In the past, we’ve talked about our tendency to fall in love with fictional characters, regardless of how unrealistic our attachments to them really are. During my childhood, for example, I was especially enamored with The Fonz from Happy Days and Ricky Ricardo on I Love Lucy – both of whom were around way before my time. Today, in the era of fanfiction and copious film adaptations, it seems that more and more people have developed feelings for fictional characters, especially those in literature. (Ladies, does the name “Mr. Darcy” ring any bells?)
This week, we’ll talk about some of the literary male characters you shouldn’t fall madly in love with. These are some of the men in literature who would ultimately make the worst boyfriends/husbands.
5 Worst Boyfriends in Literature
1. Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë)
Before you say anything, I know… I talk way too much about Heathcliff on this blog. That’s because this brooding gypsy from the wrong side of the tracks is a magnet for drama, especially of the romantic kind. When the woman he loves marries a man of a higher station than his own, Heathcliff retaliates by marrying the man’s sister and ultimately becomes emotionally abusive and manipulative. There’s a lot more to the story than that, but would you really want to be with someone who treats everyone in his life poorly and is still obsessed with a relationship that never worked out?
We could sit around all day and try to figure out what exactly constitutes this series as literature, but let’s face facts: Christian Grey is not the guy you want to date. Sure, he’s handsome and wealthy, and he has a penchant for saying things like “Laters baby,” but when it comes down to it, he’s extremely controlling and emotionally fragile. He purchases an entire company in order to secure a job for the girl he loves (against her wishes, by the way), and when she tries to end things with him, he basically stalks her until she gives up and decides to give the relationship another shot. Let’s also not forget that he has a pretty rough past that clearly affects the way he treats women. (The part that saddens me is that a lot of girls still think of him as a sort of Prince Charming, even if he’s kind of the opposite.)
3. Edward Rochester (Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë)
At first, life with this man seems perfectly fine. But then you start to show signs that you’re a little crazy, and he decides to lock you in the attic. Then he has the nerve to start seeing someone else? Just say no to this one.
4. Edward Cullen (Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer)
First of all, Edward Cullen is more than 100 years old. He may look like he’s 17 (or closer to 25), but don’t let his non-aging fool you. Hint: If a guy warns you repeatedly against being with him, you probably shouldn’t be with him. To maintain a relationship with this vampire means giving up any ambitions you ever had, and remaining completely stuck in your teen years forever. It also means that you’ll be dating someone who might be able to read your mind (scary) and who sparkles in the sun (also scary).
5. Harry Potter (Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling)
Throughout seven books and eight films, The Boy Who Lived is the king of angst – and for good reason. He’s a great guy, but Harry Potter simply does not have time for a relationship. Between hunting down horcruxes and trying not to get killed by Voldemort every year, Harry barely ever has time to take his final exams, let alone wine and dine anyone who isn’t an active member of the Order. Even when he and Ginny Weasley first dated, Harry broke things off because it just wasn’t “safe” for her. (And who can blame him? Anyone who tries to get close to Harry is just setting themselves up to become Voldemort-bait.) If you’re looking for a romance in Hogwarts, try a lesser-known character in Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff, because then you’re more likely to avoid being kidnapped by a Death Eater or possessed by an old diary.
Readers: Who are your literary crushes, and which literary boyfriends could you do without?