Ranking Jane Austen's heroes: One Janeites opinion.
Updated: Jan 31, 2022
Here it is! my ranking (as of May 2021) of Jane Austen's heroes from not so great to really great. I have tried to produce a balanced reading of both their charms and their flaws, no hero is perfect guys and this blog post is made up of my own thoughts and opinions. Enjoy!
8. Edward Ferrars (Sense and Sensibility)
Despite being last on the list Edward is a gentleman who keeps to his word and cares little for materialism. I believe his love for Elinor is consistent and true. However, Edward is easily pushed around by those around him, his sister, his mother, and Lucy had she had the chance. He often comes across as though he is just letting life happen to him. He more than likely would have married Lucy had she not picked his brother in a bizarre change of events. Maybe this is a harsh narrative, but he remains my number 8.
7. Edmund Bertram (Mansfield Park)
Edmund Bertram is my number 7 because he basically courts another woman for the majority of the book… yeah, remember Mary Crawford. However, Edmund is kind and open about his feelings, even if they are for another woman. Poor Fanny, although appreciated and loved by Edmund she is considered more as a sibling than a lover. However, he is one of the few Bertrams who truly cares for Fanny’s happiness. Sadly It was only till he was left disappointed with Mary’s true materialistic character that he decided to take another look at Fanny, and that Edmund is why you are my number 7.
6. Sydney Parker (Sanditon)
A charming rogue, I don't know about you but Sydney really grew on me! He is certainly a little more rough around the edges compared to our other heroes; but, he did have his heartbroken. I think it is wrong how rude he is to Charlotte in the beginning despite not knowing her very well… there is no excuse. Yet, as he falls for Charlotte he softens and starts to break down the walls put up due to a broken heart. I think one of the main reasons he is my number 6 is his loyalty to his family, he would even put aside his own happiness for their success.
5. Mr. Tilney (Northanger Abbey)
The king of wit and sarcasm, he is very much a gentleman and…. he understands muslin! I think what I dislike is that it is difficult to catch him taking things seriously, and is quite short-tempered with Catherine at times. In his defense, she does accuse his father of being a murderer - oops haha. I think he is redeemed when he finally is serious and declares his true feelings for Catherine. I think Tilney’s position on this list is helped by the fact that he had no real competition, Catherine likes him from the off-set, and is uninterested in any other suitors such as John Thorpe, or Henry’s father… LOL only in Regency England.
4. Captain Wentworth (Persuasion)
Wentworth's declaration of love at the end of the novel is outstanding and is worthy of 4th place. However, Wentworth is very stubborn and proud (maybe more so than Darcy). Wentworth spends a lot of the novel hiding his feelings for Anne and actively creating an air of indifference and dislike for her. He spends time, even if unknowingly, courting Louisa to the point that she and everyone around believed they would marry. However, he remains number 4 due to his efforts at the end of the novel and for his stedfast love. Although it may be hard to decide who loves longest the woman or the man, Wentworth is certainly a good advocate for his sex.
3. Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility)
I have surprised myself by putting Brandon at number 3, I have never been one to sing his praises or really think about him much at all. However, this year I have gone on a little journey of re-evaluating Brandon as a hero (Stay tuned for the podcast Ep dropping this month). Brandon is in fact, a very loyal, patient, and kind hero. I believe he is undervalued due to how Marianne perceives him at the start of the novel, and due to the older casting in the adaptations. Yet, Brandon always puts Marianne’s happiness first regardless of whether he should secure her love in return. He is even willing for her to be with Willoughby if he thought it would make her truly happy… that my friends is true love.
2. Mr. Knightley (Emma)
Mr. Knightly is caring and considerate without the need for validation. He is authentic and stands his ground whilst also remaining a true gentleman, for instance when he shoots the annoying Mrs. Elton down when she offers to organise his party. He is also extremely compassionate and supports Emma in caring for her father. He is also aware of Emma’s insecurities, such as her lack of travel compared to others her age, and works to help give her exposure and opportunities. I think the only drawback to Knightly is that he can be a little boring at times and changes very little throughout the novel. However, Knightly has the respect of the village and is the perfect match for Emma, the queen of Highbury.
1. Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)
You probably already guessed It (am I that predictable?). The number one hero on my list is Mr. Darcy. I think Mr. Darcy is my number 1 due to his personal development throughout the novel. Darcy moves from being a proud self-serving man who is opposed to dancing, to someone who will go to great lengths for the woman he loves regardless of her affection. He is a kind and compassionate brother and friend, and as a fellow Northerner he gets an extra 2 points. We also have to admire his resilience after failing at his first proposal he gives it another go… practice makes perfect I guess.
Thanks for reading! I would love to know your thoughts, and how you would rank the Austen men. Lets continue the conversation over on instagram.