus editions of three books each, so that makes it handier than tracking down 8!

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