Falling in love with fictional characters

Have you ever fallen in love with a fictional character? It seems that, especially in the world of YA and teen fiction, falling head over heels for someone who doesn’t exist is a fairly common occurrence, and as it’s Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d take a closer look at fictional love.

I should admit right away that – apart from a momentary dalliance with Mr. Rochester when I was fifteen – I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in love with a book character. Maybe that’s to do with the fact that, when I read, the critical section of my brain is rarely turned off, so even though a character might be compellingly attractive, a little part of me is always thinking about the author behind the character. I always have a little emotional distance.

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Bastian from Neverending Story: the opposite of me.

Am I missing out by not falling in love with book characters? Probably. Those of you who fall for people in pages always seem to fall hard. With that in mind, I did a little bit of research into the most popular literary crushes, and found a pretty comprehensive list in this post. One contributor loves Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice so much that he said, “My wife even knows that if I met her in person right now, I might still attempt to woo her despite the ring on my finger.” Another has the hots for Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird: “I would always imagine this charming, Southern, handsome stud of an attorney.”

Other popular literary leading men include (of course) Mr. Darcy, Heathcliff, Rhett Butler, Oliver Mellors and Jay Gatsby. As for literary women, there’s Holly Golightly, Arwen, Jane Eyre, Jo March and Daenerys Targaryen. (Although I have to say that I’m less sure about the women – the brooding-yet-irresistible leading lady seems to be less of a trope in fiction.)

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Yes, this is a T-shirt. (Image from Chargrilled)

I’m not a total emotional ice queen, however, and there is one form of fictional love I can do, and I do it well. I fall in love with characters from TV shows. Maybe it’s to do with actually seeing their faces (I seem to have a problem with imagining physical descriptions in books, which I plan to talk about in another post), or maybe hearing their voices, but sometimes a TV character can cut right through that critiquing part of my brain (even if they’re a bit cheesy and not entirely realistic) and get straight to my heartstrings.

My biggest TV crushes include Hawkeye from M*A*S*H (played by Alan Alda), Casanova (David Tennant) in the BBC mini series, Superman (Dean Cain) in the classic New Adventures of Superman, and Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) from The X-Files. My current fictional crush is Bruce Campbell in the cult 90s TV western Brisco County Jr.

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Oh, if Bruce would only look at me the way he looks at dynamite.

Falling in love with a fictional character can be hard (they’re the ultimate unobtainable crush!), but you usually won’t be alone in your feelings. That’s part of the reason why fandoms and fan fiction exist, after all: to help the lovesick and brokenhearted feel closer to the object of their desire. But fictional love isn’t all bad. In fact, it can be a love for the ages, because whenever you need to, you can go back and rediscover them all over again.


Who are your fictional crushes? Let me know with a comment down below!

Happy Valentine’s Day. ❤️️

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2 Comments on “Falling in love with fictional characters

  1. I tend to fall in love while I’m reading the book, and not just with the characters but the entire experience. The drama, the mystery, the moment when each character has that epiphany moment, the wins and losses that they go through. I find this a much easier way as once I’ve finished the book, and let the emotions naturally fade away, life proceeds as normal again the next day. Otherwise the fictional world just breaks into my reality and that is never a good thing lol
    Of course there are a few that I respond to more – Unlit Star by Lindy Zart is one example
    Slow to get into, but a beautifully story. I loved everyone in this – the main girl, the injured boy, both mothers and even the nasty cheerleader (I’m pretty sure cheerleader, it’s been awhile since I’ve read it!).

    • Yes, that’s much more like it! It’s easier to fall in love with the world, the atmosphere, the relationships, but not with specific characters. :)

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