I felt like the boys were a little left out last month when I was screaming about my favorite female characters, so here we are again! I just embarked on a reread of The Raven Boys the week before CDTH came out, so uh, yeah, this list is Gansey’s fault, actually. As before, this is totally random & non-comprehensive, sure to be full of rambling and capslock, and really just an excuse for me to explain to you in bullet points why Richard Campbell Gansey III deserves your love.
I saved the best for first, obviously. Richard Campbell Gansey III comes to us wearing khakis, salmon polo shirts, and boat shoes from Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Cycle. He’s an ancient man trapped in a young man’s body, and he will talk your ear off about dead Welsh kings if you give him the time of day, and honestly, all of these things combined could describe why I love him alone, but let’s bullet point some more.
- HE’S SUCH A NERD. Like, it’s ridiculous how much Gansey gets off on learning.
- He’s such a Dad™ that whenever one of his friends is in danger, it’s like some kind of bat signal, and Gansey is a straight up wreck until he knows they’re okay again.
- He’s also a bit of a tool, and this shouldn’t be a reason to love him, but he tries so hard not to be a tool, and that’s really endearing.
- The boat shoes, though.
- The amount of sheer honest, earnest hope in that boy could save a drowning man without lifting a hand.
If you thought you were going to get through this list without Leigh Bardugo’s nasty little asshole, THINK AGAIN. Kaz Brekker comes to us from the Six of Crows duology, and he is the Worst. He’d light a cigarette on you if you were burning, but come near his squad, and he’d probably be the one lighting the fire.
- He’s the most edgy seventeen-year-old ever. Like, beyond the whole shaved head and crow love and all black clothes and cane of steel, he goes by Dirtyhands. How goddamn emo.
- He literally loves Jesper so much that he called him Jordie on accident, and I’m never getting over that.
- HE’S SO EDGY. He basically scaled a building and climbed in through a window so that when he returned to his previous gang, he could be sharply dressed and descending from on high. I cannot.
- Despite literally the most tragic upbringing I think I’ve ever read, Kaz does his utmost to start to heal from that trauma and try to move forward.
- But, also, he wears all black.
I don’t know how Samwise Gamgee is coming in third on this list instead of the top, but whatever. From JRR Tolkien’s classic fantasy series, The Lord of the Rings, Sam is my favorite character in all of literature. Like, more than Harry Potter. When asked if I would switch places with a character in any book, I chose Rosie Cotton so that I could be his wife.
- No matter what, Sam is always going to be there to support Frodo. Throughout traveling outside of the Shire for the first time ever, nearly dying countless times, and watching Gollum turn Frodo against him, Sam is always, always there. He is the true definition of loyalty and friendship.
- He’s clever af. When faced with insurmountable odds, he just uses his own skills. Sure, I’ll clang some pans together and growl and hunch my shoulders so my shadow looks huge because that’ll scare them. Sure, I’ll utilize basically a lightbulb when it’s evident a sword is going to do nothing and totally kick ass.
- “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!”
- Every time someone tries to be important with Frodo and ignore him, Sam’s like alright time to drop some eaves.
- All he wants is a simple life–Rosie Cotton as his wife, some little kids with cherub girls, and a nice hole in the ground. But when the safety of the world is at stake, Sam is there to save the day.
Look, it’s blindly obvious that my favorite men are my favorite because they’re broken assholes, whereas my favorite women are my favorite because they’re the coolest freaking people in the world, but it’s fiiiiiiiine. I’m proudly part of the Holland Vosijk protection squad, and I will love this rude, sad boy until the end of time. He hails to us from White London in VE Schwab’s Shades of Magic trilogy, and I lowkey would kill for him.
- Holland’s burns are epic. He knows exactly the right buttons to push to really make you want to wring his neck, no matter who you are, and that’s, quite frankly, an impressive skill.
- In the end, when the decision comes down to having endless power & freeing himself from slavery and saving the world, ya boy saves the world. Seriously. If anyone thinks it was all Kell and Red London is okay only because of him, I’m ready to throw some elbows.
- Also, despite his utter hatred of Kell, he saves his life time and time again because he is good underneath all of that sorrow.
- And despite the fact that he’s literally enslaved and forced to do half of the shitty things that he does, Holland fights back at every chance.
- His cheekbones, though.
WOW, talk about an asshole, am I right? Darayavahoush E-Afshin is definitely the worst of the worst on this list, and that’s 100% because he massacred a whole heck ton of people. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he was enslaved and under control, but he’s also not that guilty about it? He doesn’t really see how that might be wrong? Anyway, SA Chakraborty’s Daevebad trilogy stole my heart with the first installment, The City of Brass, earlier this year, and I’m still not quite recovered from it.
- After literally thousands of years of ingrained prejudice, Dara’s willing to try to work past it and understand that maybe he’s wrong.
- Also, look, I get that he’s terrible, but he’s also so loyal, and he would literally do anything to keep his people safe.
- That scene when he’s freaking out about having to cross a river remains the cutest thing in the world.
- He’s literally ancient. Like, thousands of years old. And yet, he’s the most hormonal teenager I’ve ever read about.
