Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Most Romantic Character in Literature

After a month long (and very scientific) poll on this blog, the most romantic character in literature is (drum roll please) JAMIE FRASER of the Outlander Series. This poll was conducted in response to Entertainment Weekly’s Shelf Life Blog on the topic of the results of a British poll in the Daily Telegraph. Confused? I did not believe in the results from the poll (as seen in this post) so I created my own poll and added Jamie Fraser, Edward Cullen, Captain Wentworth, and Colonel Brandon to the original 10 romantic characters. The top romantic heroes are as follows:

1. Jamie Fraser, Outlander (22%)
2. Edward Rochester, Jane Eyre (18%)
3. Fitzwilliam Darcy, Pride and Prejudice (13%)
4. Captain Wentworth, Persuasion (11%)
5. Rhett Butler, Gone With the Wind (10%)
6. Edward Cullen, Twilight (7%)
7. Mark Darcy, Bridget Jones Diary (5%)
8. Colonel Brandon, Sense & Sensibility (5%)
9. Henry DeTamble, The Time Traveler’s Wife (5%)
10. Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights (2%)
11. Richard Sharpe of Bernard Cornwell’s Sharpe series (1%)
12. Gabriel Oak, Far From the Madding Crowd (1%)

Captain Corelli of Louis de Berniere’s Captain Corelli’s Mandolin and Rupert Campbell Black of Jilly Cooper’s The Rutshire Chronicles received zero votes.

Jamie Fraser had a run for his money with Mr. Rochester, but won in the end. I thought it was very interesting that Captain Wentworth came in a close fourth to Mr. Darcy. It seems that readers of this blog esteem him as highly as I do. Persuasion ties with Pride and Prejudice as my favorite Austen novel. The letter that Captain Wentworth writes to Anne is one of the most romantic moments in literature. I was also glad to see Heathcliff so far down on the list, although I did agree with one comment that although he is not a likeable character, one must admit that he does pursue Cathy with his full passion. I still know nothing about Richard Sharpe, but I saw that he will be in a couple of episodes of Masterpiece Classic this spring so I will have a chance to learn more about him.

I agree with my readers that Jamie Fraser is the most romantic character in literature. He is a handsome Scot that runs around in a kilt in Outlander, but he is much more than that. He is a man with deep passions and loyalty that inspires love in not only his soul mate Claire, but in a wide variety of people. His love for Claire grows through the years through trials and tribulations and still remains passionate when they are in their 50’s.

I dream of a day when I will be able to see Jamie Fraser in a movie or even better, an HBO mini-series. The photos I have on here were gleaned from other blogs that suggest that Gabriel Aubry or Gerard Butler would make a good Jamie. I’m not convinced, but I don’t have any good suggestions besides picking an unknown actor. What are your thoughts on an actor to play Jamie?

Still not convinced that Jamie is the most romantic character in literature? Here is one of my favorite quotes from him to Claire (in Dragonfly in Amber). If this does not convince you, I don’t know what will!
I will find you,” he whispered in my ear, “I promise. If I must endure two hundred years of purgatory – two hundred years without you – then that is my punishment, which I have earned for my crimes. For I have lied, and killed, and stolen; betrayed and broken trust. But there is one thing that shall lie in the balance. When I stand before God, I shall have one thing to say, to weight against the rest. Lord, ye gave me a rare woman, and God! I loved her well.”


  1. *sigh* I ♥ Jamie Fraser. I have never looked at a man in a kilt the same way since I started reading the Outlander series.

  2. You must see the Sharpe series, Laura! He is *so* romatic, in a heroic, robin hood type way, championing the rights of the underdog and surviving the worst kind of situations.

  3. I wholeheartedly agree with this poll, though I'd put Mr. Darcy 2nd (Mr. Rochester did hide his crazy wife in the attic and lied to Jane about it afterall, he has to get points taken away for that at least!). As you well know, I'm very much into the idea of Gerry Butler as a Jamie, it's how I've thought of him for years now!

  4. I agree with you Julie, I would put Mr. Darcy second behind Jamie. I think with the All About the Brontes Challenge getting started on this blog, it got a lot of Bronte lovers voting and weighed it more toward Mr. Rochester. Mr. Rochester is sexy, but the crazy wife in the attic definitely puts him behind Mr. Darcy in my opinion! :-)

    Monica - Great description of Richard Sharpe. I am really excited to check him out on Masterpiece Theatre this spring!

    Katy - I know how you feel! :-)

  5. Is it weird that this makes me want to read Outlander? I can't believe he won out over Mr. Darcy!

  6. This outcome does not surprise me. Out of all of the romantic heroes, I feel like I know Jamie the best. Diana Gabaldon's characters seem so real, more than any others in any book. I wish Masterpiece Theater had bought the rights to Outlander because I feel they are the only ones who could do justice to these books. I think Gerard, while hot, is just too old to play Jamie. I like the Australian actor Chris Hemsworth ( for his blue cat eyes or Chris Pine ( Fun discussion!

  7. Also, in defense of Mr. Rochester, he was tricked into marrying that first wife. He didn't know that madness ran in the family. Then once he discovered her insanity, he didn't abandon her, but took her into his home and provided care. Poor man. He lied to Jane, yes, but for understandable reasons. Wasn't the loss of his eyesight punishment enough?

