I thought my blog post would be something along the lines of having no particular favorite hero, and then this morning it hit me. Rhett Bulter. A rascal. A gentleman, although Scarlett didn't think so. And while Ashley Wilkes was also a gentleman, he lacked that rascal-liness that made Rhett unforgettable...by readers and Scarlett. Without a doubt, one of the best heroes ever written.
Once again, Rhett was a reluctant hero. He didn't want to be involved in the War of the States, but when push came to shove, he did. He became a pirate, smuggling supplies through the blockade. (Which brings to mind Capt. Jack Sparrow, another reluctant hero.) He fell in love with a woman who spurned him, and he never gave up. I have to believe that his, "Frankly, I don't give a damn," was his way of proving to Scarlett that she loved him. He hung in there, in spite of her constant (excuse the French) bitchiness toward him. He was there when she needed him, pushing her to be the woman she really was and to finally admit that she loved him.
And what a woman! Scarlett was a woman beyond her time. No sweet, demure woman, although she could pull that off when needed. Rhett was initially attracted by her beauty, but he fell in love with her because of her spirit, reined in, as was her intelligence, by the confines of the times.
Which brings up favorite heroines. Scarlett ranks among those. Thinking back through all of my reading, I find my favorite heroines are strong, take charge women. I think that began with Madeline. Does anyone remember the Madeline books?