The Charming One: Ranking of Austen heroes

2. Henry Tilney

This may be a controversial one, simply because he is one of the lesser known Austen heroes and I honestly think Northanger Abbey is Austen’s worst novel. Despite that, Tilney’s charm in the film version won me over and even though I disliked the book, Tilney had the same character in the film and in the book.

So… WHY you ask?

  1. Honesty-

    Though Tilney was young himself, Catherine was honestly a dreamy, silly young lady. When she spoke about things like, John Thorpe, Tilney could have easily gone along with her, acted jealous, silly, spoken bad about him. Instead, he bluntly told her he wasn’t the best person to discuss that with. Time and time again, he simply speaks truth, sometimes to Catherine’s benefit and sometimes not.
  2. He dances-

    Most of the other more popular Austen heroes do not willingly dance, at least not as willingly as Tilney. My point is, Tilney knows how to have fun. He dances with Catherine, races her, talks about novels, and so muc more. He’s lively, livelier than all other Austen heroes…..except perhaps Bingley. Simply put, Tilney has a joviality and lightness about him that is very attractive to our Miss Morland and to us readers.

  3. He chooses love over wealth-

    Many of our other heroes, may choose to marry someone with lesser money than them, but none of them are disowned. Tilney’s affections for Catherine are so pure and true that he chooses a simple life with her over a wealthy lifestyle without her.

  4. 2 sides of a coin-

    I like the contrast between him and his brother, and even his father. I think it says a lot about a person when they grew up with an “abusive” father and yet remain kind and generous. Tilney’s brother is his foil… totally doing things at his own whim, spoiled, abusing his power, lewd and loose, and rude. Henry thinks things through or at least owns up to what he does. He is not spoiled, uses his power for good, is pure and chivalrous, and the most congenial of all.

    I suspect you are wondering where the rest of my reasons are, but I honestly can’t explain anymore why Henry appeals to me. Perhaps its J.J. Fields depiction of him or his youth or his brilliant lines. Whatever it is, he has me charmed.

    I will be revealing my number three. I’ll give you a hint: there’s a Harry Potter connection.


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