Fetching Figments

Thank you to the 88 kind souls who took part in my Show Yourselves! exercise; it was very nice indeed to encounter some more personalities behind the traffic-graphs. For the considerable number of you who didn’t feel ready to commit themselves to a mouseclick (surely I had left no possible permutation of reader type unamed?!) – I am glaring slightly huffily at YOU. Right now! Ok. As long as that’s understood. And… according to my not-so-clever poll, although the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one (he said), I have somehow managed to defy the intergalactic odds and 1% of my readers are intriguing little green men! Coolio!

(Whisper: I would have been awfully disappointed had no-one clicked that option… I want to believe you see..)

Anyhoo, I’m not much the wiser after it, but I’ve not done an opinion poll before, and a change is as good as a rest, they say. 

I am an only child, and my parents have lived (in a delightful pink house) in the sticks since I was 18 months old. Mum taught me to read when I was 3, and, given the absence of distractions, I never looked back. Or up. Throughout my childhood I was stoked with a highly eclectic selection of reading matter: a combination of children’s stories, my father’s book club anthologies, second hand books given to us by family friends, and the local library.

A decent narrative reaches into my mind: a peculiarly intimate form of hardwiring takes place that I cannot quite describe and suddenly I am no longer in the same room as my body (Yay! Goodbye, you fat bloody thing!). I like reading. A lot. And yet, lately, my acquiring of new authors has been simply pitiful. My progress on the various ‘100 best books, ever’ lists: pitiful. My attitude towards tackling a new, challenging read is… yep, pitiful. I can’t seem to find the revs, somehow. I can generally only read when I go to bed and it’s so much easier there to slip into something… gentle. Familiar.

But I do get a little sick of going over old ground, so I was particularly pleased when Shannon, after eliciting the fact that I was an Diana Gabaldon virgin, sent me the first Outlander book. Like Ms Pru, I whizzed through it avidly (and am keenly awaiting next installment!) and greatly enjoyed my quiet musing afterwards as to quite where I’d plonk Jamie Fraser in my all-time ‘Literary Characters I’d Rather Like To Marry/Do Filthy Things To/Have Fall Passionately In Love With Me/Fall Beautifully In Love With/Have A Wild Fling With’ (delete as applicable) list. He was very fanciable young man indeed, but after giving him due consideration, I regretfully announce that he didn’t quite crack my personal top 5. 

I can never quite decide what order these lot actually come in (Fnaarrr…! Ahem...) but I don’t think Marcus Didius Falco is quite top 3 these days. The later books have rendered him domesticated, and my passion has died a little. Perhaps I should give The Silver Pigs and Shadows in Bronze another spin.

The corrupting influence of film has shaped my pre-existing preference of Aragorn a little: that bit that Viggo whatshisface does in the Prancing Pony at Bree –

minute 3 until 4 here

… well… fwooaoar. With great big fantasy bells on. 

The insinuous cross-contamination of TV continues its deadly work within my list: Mr Darcy’s character never really had me by the throat… until I watched THAT episode. UK readers will immediately know the one I mean. 

Fitzwilliam Darcy’s serious contention for that number one top spot is absolutely conditional upon him channelling Colin Firth in all things…

Henry Crawford may well have been already ruined by early independence and bad domestic example, but I think I could happily ruin him a little more, regardless.

And finally, I proffer to you – provided you give him back when you’re finished – Rupert Campbell-Black. If I really, really had to pick, I think… he’d clinch it. He’d clinch pretty much anything female, in fact. You must steadfastly blot out the slight emasculation of the later cameos: Riders and Rivals are the ones to sink yourselves… into. *Blushes*

These are not my actual best-loved or most mind-formative books, you understand. I have a looonnnnng outstanding meme from Aphra regarding those, although there is certainly some crossover. These are merely my literary top totty, so to speak.

(And speaking of deadly attractive young males who ride… ummm… very well – Harry went for his first ride on a proper horse last Friday – bareback, too – and I have never seen such a wide beaming smile on his little face before. Whenever Sally – a distinctly fat and rather amiable piebald, although she does have the distinction of being the most recent horse to chuck me off – stopped for another great chomp of grass, Harry bounced energetically up and down, kicking his little sandalled heels into her – well, her back, because she’s broad as a car – and waved his mane-gripping hands about like the conductor at Last Night of the Proms. I was very proud; I am now, naturally, daydreaming about cheering wildly as Harry jumps the only clear round at Horse of the Year Show, 20 years from now.)