  8. Well Laura, I think you know that I am glad to see Jamie top your poll. For me, Jamie Fraser will always be at the top of my list. I absolutely love Gabaldon's writing. She does a superb job bringing Jamie "alive". It sounds weird to say this but I feel as if I know Jamie,almost as if he is real. No worries, I know he is a fictional character...*smile*

    While Gabriel Aubry looks fantastic, I am not convinced that he is Jamie. Emily pointed out Chris Hemsworth, there is something about him that I like but not sure that he is Jamie either. The bottom line for me is that there probably is not one actor that will fulfill the role of Jamie to my complete expectations. I don't think of Jamie in terms of looks, for the most part. I think of him in terms of his personality and nature. In terms of his strengths and weakness. KWIM?

  9. Sheesh, this post and comments makes me want to find my husband - RIGHT NOW!!
    Damn his job.

    A good Jamie? What about that Scot from that 300 movie? He's pretty cute, but yes his hair is a problem. It's got to be longer.

  10. Oh my Heck! Is he not the most gorgeous man ever! He has pushed Mr. Colin Firth Darcy out of my head. Thanks for the visual -- I bought this first book in the series, but haven't read it yet. Now I can't wait! I made sure my sister who married a Scot knows about this series.

  11. I can't believe anyone could ever trump Mr. Darcy, but I am highly biased on this issue. I like the idea of a man one can grow old with.

    Regarding Mr. Rochester, sure, he doesn't abandon Bertha Mason but he does attempt to commit polygamy. It's not just that he lies to Jane, it's that he's so selfish he never even considers the repercussions for her. And no, blindness isn't enough punishment. It just teaches him enough humility to make him palatable as a husband.

  12. Hm. Does sound romantic. However, the furthest I've made it in Outlander is half of the first book (I am going to try to finish it and read the rest though!) and so for now I think Jamie is a jerk!

  13. Oh Jenny....*shakes head in dismay*'ve got to keep reading. Keep reading!!

    I've been an Austen, and "Mr. Colin Firth Darcy" fan for years...but Jamie has scrambled his way to the top of my list and is not in any hurry to give up his spot. ;)

  14. Brizmus - No, that is not weird. I highly encourage you to read Outlander and find out about Jamie Fraser for youself!

    Emily - I like your Masterpiece Theatre idea for Outlander. They would do an excellent mini-series of it. I had wished for a mini-series rather than a movie myself. I just hope the movie gets made one of these days as they seem to have been working on it forever. I like your Jamie suggestions and agree that Gerard Butler is too old to play an Outlander aged Jamie.

    Deanna - I agree. I think Jamie would be best as an unknown actor. I have too many expectations for him, especially after reading the entire series and really getting to "know" him!

    Lula - The Scot from 300 was Gerard Butler. His picture is the guy in chainmail on top of this blog entry. I like him, but think he is a tad too old for the part (unless he was playing Jamie in Voyager or later books) and needs red hair.

    Kim - Yes, you need to read the series. It is excellent! And the picture doesn't even do Jamie justice in my opinion! :-)

    Alexa - I love Mr. Darcy too. I couldn't believe he wasn't on top of the British poll and that is why I started this one. I think Jamie beats Mr. Darcy because he is someone one can picture growing old with . . . and you get too as the series progresses. And he only gets better with age;-)

    Jenny - I agree with sassynach - keep reading!!

    Sassynach - I agree. I am definitely a Mr. Colin Firth Darcy fan and I think he is very romantic. But I think that Jamie edges him out on my own personal list for the reasons I stated above, we get to see him develop over time and you really feel like you "know" him.


    My sister sent me this hilarious youtube video montage of Gerard Butler as Jamie. What do you think?

  16. yay for Jamie! and great quote. really gets me! he'll always be at the top of my list.

  17. Laura, do you think that is footage from Braveheart, and she's swapped Gerald's head for Mel's? That was funny!

  18. Why haven't I read Outlander yet? I resolve to read it in 2010!

  19. I'm happy to see Jamie at the top of the list (especially since I voted for him). :-) Laura, I love that quote--especially since I just read it for the first time the other day when I was finishing Dragonfly in Amber. I've only read the first 2 books in the series, but I can't ever recall being this addicted to a series before. I really feel like I know the characters and from what it sounds it's only going to get better as I read through the rest of the series.

    Sassynach--I love your name! :-)

  20. I'm so glad Jamie won! I hope to read The Fiery Cross in January. I'm not sure about either of those actors playing him in the movie. Go find an unknown who captures his dreaminess and hard edge. Your quote made me fall in love all over again.

  21. I love Jamie! A close second would be Nathaniel Bonner from Sara Donati's Wilderness series, Both are realistic men who are strong and passionate. I love Jamie's quote "if my last words are not 'I love you'--ye'll ken it was because I didna have time." -- from The Fiery Cross

  22. There are some people mentioning Daniel Cudmore as a possible Jamie. He is probably the first suggestion that has struck a chord with me. Not that I am a fan-he just possesses the size and the twinke in his eye that I imagine Jamie has. Let's face it, whoever would play Jamie in a movie would have to be large and imposing, but still have that charm that has all of us half in love with him!

  23. Jamie Fraser is definitely the most romantic character I have come across in many years

  24. How could I have missed this??? Rochester voted #1 and I only see it like 8 months later? For shame, for shame!

    I happen to agree with Emily - the man was tricked into marriage and he did his best looking after her, instead of putting her into an asylum or letting her perish at Ferndean.

    Rochester all the way!

    And John Thornton from Elizabeth's "North & South" - he's dreamy too. And Anne Brontë's Mr. Weston from "Agnes Grey", and partially even Monsieur Paul from Charlotte Brontë's "Villette" - what a fab character! So many charming literary heroes, only one heart to go around...

  25. James McAvoy (young Jamie) & Gerard Butler (older Jamie) - Just putting it out there.....