IT’S A SWEET BOY! Lazlo Strange is the most pure boy ever, second only to Samwise, and I’m going to really have to work to keep myself in check and not just scream for eighteen bullet points about the fact that I rec this to literally everyone. Hailing from Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer duology, Lazlo will steal your heart via books.
- Hi, Lazlo Strange has a crooked nose because he broke it while reading and was too absorbed in that reading to notice a book was falling on him, and I am never going to get over that, he is the purest little librarian ever, thanks for coming to my TED talk.
- If you heard a fairytale about a city with no name because everyone simultaneously forgot it, you’d probably be like oh cool sounds fun and move on. Lazlo, however, devotes his entire life researching it, convinced it’s real, and then, when he’s proven right, GETS TO TRAVEL TO THAT CITY, and he just literally drops everything in his hands and springs onto a horse. Literally. That’s how the scene goes. He’s holding books, and they’re like, “wanna come?” and he practically breaks the sound barrier running to them.
- HE’S SUCH A NERD. I love me a good nerd.
- When he meets Sarai, his first reaction is not “she has blue skin that means she’s evil” like THE REST OF THE WORLD, but instead, “oh how can I help her?”
- Okay, for real, did Lazlo just wish for his perfect life so hard that he got it? Because I think he did, and I’m proud of him.
Oooooookay, I shouldn’t actually love Zebulon Finch. No one should. Kaz and Holland and Dara are redeemable, even if only in small ways. Zebulon is not, so just accept that I have questionable taste and move on. Daniel Kraus’ The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch duology is probably one of my favorite weird books for no good reason, and I’ve kind of never rec’d it because it’s a lot, and it’s one of those books that I’ll get Looks for, but alas, here we are.
- It happens to the best of us. Sometimes, you just want the rudest, most unagreeable, selfish, and irredeemable MC ever. Zeb’s got ya. But I think part of why I enjoy that is because he knows that he’s all of those things, and he doesn’t try to make you believe he’s a good person anyway. He just asks you to accept him as he is. Accept, not love or hate. But he’s not going to change, and he’s alright with that.
- The way he desperately clings to his old man fashion is adorable.
- You gotta respect a guy who relatably will do just about anything just to make a buck while he’s broke af.
- He survived for a full century when no one believed he would even make it out of the decade.
- For all his flaws, Zebulon’s also very trusting, and it’s so sad to watch that trust be abused over and over again, but it’s a relief to know that he has at least one human quality.
There’s also almost no art for Amanda Foody’s The Shadow Game trilogy, and I don’t understand. It’s basically New Orleans Six of Crows, but with nice people instead of assholes, and it deserves more buzz because of that. I love Enna Salta a lot, and she probably should have made it onto my favorite women list, but we’re here now to talk about her partner in crime, Levi Glaisyer.
- He may have lost a few of his morals along the way trying to make some money, but Levi knows where his heart lies, and at the end of the day, he cares about his family deeply.
- He became a gang boss not for the glory, but because he thought that he could do better, and he wanted to help the unwanted and misfits.
- Not only does Levi survive the Shadow Game, which is notoriously murderous, but he basically flaunted his survival to take the target off of Enne.
- He’s also edgy af, and I love it. He’s got a shaved head, too, and though he doesn’t wear all black, it’s because he’s too busy looking fancy,.
EUGENIDES! I have no chill when it comes to this little punk, and that’s entirely Megan Whalen Turner’s fault. The Queen’s Thief series is one of my favorites in general, but something obnoxious and over the top happens to me when Eugenides has page time, and I just cannot with how much I want to protect this thieving, drunken fool.
- A kingdom gets all up in his face like you won’t and Gen’s like oh yeah??? and sneaks into the heart of the castle to steal something from the queen’s chambers.
- Another loyal to a fault character, Gen puts himself in danger every single time if it means keeping his loved ones safe.
- His I’m incompetent attitude that fools EVERYONE just kills me. He lets people believe he’s incapable so that they’re too busy picking their jaws up off the floor to stop him when he reveals he’s actually a badass.
- Hates using a sword, but is actually a master swordsman.
- Also taunts his pantheon of gods/goddesses by trying to throw himself off a roof just to prove a point.
Annnnnd, we’re closing up shop with a character that I love in both literature and film! Yes, I also love Samwise in the film, too, but Matt Damon’s portrayal of Mark Watney from Andy Weir’s The Martian makes me giddy inside. There was no way I could make a list of favorite men without him. I mean, look at that face.
- “I’m going to have to science the shit out of this.” “In your face, Neil Armstrong.” “Mars will come to fear my botany powers.” “It has been seven days since I ran out of ketchup.” “Space pirate.”
- Mark is so pure. Like, SO PURE. Don’t believe me? LOOK AT THAT FACE!
- When he’s stranded on Mars alone and with everyone thinking he’s dead, Mark has about one day of just “this sucks” and then decides he’s going to figure out how to grow food on a planet with no water.
- He finds a way to appreciate the little things and look on the bright side when probably anyone else would have just given up.
And those are my favorite male characters in literature! A lot of them are questionable, but I’d like to think they’re balanced out with sweet ones, and despite it all, I’m grateful to have them.