Fiction crushes I have had, in order of appropriateness

Mildly odd: Adam Dalgliesh


(via BBC)

I LIKE A MAN WHO KNOWS HIS WAY AROUND A MURDER SCENE. Dalgliesh doesn’t have my heart like Hercule Poirot does, but he cuts a much more dashing figure in forensic overalls. He’s tall. He’s private. He writes tortured poetry. He drives a Jag. He is so clever it hurts and he lives in a fancy flat above the Thames where he never invites anyone except for me.

Pros: We would solve murders together in between tours of rural England, looking at medieval churches (this is his hobby but I want it to be mine too).

Cons: Like many literary detectives, he doesn’t age: between 1962 (Cover Her Face) and 2008 (The Private Patient, both amazing OH MY GOSH) he’s in permanent, unspecified early-forties. Immortal life partner relationships end in heartbreak or one-sided wrinkles, don’t they Buffy Summers?


Wouldn’t really work: Prince Caspian


SWISH (via Buena Vista)

Stand back: this is where I confess to the INTERNET AT LARGE that I spent every night for about five or six years getting myself to sleep by making up new Voyage of the Dawn Treader stories. Prince Caspian! His ship and his armour and his bravery and his touching vulnerability! Tell me he’d still go after the star maiden if I was his adventuress-in-crime. TELL ME.

Pros: Sweet royal lifestyle in what is an essentially feudal society. Dresses, jewels, horses to ride and chat to, castle, surfeit of heroism.

Cons: Since I’d have lived through my teenage years twice (C.S. Lewis never goes into detail about how messed up the Pevensie children must have been, but he should have), we’d have to work through some issues. He’d be constantly trying to prove himself, I’d be dropping in pass-agg commentary about how I used to run Narnia in the golden age.


Destined for tragedy: Remus Lupin


via Harry Potter wikia

I know, I know, he’s a werewolf. Also older, emotionally scarred, with a corrosive vein of self-loathing underneath the mild-mannered surface. And there’s also the thing where he marries Tonks, has a baby and then dies in the Battle of Hogwarts. So I think we’d probably just be long-standing friends that knew each other’s in-jokes, and I’d make his Wolfsbane potion without whinging every single month, and he’d drink it without gagging just to save my feelings.

Pros: Good Defence Against the Dark Arts skills. At weekends we’d go hunting Death Eaters and make our Patronuses run races against each other across fields of flowers.

Cons: Werewolf. Issues. Death. We covered this.


Historically implausible: Thomas Cromwell

via BBC

via BBC

Yes, I know he can be a cold-blooded power-player. He’s just so good at it. And funny, and sceptical, and he believes in teasing his wife and educating his daughters, and he plays Henry VIII like a fiddle for years, HENRY THE BLIMMING EIGHTH of all people, egotistical vibrant monster that he was, and Cromwell owns him and uses him to make England better. I am attracted to super-human competence (witness: my marriage) and Cromwell makes competence into a gorgeous symphony of getting crap done.

Pros: ability to take simmering revenge on anyone who had slighted me in the past. When Cromwell said, in the TV adaptation that I adored, ‘There’s no need to trouble God, George. I’ll take it in hand’. Did you get a feeling? I got a feeling.

Cons: I’m relying, of course, on Hilary Mantel’s version of Cromwell. In real life the sending-people-blithely-to-their-deaths thing might have got a bit much. Also, as much as I love history, the paucity of baths and abundance of plagues would have been a serious pain.


Special mention of awfulness: Will Parry


via Knopf

I read The Subtle Knife when it was released, at twelve. Will Parry (the stoicism! The tender care for his mother! The oft-mentioned jutting chin!) was an obvious dreamboat. Of course, when you are twelve and Will Parry is twelve, it’s alright to have a crush on him. It becomes less alright when you are thirteen and he is twelve, and then you are fourteen and fifteen and he is – gag, horror – still twelve.

But why twelve, anyway? The entire readership only got through the love scene at the end by vigorously suppressing the fact that both protagonists were barely out of the H&M Kids section. I’m hoping the long-awaited Dark Materials sequel will have allowed him to get older, because LOVE SCENES BETWEEN TWELVE-YEAR-OLDS ARE WEIRD, PHILIP, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DUST AFTERWARDS.


Alright, you guys, this is a safe space. Any embarrassing fiction crushes you’ve had over the years? Roll ’em on out. Any Snape lovers in the audience? You can tell me, I won’t judge.



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14 thoughts on “Fiction crushes I have had, in order of appropriateness

  1. Haha, this is such a funny post. I think we all have fictional crushes. Mine are Tony Soprano, because, ignoring the fact he’s a murderous sociopath, he’s PHWOAR. My next one is St. Sebastien, specifically a Guido Reni painting of him that I saw in Madrid. He has an arrow in his chest, and looks so vulnerable, just as you would with an arrow sticking through your chest! Maybe I should have kept that one to myself. Haha. Brilliant post, and totally agree with Thomas Cromwell! X.

  2. I totally had a crush on Snape. I mean, dark troubled past? Cranky attutide, but still doing every thing to protect the child of his one true love? Swoon!

  3. I have a crush I developed on a character whilst reading the books the first time round and before films were made: Tonks.

    And yes, I’m also a Snape lover.

    I can’t think of any other literary crushes right now. If I was at home, I’d glance at my book shelf to help me out.

  4. Really enjoyed reading this and glad to know that I’m not alone with my fictional character crushes. I must confess to having quite a few.

    Lord Peter Wimsey.

    Captain Frederick Wentworth.

    Plantagenet Palliser.

    And I know he isn’t exactly fictional but Sir Thomas More. However, only as he is portrayed in A Man For All Seasons. I don’t think the actual More was quite my cup of tea.

  5. Oh yes, Frederick Wentworth, I’d forgotten him.

    Who’s the opera singer in Mapp and Lucia? Nina? Her, anyway.

    I’d rather have Simon Seraillier than Adam Dalgleish any day.

    Nancy Blackett.

  6. Absolutely Prince Caspian. He’s just so… gallant!

    But my absolute true fictional love is Tony Hill from the Val McDermid books. Brilliant, dedicated, passionate, complex, troubled but determined, a bit odd. And he loves buttered popcorn jelly beans. What more can I ask for?

  7. Well, yes, Will Parry.
    And yes, I’m a Potterhead, but I’ve never had a crush on him.

    • Actually, me neither – I tend to go for annoyingly good boys, so Snape never tempted me 🙂
      I am listening to the Dark Materials audiobooks while I do housework at the minute, and hilariously they change Will’s voice from a pre-pubescent twelve-year-old to a burly seventeen-year-old between The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. That’s because it’s WEIRD THAT HE’S TWELVE, and everyone knows it.

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  9. I love complex murderous characters like Jerome (Gotham), Loki (Marvel), Zoro (One Piece), Natasha (Marvel), Vegeta (Dragonball). Sure they’ve all killed people and their crimes range from multiple murders and assault to total and utter genocide but hey, we all have our own likes and dislikes, right?

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