In case you haven't noticed yet, I love to read. Real life is totally over-rated if you ask me (although I realise you didn't), and given the choice I'd happily shut myself away for months at a time, armed with nothing but my Kindle (and a steady stream of tea, fags and crisps). I've even found myself idly wondering at times if I should commit a crime or get sectioned in order to boost my reading time.
So it should come as no surprise to find out that I'm also the sort of girl who frequently develops crushes on fictional characters. Fandoms like the Twi-hards show that I'm not alone in this, although I despise that sparkly-titted emotional abuser Edward Cullen, and the only thing I'd like to do to Christian Grey is punch him in the neck. So, who does float my boat? I'm glad you asked...
5. Whirrun of Bligh - The Heroes (Joe Abercrombie)
Whirrun of Bligh is utterly nonchalant, slightly spooky and completely hilarious. A tall, lean and mean-looking maniac wielding The Father of Swords, he's a killer feared by other killers, frequently seen wading into battles shirtless:
"Armour...' mused Whirrun, licking a finger and scrubbing some speck of dirt from the pommel of his sword, 'is part of a state of mind...in which you admit the possibility...of being hit."See? Total badass. Who also happens to be bloody good fun. Just don't tell him why people call him Cracknut (on account of being, well, cracked):
"They do?' Whirrun frowned. 'Oh, that's less complimentary, the fuckers. I'll have to have words next time I hear that. You've completely bloody spoiled it for me!"
4. Zaphod Beeblebrox - Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
He's got an awesome spaceship, the Heart of Gold, and is one hell of a snappy dresser. He's untrustworthy and narcissistic, but he's also the inventor of the Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster. He has the best name in the history of names, and some of the best lines ever written.
No wonder Trillian ran away with him.
3. Crowley - Good Omens (Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman)
Crowley is a fallen angel, though "he didn't so much fall as saunter vaguely downward". Previously known as Crawly, the serpent who hung out in Eden, he now has:
"dark hair, and good cheekbones, and he was wearing snakeskin shoes, or at least presumably he was wearing shoes, and he could do really weird things with his tongue. And, whenever he forgot himself, he had a tendency to hiss."He has a knack for getting himself into trouble, and out of it, as well as a talent for sarcasm. He's claimed some small victories for Evil in his time (such as phone network failures, and the M25) but he has a surprisingly low tolerance for true evil, especially being one of Hell's minions, even going so far as attempting to avert The Apocalypse with his friend/rival, the angel Aziraphale.
And he does it all while wearing Cool Shades.
2. Prince Hector of Troy - The Iliad (Homer)
My obsession with Prince Hector (or Hektor, if you prefer) started with Homer, and then got well and truly stoked by David Gemmell with his Troy series. I've even watched the Troy film (starring a 'roided-up Brad Pitt as Achilles and Eric Bana as my beloved Hector) a number of times after convincing myself each time it's on telly that it can't really be the total shitfest that I remember (I always discover rather quickly that I'm wrong).
The only non-asshole on this list, Prince Hector is the ruddy brave and bloody tragic eldest son and heir of King Priam of Troy, a formidable warrior who's a peaceful man. Lacking bloodthirstiness, he's courageous and noble. He cares deeply for his people and family - even his stupid little brother who started the whole bloody war with the Greeks in the first place and now won't face up to the consequences. While Paris skulks about Troy with Helen, Hector faces the combined armies of Greece and her allies, who include the awesomely devious Odysseus and that shit, Achilles. With all sorts of gods also getting involved, the dice are loaded against him and his city, but instead of feeling sorry for himself in the face of certain death, Hector dies like he lives - like a boss.
Every time I read anything of Troy and Hector, I spend all of my time attempting to send death rays to Achilles in the vain hope that somehow things will turn out differently. They never do, and I always weep like a bereaved child when it happens. Eep...
1. Lestat de Lioncourt - The Vampire Chronicles (Anne Rice)
The first time I ever came up against Lestat was in Interview With A Vampire, starring Tom Cruise. I have a slightly irrational hatred for Tom Cruise and find him deeply unsexy and so, years later, when Midge told me of her love for Lestat, I thought she was deranged. Until she lent me her books, and I ate a whole lot of humble pie.
We first meet Lestat in the aforementioned Interview... as the sire of our narrator, drippy Louis. Seen through Louis' eyes he's ruthless, seductive, vindictive and selfish, and I spent most of my time when he was off-stage wondering what might be happening to him rather than paying attention to Louis.
Then The Vampire Lestat happened. As the title suggests, this time it's all about him. And it's fabulous. Formerly an impoverished aristocrat in 18th century France with a mane of blond hair, a sensual mouth and a very high opinion of himself (he's a "gorgeous fiend", if he does say so himself. Although I have to agree), Lestat clearly isn't too bad to look at. But that's not what makes him so fantastic.
A far more fascinating and vivacious narrator than Louis, he's also the most wonderfully complex, interesting and infuriating character I think I've ever read. Even his friends seem to hate him as much as they love him. Amongst many, many other things, he's vain, foppish, bold, defiant, philosophical, hedonistic, charismatic, irresponsible, petulant, intelligent, egocentric, petty and dramatic. He's a complete bastard, a total sweetheart, and utterly hilarious.
In short, he's exactly the sort of man who sets my heart a-fluttering and my knickers aflame.
That's my fictional Freebie 5.....who are yours?