Day 13: A Book Whose Main Character You Want To Marry

It’s a fact, marriageable and interesting (male, but also female) characters form the biggest minority in novels. This may be because the characteristics that make a good husband — especially a certain stability of temper and circumstances — are exactly the ones that ruin the chances of a good protagonist. This would’ve been a different post if the query was for a book whose main character I fancy, but none of these characters I’m thinking of (Harlequin, Macheath, Sherlock Holmes, Heathcliff, Lord Henry Wotton, Gora, Lord Vetinari, Lucifer in various avatars, even Humbert Humbert) is remotely good for marrying. Shadow from American Gods is a glorious exception.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman hits this admirable balance by creating a protagonist who used to be married, but with his wife recently dead he is a free man for the duration of the novel. Shadow’s husbanding (yes I know, move on) is flawless, he is still in love with his not-very-dead wife but not so much in love as to be unhealthily obsessed, he is nice and polite to other women, and at the end of ‘The Monarch of the Glen’ I think he finally gets together with someone else. I love how he is strong and silent but not unintelligent, does most things well without giving in to self-importance, the way he constantly strives towards the ordinary despite his undeniable extraordinariness. I’ve been re-reading American Gods (which has just finished ten years of publication) and loving every bit of the characterization of Shadow all over again, even though the ending of the novel continues to disappoint me a little.

I must add that Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice is likely to make a good husband as well, since he applies so much discretion in choosing his woman. But then, Austen left us no evidence to be too sure.

4 thoughts on “Day 13: A Book Whose Main Character You Want To Marry”

    1. Haha! Not before or after? Do I see the semester-with-WiP setting in already?

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