Tell me about your totty, people?

30 Responses

  1. I don’t want to give anything away, but the boy Jamie Frasier is nothing compared to the man that he will become in the later books. As my elderly friend used to say “he can put his boots under my bed any time!”
    Life experience and tragedy adds depth to him that he does not have in the first book and you learn so much more about him as the story unfolds. He may be sexy at 23 but he is irresistible at 43.

  2. I feel I should have mentioned something about wanting to get the list laminated.

  3. I do have a certain penchant for Sean Bean as Sharpe…..

    • I had a skim through LCL again the other day when I was sorting bookcases, and could not rid myself of Sean Bean’s face & accent! I wouldn’t watch Lord of the Rings for ages, in case the actors displaced forever the images I originally created for myselves. In Sean’s case, though, it was quite a pleasant image!

  4. ah, Jamie Fraser! he’s on the list. I promise he will rise up the rankings the more books you read. the seventh one is out in the US this September, I am very excited. Roger is on my list, too, if that’s not a spoiler.
    I must also recommend James Cobham from “Freedom & Necessity” (Steven Brust and Emma Bull) http://www.librarything.com/work/42169; historical fiction/fantasy set in England at the time of the Chartists.brilliant stuff.
    must find another fantasy James to complete the set…

    • Can I just say, a long time after the event, that this comment was absolutely fucking pivotal! It ENTIRELY DESTROYED my list ranking: a good job I hadn’t laminated it… James Cobham straight – straight! – in at number one!

  5. Mr. Darcy (over and over again, I would deflower that man), Sidney Parker from Sanditon, Rhett Butler, and (most recently) Edward Cullen. I could totally turn that boy into a man. Does that make me a cougar? Cool.

    • I keep seeing so many reference to Edward Cullen, but I’m in such a cultural backwater currently that I have no real idea except: vampires? I used to fancy Spike out of Buffy – d’ya think I’d like Edward?

      • Nah. He’d just drip sparkles on you and refuse to ever knock boots.
        Cause, you know, it’s against the vampire code. Or more likely against the Mormon code of the author. Boy needs to throw down before he’d make my list.

      • I think you would love Edward. Even with the complete lack of reality in relation to all real y-chromosomal units that we know, he’s still the sexiest vampire I’ve ever seen. (The movie totally does him justice.) The sexual tension in the books kept my attention, and I’m a 30-year-old adult.

      • Oh, and not to ruin it, but he catches up in the knocking boots department later. Awesome. Totally worth the tension.

    • I blush to admit it, but I’ve wondered a number of times if Austen thought of her unmarried male characters, eg Darcy and Bingley, as virgins or not. I’m not too hot on late 1700s social mores.

      • ooo good question. based on my limited knowledge of the time and place, I imagine they wouldn’t have been: boarding school, Oxbridge, lots of ladies of the night in London…
        I can’t imagine Darcy ever lowering himself to that, though. Maybe a passionate affair on the sly which left him brokenhearted and suspicious of women?

      • Not virgins surely. The Whyckam / Lydia sub-plot tells us that Austin was well aware of extra-marital sex, and Whyckam’s sin is that he seduces an upper-middle class virgin who has been protected and well cared for all her life, not that he seduces a girl.

        There’s a superb book called ‘The Book of the Courtesans’ by Susan Griffin which left me with the strong impression that respectable married relationships were the thinnest of veneers on top of a far larger but less documented world with less stable and structured relationships where sex was bartered for security. Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins went whoring in Paris whenever being respectable in London was too much for them.

        Austin wasn’t a Victorian, after all..

  6. Melissia’s right. You think you want Jamie to throw you down now, just wait. As his character ages he becomes a wild beasty stallion of…

    Right will stop there. I am, after all, in a business meeting.

    And yes, Roger’s on the list, too (you’ll meet him later).

    (And don’t read any of Gabaldon’s other series. Seriously. Just stick to the Jamie.)

    And I’ve always crushed on Griffin from the “Griffin and Sabine” series. Mmmmmm….Artsy, passionate, and dedicated….

  7. I never thought of Falco as totty. An alternative to revision certainly but not totty.

    Will Ladislaw, Middlemarch, has got to be up there. And Prentice McHoan from The Crow Road (but I can’t remember if I thought that before he was played by the gorgeous Joseph Mcfadden on the telly).

    And I so use to think Rupert C-B but now I am a little older I don’t think I could ever fall for a Conservative MP (and the fact that he was blond use to jar a little).

