5 Crush Worthy Book Characters: From Austen to Shakespeare

The 5 Most Crush Worthy Male Characters From Books

Brandy Anderson

There is something peculiarly special about “falling” for a character in a book, particularly if you first read the book without having seen any performed adaptation of the story. Even if the writer gives specific cues as to how the character looks or sounds, your mind’s eye still gives full materialization to him or her. I read all of the books on my list below before I ever watched an adaptation of them so I had a particular idea of what each of these characters would look and sound like without any actor to influence my mind’s picture. For the purposes of this article, however, I wanted to include a picture of each one because photos just made lists like this prettier, don’t they? Most of these characters have had numerous actors portray them, but I’ve chosen a photo of the actor who I thought best embodied each character.

5. Benedick (Much Ado About Nothing)

“I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.”


Oh, his witty banter is infectious and it’s a treat when he verbally jousts with Beatrice. Benedick is coy, smug, unfeeling, and incredibly caring all at the same time. It is clear that his jabs towards Beatrice, in particular, veil a vulnerability that he takes pains to hide. Benedick is brave and he is arguably the most ethical character in the entire play. When Benedick’s good friends, Claudio and Don Pedro, impugn Hero’s character, Benedick defends her. Yes, part of the reason for his vehement defense is due to pressure from Beatrice, but it is evident that Benedick also thinks Claudio and the other men are doing a great disservice to Hero. Benedick takes a stand against those closest to him in order to do what he feels is right. In the end, what makes Benedick most memorable are his clever witticisms, his ethics, and his undeniably attractive humour.

4. Remus J. Lupin (Harry Potter series)

“I am too old for you, too poor…too dangerous…”


I’m sure the younger set would choose Harry or Ron, but for me, it’s always been Lupin. I have always been a sucker for the underdog and Lupin is definitely that. He is quietly heroic and he serves as the calm, but always strong, voice of reason. Although his “furry little habit” keeps him from having the life he wants, he doesn’t allow this to plummet him into self pity (well, except for that escapist nonsense for awhile in Deathly Hallows but I like to block that bit out). Lupin is always there for Harry and for his friends, his loyalty never wavers. He risks his life for the Order and for those he loves. Poor Moony is the exemplar of the downtrodden, the reluctant beckon of hope in a hateful world of intolerance. It’s no surprise that the energetic Tonks falls for brave and soft spoken Lupin.

3. Gilbert Blythe (Anne of Green Gables series)

He can call me “Carrots” any time.


One of Gilbert’s traits that makes him so wonderful is the way in which he treats everyone as his equal, including Anne, and let’s not forget that certainly was not overly common in their Victorian era. Gilbert is funny and loves to have a good time, but he’s also a serious scholar who becomes a doctor, not for the money or the prestige, but because he wants to heal others. He is always top of his class (well, he’s tied for first with Anne) throughout school, including university. He sacrifices for his loved ones (remember when he gave up the Avonlea school so Anne could teach there and stay with Marilla?), he works hard, and he proves to be a good son, friend, husband, and father. Gil is one of the good ones.

2. Mr. Knightly (Emma)

“I shall no longer call you Mr. Knightly. I shall call you my Mr. Knightly!”


Okay, I know some of you may balk that I would include Knightly over Mr. Darcy but, you know what, Knightly is just way cooler and a nicer fellow than Darcy (much as I love Colin Firth’s Darcy in particular!). There are a few other notable swoon-worthy Austen heroes, particularly Captain Wentworth and Colonel Brandon, but Knightly wins in the end. He’s masculine, good humored, and he puts up with Emma’s craziness. Also, most of all, he sticks up for what he believes in no matter what. My favourite scene in the entire book is when he defends Mrs. Bates during the picnic. So great! His jealously over Frank Churchill is fun to read, but he never lets it consume him. Mr. Knightly is a man whom just about any woman would fall for.

1. Laurie/Teddy/Theodore Laurence (Little Women and Good Wives)

“I won’t have my girls being silly about boys!”


Laurie is the perfect life playmate. He’s fun, intelligent, playful, caring, brave, amusing, cheeky, loving, and just downright irresistible. Laurie isn’t afraid to take chances, in fact at times he can be too rash, but his impulsiveness is refreshing in a world where too many people are crippled by the fear of taking risks. His loyalty knows no bounds and when he falls in love with Jo, he pledges himself to her entire family. Sure, in his youth he is sometimes a scoundrel to his grandfather and to drippy Brooke, but he always pulls through for them in the end. Luckily, as he grows older his penchant for mucking up trouble just for trouble’s sake  minimizes. He constantly tries to improve himself, he overcomes his gambling addiction, and he learns to keep his temper in check. There are two things that always make me sad, however: one, Laurie gives up his beloved music in order to “make himself useful”; and two, oh and I’ve just never quite gotten over this one, he and Jo don’t end up together. Now, I like Professor Bhaer, I do, but Jo should have either stayed single (go, girl power!) or married Laurie. I’m still miffed at you, Louisa May Alcott, for separating Jo and Teddy!

And, because I can never decide whether I love Christian Bale’s Laurie or Peter Lawford’s Laurie best, I had to include both of them! Plus, you can never have too much Laurie!


Anne of Green Gables. Jonathan Crombie. Sullivan Entertainment. Film.
“Dear Louisa…” quote. Anonymous. Image.
Emma. Jeremy Northam. Miramax Films. Film.
Harry Potter. David Thewlis. Warner Brothers. Film.
Little Women. Christian Bale. Columbia Pictures. Film.
Little Women. Peter Lawford. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Film.
Much Ado About Nothing. Kenneth Branagh. Renaissance Films. Film.
“Never Settle For Anything Less Than a Gilbert”. anneandgilberttumb.



9 thoughts on “5 Crush Worthy Book Characters: From Austen to Shakespeare

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