Will (The Dark is Rising)
Will gets caught up in his newfound powers and makes mistakes, thus attracting the Powers of Darkness and Things that are Evil (like crows, apparently. Why is it always crows?). But he cares about his family more than anything else. Every action that he takes is to protect them and keep them safe. I loved Will when I first read The Dark is Rising, and I still do. He’s one of those protagonist’s that just clicked for me.
Stiles (Teen Wolf)
Okay, not a book, but TEEN WOLF. Gorgeous characters and paranormal adventure abounds. Stiles is the side kick and the comic relief, for the most part, but he’s also shrewd and vivid and usually the first one to understand whatever trouble’s giving them trouble. And he has a great voice that would translate brilliantly to text.
Thornton (North & South)
I love Thornton. He’s so strong and fierce and yet full of conflict and angst – my favourite kind of character. Although he seems to enter the book grumpy and pretty antagonistic towards the heroine, Margaret, most of this comes from misunderstandings or differing opinions. And Gaskell rakes him over hot coals, upping the angst factor. He internalises all of his conflicted feelings that come out in little phrases or the slightest changes in body language.
Will (His Dark Materials)
Another Will, and this Will’s pretty solid and dependable, too. Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials is much darker than The Dark is Rising, and this Will’s mistakes usually involve a lot of pain and anguish. But he copes with murderous pursuers, losing a finger and Lyra, and he does it in a way that doesn’t make me want to scratch his eyes out (which sometimes happens to me with YA books). Plus, he’s the rational voice to Lyra’s less sensible character. (Sensing a theme here….)
Rochester (Jane Eyre)
Rochester is a bit of a Thornton, only wilder and more given to hedonism and cynicism. Personality-wise, he and Jane are almost if not complete opposites, so he acts as a great foil. He’s also complex. He has a wonderful, dark past that has royally screwed him up and his character arc becomes regenerative. Plus, it helps that he’s played by Michael Fassbender in the 2011 adaptation.
Hm, I don’t have many of the kicking-ass-and-taking-names type of hero. Any suggestions?