    • Ooooh, some new ones for me. I was never, ever a blond girl either, but having an inexplicably blond bombshell little boy has softened me on the colour!

  8. And yeah. I read Ancient History at Newcastle, and reading Lindsey was always better than the actual source material!

  9. Lord Peter Wimsey (from Dorothy Sayers’ mysteries)
    Francis Crawford (from Dorothy Dunnett’s Lymond chronicles)
    I guess I’m a sucker for a strong male lead who can spout literary allusions effortlessly…

  10. Those other hobbits DO burst in at just the wrong moment, don’t they? One has a feeling Viggo was about to whip off more than his hood.

    Furious crush since age 12 on Sydney Carton, of “Tale of Two Cities.” I have nothing in common with annoying Lucy of the fair and virginal brow, but damn, I’d love Sydney to rescue *me* from the guillotine.

  11. I just finished Outlander a few weeks ago but had some issues with it. However, I’ve heard from many, and from commenters here now as well, that the latter books are better so perhaps it would be worthwhlie to keep reading.

    I think Mr. Darcy may be my number one.

  12. Oh I am a Falco fan too. In fact other raddled and/or rakish detectives are on my list too such as Rebus, Wallender (the Ken Branagh iteration), Wimsey. Never liked mr Darcy and find Colin Firth yukk. All other literary hotties have obviously escaped my mind as I write this..

  13. Oh Bingley is most definitely a virgin.

  14. I’ll fight you for Viggo. Also, watching LOTR with girls twittering happily about Orlando Bloom had me going WHAT? You’ve got Viggo and Sean Bean to look at and you’re getting twittery about Orlando? WHAT?

    Though usually I like blonds, and men with long hair (which is just as well).

    My biggest teen-girl crush was on Benedict from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. I also always had a wee crush on Wimsey. It’s the banter. A man can look like a buffalo in drag, but if he does banter with lots arch quoting of John Donne etc., I am lost, LOST, I tell you. And in a book, he can look as much like Johnny Depp as I chose to make him. Ha ha!

  15. Oh my god, Laura, I laughed my flat ass off at, “Boy needs to throw down before he’d make my list.” Amazing, thank you.

    Jamie, uh, yes please. I’m worried about my own mental health vis a vis desired literary fuckage if he gets even BETTER in subsequent books. Oy vey.

    I’m drawing a blank regarding literary totty beyond my friggin’ romance novel referenced above. How utterly depressing.

  16. Odysseus is my damp-knickers hero. Intelligent, clever, unreliable, sexy-sexy-sexy, and knee-wateringly good in bed. I went out with him once: thought I was Penelope but turned out to be Circe after-all. Get this: I fancy Odysseus so much that *I haven’t watched ‘Troy’ in case Sean Bean puts me off*. This is Sean ‘Richard Sharpe in those tight trews with those fuck-you eyes’ Bean we are talking about here. *That’s* how much I fancy Odysseus.

    Other than him – Demerel in ‘Venetia’ which is an under-rated romance by Georgette Heyer. Mind you, he is basically Odysseus in Regency Costume.

    Sharpe / Bean / Bean / Sharpe. Who could resist? Though actually I think I preferred the actor/character combo of played Harper.

    Strider / Aragorn of course. Again, who could resist?

    I always found Lymond intimidating – a bit too self-contained that boy.

    With the girlies – I used to worship at the shrine of Modesty Blaise, but that was more of a big-sister hero-worship kind of thing, rather than a ‘phwoar, you make my knees melt’ kind of thing.

    Demeral’s beloved, Venetia is hot tottie though, in the same way that he is: witty, clever, sharp but not malicious.

    Marian in ‘The Woman in White’. Oh, I am struggling now. Queen Elizabeth I? Since Lymond was mentioned, how about Christian in the first book? And Philippa’s a sweetie, too.

    This is fun!


  17. Well, you’ve made me feel so guilty I’m commenting already, and I’ve only read the first para of your latest post (and on my first visit, too). But then, I’ve never been one to hang around…. 😉

  18. Hrmm. Interesting..
    And where are you on the Matthew MacFadyen/Colin McFirth divide? Modern or traditional?

    Happy to hear Harry likes the horses. That’s the intrepid boy! I look forward to seeing him represent Britain in the Olympics.

  19. […] of another poor decision I have made, in the hope that you may avoid it yourself. Back in August, I asked you for your literary Top Male Totty: I had been sighing over the same well-thumbed characters for far too long. You responded joyously […]

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