Her Bookish Things

Fictional Guys vs. Real Ones

Fictional Guys vs. Real Ones

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while… or at least, it has sat in the back of my head and I’m just now trying to put comprehend-able words to it.

Friends, it is so easy to get lost in fictional worlds. That’s why we read isn’t it? To have a chance to explore a new place, meet new people? I’ve always been a daydreamer. I’ve always had an imagination too big for my own head. Reading has been a major outlet for me – a way to relax and let my imagination soar. Its one of my most prized hobbies… as it is for most of you who are probably reading this. It reminds me of my favorite C.S. Lewis quote that makes my heart all giddy, especially in terms of my faith.

If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world. ~C.S. Lewis

All that to say- our love for fictional characters is part of the fun. I’m the first to admit that I fan-girl all over the place for characters that I adore. The heroes, the heroines. The villains. The snarky pirates, the scowling guards. They are what make the worlds believable and fun.

So what’s my point to all this aside from stating the obvious?

It is easy to compare fictional guys to the real men in our lives.

Fun fact about me- I’m happily married. Not long ago, a friend asked me if I ever felt that reading about those amazing “bbf’s” (same thing can be said about movies) –  ever made me think I was missing out on something or think less of my husband. If I ever compared them to him.

My answer to that (after taking some time to really sit and think about it) is based on a perspective I choose to have while reading. I just had to smile when I thought back at the reasons why I love some of the characters that I do. They remind me of him. If I think back to the best character traits of the characters vs. the man I love- they are one in the same. Loyal. Determined. Smart. Funny. Willing to tear the world apart for the ones they love. Charming. Sweet. Sensitive. I could go on- but you get the picture.

I smile because all the swoon worthy characteristics I find in books are the same reason why I still fall for my husband. No, he’s not an overly buffed up mystical warrior (thank God). But he’s real. Tangible. No one is making him up on paper – no one is idealizing him as some perfected figure in their mind. No author is forcing him to be something; or to love me.

So I’d like this message to be an encouragement to all you ladies who have special men in your lives. (Or vice versa, of course.) I hope you take a similar perspective when reading. I hope you let these amazing books remind you of why you harbor love for your dearest (and even for your brothers, friends, etc.) Let them make your heart happy and appreciate the good and not focus on the negatives. Let them help you to remember what you’re so thankful for. I think a good place to draw the line is idolization. Idolizing anything on this earth can be harmful and toxic – including people.

What about healthy comparisons, then?

I think there are still some really healthy takeaways from fictional characters. Friends, I hope that when you consider yourself and what you’re worthy of- you’ll remember that there are good men out there that will treat you with respect and loyalty. No one is perfect, but I hope that you’ll surround yourself with people who lift you up instead of put you down- and someone who will treasure you as you treasure them.

Have any thoughts? I’d love to see them in the comments below!


  1. Reply July 29, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    YES TO ALL OF THIS. So well said! I’m not married buuuut totally do the same thing on a different level — like reading gives me better insight into people and empathy and helps me pick out WHY I love certain things about people so much. Like fangirling over characters I can connect with just gives me a greater appreciation for the people in my life? And gives me a stronger idea for what I do and don’t want to accept in my life.

    1. Reply
      July 29, 2016 at 6:23 pm

      Haha YES exactly- it definitely can apply to anyone in your life! Its all about perspective! And that is so true – I think it helps me get an idea of what boundaries I set for myself!

  2. Reply August 2, 2016 at 1:48 am

    I don’t yet have someone I’m involved with romantically so I can’t say much but I CAN say that for all the fictional characters we swoon over, the horrible ones help make my friends shine in real life. Nesta, for example. I am only part way through ACOTAR but so far Feyre has only spoke of her narcissism and overall snobbiness. Reading that makes me so glad that my friends don’t criticize me so harshly and I’m thankful for that.

    Fictional characters sometimes reflect our potential as well. If Celaena can be an all-around awesome fighter not just physically but spiritually, so can my friends and I. My future boyfriend may never be a super model elf or a mage with fire powers but he can be just as loyal and just as loving and caring as characters who ARE elves or mages.

    So I guess books just make me appreciate everyone for what they are and what I know they can be.

    1. Reply
      August 4, 2016 at 6:38 pm

      YES! I just adore the way you put that. They definitely make us appreciate what we do have in our lives!! I think its awesome when we can actually sit back and look at it that way- instead of the reverse!!

  3. Reply August 18, 2016 at 1:26 am

    I love this post! See, I kinda do the same thing. So many of the guys I fall for have traits that my husband also has. Loyal, charming, would do anything in the world for me, hilarious etc. Yet, I tend to have an easier time loving the guys in books who start out kinda assholeish, and my hubby says he doesn’t know what that says about him haha. But yes, good guys exist out in the world. Just like they exist in books. Sometimes we have to go through the bad ones first to find the one we chose to say yes to forever. ♥

    1. Reply
      August 18, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      Haha I hear you!! I always end up loving the mean/arrogant characters – I can’t help it!! But even my husband will admit to this- he’s totally cocky at times and smug- but I kinda like that- shamefully? LOL! And YES I love what you said about having to go through the bad ones first- it just makes you really appreciate the guy you have now!

      1. Reply September 1, 2016 at 2:52 am

        I completely get what you’re saying! We love when their proud or sure of themselves. Heck, I’m sure that’s part of the reason we fell for them lol! Or maybe part of the reason they were able to capture our attention and hearts. 🙂

  4. Reply August 24, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Choosing to fictionalize a true story in its own right is of course a complicated business. Subjectivity, multiple accounts, extant family members… it’s a thorny path, but one which can be highly rewarding. Personally, I would not be that interested in writing fiction based on real figures’ lives. The fun is in the fantasy.

    1. Reply
      August 29, 2016 at 11:30 am

      I agree! I think there’s a special piece of reality to each character – but the fun is definitely in the fantasy side of things!

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