So who wants to talk about favorite book characters?
Narrowing down a list of favorite characters is not easy, let me tell you. There are SO MANY more who could be on this list, but I’ve limited myself to one character per book/series. There are a lot of amazing characters out there, okay??
Now, in no particular order, let’s get into my twelve favorite male book characters OF ALL TIME. This list is ever changing, but this is how it stands right now.
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman
“Either way, we are going to bring beautiful things into the universe.”
The first time I read Radio Silence, I obviously loved Aled. Brilliant, anxious, and closed-off, he wiggled his way into my heart with his Universe City podcast and his lime green shoes and his “if nobody is listening to my voice, am I making any sound at all?”
The second time I read Radio Silence, I really felt like I understood Aled. He was already a favorite character, but now I can’t even think about him without wanting to clutch my chest and cry. He deserves so much!!! I would protect Aled Last with my life.
(Also, this piece of art is currently the background on my phone, if that gives you any indication of my love for this boy.)
Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
“I am, and always have been – first, last, and always – a child of America.”
Allow me to introduce you to my ADHD Mexican-American disaster son, Alex Claremont-Diaz. It was a tough choice between Alex and Henry to decide who would make this list, but Alex just barely won out.
What I love about Alex is how deeply he cares. As the First Son of the US, he has no real obligation to do political work for his mom’s administration, but he does it because he wants to make the world better. That’s not even to mention how much he cares about his loved ones. His love is fierce and deep and protective, and that just makes me love him even more.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
“Mr. Moony presents his compliments to Professor Snape, and begs him to keep his abnormally large nose out of other people’s business.”
Let me tell you, it was hard to narrow down to one Harry Potter character, since I love SO MANY. I could have easily gone with Harry, Ron, or Neville, but I had to choose my ultimate fave, Remus Lupin.
I could write an entire post about why Lupin is the best HP character (and I may or may not have one in my drafts), but I’ll boil it down to this: Lupin goes through so much during his life, and he’s still the most empathetic and kind person in the series. In addition to being turned into a werewolf as a child and forced to endure prejudice and alienation, he loses all of the people that mean the most to him. But he takes all of that pain and turns it around to care for other people. I love him. So much.
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
“He did not want to be loved enough. He wanted to be loved overwhelmingly.”
You give me a snarky, judgmental, emotionally distant character and I will have a new favorite. It’s as simple as that. Elliot is the narrator of In Other Lands, also known as one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. Even though he’s an obnoxious know-it-all who pushes away everyone close to him because he believes he’s unloveable, it’s hard not to gain a soft spot for him.
Elliot is kind of a mess and I love him anyway. His little found family with Luke and Serene is one of my absolute favorites as well, and I would happily read many, many books about the three of them.
Shadow and Bone Trilogy and King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
“I hope you weren’t looking to me to be the voice of reason. I keep to a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret.”
I honestly don’t think it’s possible to read the Grisha Trilogy/King of Scars and dislike Nikolai. I didn’t even like the Grisha Trilogy – I basically only read it for him. He lit up every scene he entered, and I was always delighted by his wit and clever schemes.
In King of Scars, we get to see a darker side of him, and while I already adored him, that book cemented him as a favorite character as we see him struggle with the burden of leadership. All at once hilarious, vain, self-sacrificing, damaged, and constantly well dressed, King Nikolai Lantsov has all of my heart.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan
“Don’t feel bad, I’m usually about to die.”
I think Percy’s sense of humor throughout this series was formative to me as a child, because it can still make me laugh like almost nothing else. I mean, those chapter titles alone? ICONIC.
Percy is the absolute best type of childhood hero – brave, loyal to his friends, smart under pressure, with a healthy level of snark toward authority. I’ve loved being able to watch him grow up, through the Percy Jackson series as well as the rest of the demigod universe. (But please, Rick Riordan, let the boy rest.) I doubt my love for Perseus Jackson will ever dim!
Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
“I was in the middle before I knew that I had begun.”
Is Mr. Darcy my favorite character from classic literature? Absolutely. Does that make me basic? Most likely. Do I care? Not even a bit.
Part of what I love about Darcy is how painfully relatable he is, because I too am extremely awkward and don’t know how to flirt and definitely am in love with Elizabeth Bennet. It bothers me when people characterize Darcy as the ultimate “bad boy” of literature, because that’s not who he is at all. He’s a shy nerd who always says the wrong thing and then listens when he makes a mistake and changes from it. The ULTIMATE.
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
“Really, though, there are only two kinds of weather: hoodie weather and weather where you wear a hoodie anyway.”
As much as I adore Love, Simon, movie!Simon simply can’t compare to book!Simon, who is incredibly nerdy and sweet and adorable in all the right ways. Every time he appears in one of Becky Albertalli’s books – overusing the word “freaking” or making Harry Potter references or being utterly clueless about everything – I feel like my heart grows ten sizes.
Not only is Simon the purest cinnamon roll to ever cinnamon, but he’s genuinely hilarious in his narration and cares about his friends deeply. What’s not to love?? He’s basically everything that I love about a character wrapped up in one.
Henry Montague, aka Monty
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
“We’re not courting trouble. Flirting with it, at most.”
Ah, Monty. You make me alternately make me want to shake my head in exasperation, burst into giggles, and give you the biggest hug. Why are you like this, but also never change.
Even though Monty is a clueless idiot half the time and often thinks of himself before others, I have to love him. When it counts, he’s there for his loved ones and he’ll give up anything for them. Plus, watching him learn that he’s worthy of love after being abused is gorgeous. Not to mention that he’s an absolutely hilarious narrator and everything that he says makes me laugh!
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
“It’s quite boring really, the way you beat me to death with your hands and feet, Katsa. It’ll be refreshing to have you come at me with a knife.”
Every time I read Graceling, my head is basically just a constant stream of “wow I love Po. wow I love Po. wow I love Po. wow–”
He’s just so *clenches fist* respectful of his love interest’s boundaries while loving her unconditionally and supporting her as she works through her trauma. Graceling has one of my favorite romantic subplots of all time, and that’s largely thanks to Po being the Absolute Greatest. His dynamic with Katsa is unbeatable; they’re both fascinating and well-developed characters who fit together perfectly and I love them a lot.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
“Greed bows to me. It is my servant and my lever.”
I ask myself every day why I love this amoral, self-centered trash boy, and I wish I had a proper answer for you. I don’t know why I love Kaz so much – he has little conscience and cares more about money than people most of the time – but here we are. He’s found his way onto my list of all time favorites. (Probably bribed his way on.)
Honestly, the moments that we see him acting against his selfish nature are the ones that endear me to him, especially since he gets so annoyed with himself during those moments. Watching him reluctantly learn to care about the people in his crew is one of my favorite things.
Richard Campbell Gansey III, aka Gansey
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
“That’s all there is.”
Yes, every single character on this list is one of my all-time favorites. But if you forced me to choose only one favorite from this list, it would be Gansey. It would be Gansey every time.
How do I encapsulate my love for Gansey in a few short sentences? Here are a few things: He unapologetically wears aquamarine polo shirts and boat shoes. He’s desperate for answers, but terrified of what he might find. He talks like a tenured professor. He’s a mess of unacknowledged PTSD and anxiety that he carefully hides away from others. He tries to unlearn the privilege he grew up in and realize the power of his words. He loves his friends so much that he often does the wrong thing while trying to help; he loves them enough to die for them, though he never believes they would do the same for him. He is a king.
Yeah, I love Gansey a little bit, I guess.
Who are your favorite male book characters? Do we have any of the same favorites?