There are a lot of reasons why I’m here with this post, and, honestly, with half of the posts this month. Not only am I posting four short stories, all of which take place in some level of fantasy, but I’ve got an entire discussion on how exhausted I am with homophobia in fantasy. I won’t get on my soapbox here about it, but you should totally go give it a look because it’s most of the reason why we’re here with this list. Fantasy is the genre of my heart, to the point where I have two full eight-foot bookcases dedicated to housing my fantasy books, and the fact that it took me a good, long while to come up with all of these queer MCs? That’s sad, and I really wish it wasn’t so, but I so rarely see myself represented in fantasy, and while that is changing, it’s changing very slowly. Thus, I’m here today to celebrate the queer fantasy MCs that I do love, and, hopefully, I’ll be able to introduce you to some new favorite characters.
I put these in alphabetical order from the characters, but honestly? Even if I hadn’t, Andy from The Old Guard by Greg Rucka & Leandro Fernández would have come first. I now hold all stories to the standard of this graphic novel & Netflix adaptation, and if you don’t have a speech professing your eternal love for your queer partner, then I just don’t know what to tell you, I don’t love it as much. But we’re not even here to talk about Joe & Nicky–although ughhhhhhh kill me now I love them so much–but the badass queen herself, Andromache the Scythian.
You know what the best part about getting adaptations of queer stories? I talk more about queer stories than I do all else, so getting to include gifs that show off these insanely cool queer characters is just everything I ever wanted and nothing I ever thought to hope for. LOOK AT HER! If Netflix doesn’t make a second movie, I will revolt because I need more Andy/Quynh flashbacks in my life just as much as I need to see them duke it out with each other.
Will I ever not be talking about There Will Come a Darkness by Katy Rose Pool? Unlikely. In fact, at current count, I think I’ve talked about it three times in a row, and I’m so far from done. The review for this series come autumn when the finale releases is going to be insane, and I can’t wait. But Anton? Honestly, I thought the Sad Boi™ vibes were never going to be stronger than they were with Kaz Brekker, and then Anton walked in and was like, “You nearly drowned? How sad, my brother drowned me.” AND I AM RUINED. I love Anton so much, and while I’m not going to scream here about his relationship with Jude because that was last week, I also cannot get over how chaotically bi this boy is, like WOW, Anton, please, carry on longing for literally every person that crosses your path. I also just saw an interview with Pool, and someone asked her for one sentence advice for each character, and she was just–bud, make one friend, an ACTUAL friend, and yup. That’s Anton in a nutshell! I love this boy, and I won’t be stopped.
I can’t not talk about my James Bond mess, Cyril DePaul from The Amberlough Dossier by Lara Elena Donnelly, who is also just chaos walking, like someone get this man a nap. I wouldn’t call myself a diehard Bond fan since I’ve literally only watched the Daniel Craig ones, and that’s probably as far as it’ll go for me, but I did write close to 200k words of fanfiction for 00Q, and Cyril reminds me so much of Bond that it just breaks my heart anew every time I think about it. Like, truly. He needs tea, some bland food, and so much sleep. Possibly too many blankets and Aristide just softly taking care of him. Or, you know, a quiet beach house to spend his retired years in, THANK YOU DONNELLY!
Wow, I haven’t thought about Victor Vale from Vicious by VE Schwab in ages, I should reread those. I don’t honestly know if I’m emotionally ready, though? Maybe I’ll save it for whenever Schwab writes the third one, and then I can just die over the course of three books. Yeah, that sounds fun. Victor, somehow, is the most chill character on this list, which is just hilarious when you consider all of him. (I will not include a HTTYD gif here, but I want to.) I love, too, that his sexuality very rarely comes into play, but that it’s still explicit. There’s no guesswork happening with Victor, but it’s also not the focal point of his character. And while I am screaming lately about queer fantasy MCs, this is what I mean, too. We don’t need the gayest characters ever, we just need them in general.
I had to have a stern talk with myself about which Destiny Soria book to include because I really wanted both, but Beneath the Citadel lives rent-free in my brain at all times, and I’m never not going to fall apart over Evander, so it just made sense. I also didn’t include Evander & Newt in last week’s favorite couples, which I’m kicking myself for a little, but I didn’t want both of these lists to just be a repeat of each other, so I figured I’ll just shout about both things here! Evander is everyone’s fave chaotic bi boy who needs to be doing something at all times, or he will accidentally spew his feelings all over the floor, so he usually just does magic tricks and jokes through his pain, and I am here for it. The very soft friends to lovers romance with Newt only solidified how much I loved this book even more, and there are, like, eight thousand other things I could scream about, but wow, Evander Sera, friends. He’s worth it.
I’d like it to be known that I will gladly lay down my life for Lei from Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, and none of y’all can stop me, particularly because I think all of you will also be with me doing the very same thing. Holy shit. I am never going to get over this book. I want to reread it so bad, but I also want to read all of them right in a row, so I’m waiting for the third one to release, and I’m also just hella not ready to experience all that heart-stopping chaos again. But Lei?? Oh my SATAN. Wow. WOW. She is everything. Just everything.
When The Shadow Game by Amanda Foody was pitched, it was Six of Crows meets House of the Rising Sun, and that is honestly the perfect combo to describe this book, but also? Levi Glaisyer is bi, and it will actually be the end of me. So often, we get told a character is bi without actually seeing representation of both sides of that coin, and while that’s fine, I’m all here for getting whatever bi rep I can, it’s also really refreshing to actually see Levi date both a man and a woman. Not to mention Levi is the exact definition of chaotic bi, and it’s fantastic. (I’ve used the world chaos so much in this post, I’M SORRY.)
For some reason, I didn’t know that Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust was queer, so when Soraya starts getting all hot and bothered about Parvaneh, I was like “waitttttttt say it isn’t so!” BUT IT IS SO, AND IT’S GLORIOUS. Ugh, yes, I want more monster villain ladies in love pleeeease! It took a second to get off the ground, too, so I was really doing a whole lot of side-eyeing this book until it finally happened, and wowza. Thank you, more please. Soraya was a fantastic MC, too, and I loved seeing her embrace her villainous ways and full monster potential. The envelope definitely could have been pushed a little more, but I’m so happy with where she ended up.
Oh, Thaniel. I could just end this one here because that describes all my feelings about the MC from The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. He is just the softest boy ever, and I am never, ever going to get over the tea in the dark scene and how gentle he was with Mori, or how gentle he ever is, which is hilarious to think because ya boy is literally like “I’m dying? Better save the world!” The amount of people that he punches when he’s half-dead is just outstanding, and I don’t even need to protect him from the world because he’s got that all managed on his own. Honestly did not know that I needed a boxing gay telegraphist in my life, but okay!
And rounding out this list is Yadriel from Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, who also probably needs a nap or maybe just a long snuggle sesh to help him chill out. Why are all these characters put through so much grief? I know, I know, character development and plot movement, but sheesh, give me a Tolkien 12 endings and show me them happy! All that said, haha, I absolutely adore Yadriel, and he made me cry so hard every time he just wanted to belong, wholly as himself. The dumbass psycho nature of this boy just broke me to pieces, and I wanted to watch him fumble through saving the world for endless pages. How deeply he cares for his friends and his family was just beautiful, and he’s definitely at the top of my favorite MCs in general.