Dead People and Fictional Characters

I'm such a nerd, you guys.

I mean, I don't even know how to explain my crush life except by telling you that I only get crushes on dead people and fictional characters.

My husband, when asked how he fits into this reality, responds, "I'm like a fictional character."

Which is true. He is Johnny Tremain made over, except perhaps he's now more of a mature Johnny Tremain who figured out how to survive the war and claim the Lyte property. Because you know Johnny did that. None of this dying in glory for him.

Yet another case in which I wonder if the person designing the cover had actually read the book, since the inciting incident (in which Johnny burns his hand on molten silver) leaves him unable to hold a gun or much of anything else and there are multiple conversations about this throughout. Is it too much to ask that you read the book, cover designers? Also, weird floating house being threatened by giant redcoat.

Johnny and I have been together since I was in third grade, so...still my favorite book. Don't hate. (And also, don't watch the Disney movie, which is terrible and has nothing to do with the book. Writers, if you do nothing else, look up the scene where Johnny and Cilla close up the Lytes' country house as war overtakes the countryside. It is masterful. That book has always had something of value to say to me, even in this past terrible year for our country.)

I digress.

If I had given birth to a boy, which I did not, I was going to name him after the granddaddy of all YA love interests, Nathaniel Eaton from The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

There are no covers of this book with Nat Eaton on them; he's played in my head by Johnny Tremain.

My major real-boy crush in high school was inspired purely by the fact that I occasionally observed this boy reading books, so I decided it was safe to assume he was literate. I know the exact same amount about him now, as we went on three dates and he said the same number of words to me the entire time. Perhaps he was smarter than I gave him credit for and had figured out that the safest way to date a writer was to tell her nothing, and the easiest way to hold her interest was to give her imagination a blank canvas.

Do you want to know whose pictures I had on my wall as a tween? Now we get to the truly embarrassing part. Why couldn't I have gone JTT or N-Sync like everyone else?

Because they did not interest me, and I must be interested.

I had prints of oil paintings of Daniel Morgan and Banastre Tarleton, antagonists of the Battle of Cowpens, over my bed. Now there were interesting men. I got them at Cowpens, which is where one gets such things.

Daniel Morgan. I did not, alas, have a crush on him, despite his tactical brilliance. I just thought it was cool to have him with Tarleton, whom I did have a crush on. I have some strange ideas about what is cool.

Admit it--you want that on your wall. The fact that green is my favorite color plays heavily into this crush. Green Dragoons! What sounds cooler than Green Dragoons?

Sorry, 'Merica, but the fact is that a British officer will always beat a frontiersman in my crush books, but  I feel slightly guilty about that, which is perhaps why I tried to have it both ways in The Last Sister.

I couldn't watch the season finale of Turn: Season 3 for the longest time (that show is terrible from a historical perspective, but so fun--#guiltypleasure) because I knew what was going to happen! Let's just say you know what you did, George Washington.

This was where TURN suddenly decided to go all historically accurate? RIP John Andre'.

Now tell me: which dead people and fictional characters are you crushing on?


  1. I have to admit, I was never swept away by Johnny Tremaine the way you were, but I definitely understand crushing on fictional characters. I'll spare you my list on this site, but maybe one day when we're together.

    Growing up in New York with parents who were into history, how could I not know about John Andre? He's the only reason I'm tempted to watch "Turn". Should I? Will it be like most TV historical fic where I'm yelling at the TV the whole time?

    1. Um, yes, both to should you watch TURN for John Andre, and will you be yelling at the TV the whole time. Stephen and I call it "Worst Spy Ever" because the main character is supposed to be this amazing spy, but actually he's really terrible at it, like "No one will notice that I started running really fast across this open field to my secret spy hangout." It's ostensibly about the Culper Ring, but they just stole the names of the people in the Culper Ring (which Washington said was never worth what he paid for it, so I guess they did kind of suck IRL too) and totally made everything else up.

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    3. I could only make it through one episode of The Tudors!

  2. I also had a weakness for fictional characters, but I always tended to fall for the humorous sidekick who never got the heroine ...

  3. LOL, Courtney, you crack me up! I too had a crush on Johnny Tremain back in the day--thanks for reminding me. I thought Cilla was a dope for giving him the run around. Also, why hasn't there been a (good) Johnny Tremain movie adaptation?

    1. I'm glad I'm not alone in this! I think Cilla was very, very smart. He took her for granted for far too long. I will say that JT is perhaps the most realistic example of a 15-year-old boy with a crush in that he is extremely inept about the whole thing--and he did have that crush on his cousin Lavinia the whole time, too.

  4. I was talking with my roommate and suddenly remembered a fictional crush that definitely faded: Corran Horn from the Star Wars novels. I thought he was just so tough and "scoundrel-y", but now he kinda makes me want to gag.
    Lord Peter Wimsey was and is my strongest fictional crush, but I recently read the Kristen Lavransdatter trilogy, and Erlend won/broke my heart with amazing speed.


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