Which Jane Austen Hero Is The Best V-Day Date?

by Julia Seales
Focus Features

If I had to choose a fictional character to be my Valentine’s Day date, the heroes from Jane Austen novels would be at the top of my list. If you’ve ever purchased anything that says “I Heart Fitzwilliam” or watched the movie Austenland and related a little too much to the main character, you know what I’m talking about. If you’ve ever re-read Captain Wentworth’s letter until that page in your copy of Persuasion was torn and wet with tears; if you've ever told a friend that you wish clubs could be more like Regency-era balls; or if you're analyzed at length what your favorite Jane Austen heroine says about you, then you really know what I’m talking about.

Though there were plenty of issues in the Regency era that I wouldn’t want to deal with (after all, most of the plot line of Pride and Prejudice hinges on the fact that the Bennet sisters can’t inherit property), there some parts of Austen’s novels that are ultra romantic. The passionate, cravat-wearing gentleman, for starters. However, not all the Austen guys are worthy of “I heart *insert name here*” merchandise. For all the ones I wish were real, there are characters that I am perfectly happy are fictional. Here are a few of the Austen guys, ranked from worst to best Valentine’s Day date.


Edmund Bertram


He doesn't want to do anything fun (he literally won't even go to the theater unless you twist his arm), and he's your cousin.


Mr. Collins


Mr. Collins begins your date with a reading from an instruction manual about how women are supposed to act. He then proposes to you, even though this is a first date set up by your mother. You reject him, and he makes a scene at the restaurant. A month later, you discover he's engaged to your best friend.


Mr. Wickham


He's good-looking and seems fun, but halfway through the date you realize that he won't stop trash talking other people. You make an excuse to leave early, and he immediately texts your sister.


Frank Churchill


Frank Churchill takes you to a romantic dinner and shows you an amazing time. When you log onto Instagram to post a photo from your night, you see an announcement of his engagement to another girl.


John Willoughby


Willoughby takes you on the most romantic date of your life.

You never hear from him again.


Edward Ferrars


Edward plans to take you on a sweet date perfectly tailored to your interests, but he's too shy to ask you out.


Henry Tilney


Henry takes you to a bookstore and impresses you with his literary knowledge, but he also gives you way too hard a time for being so invested in the lives of fictional characters. Everyone needs to fangirl sometimes, Henry.


Colonel Brandon


He's a perfect gentleman, but you don't realize how much fun you had until the date is already over.


Mr. Bingley


Bingley is an extremely fun Valentine's Day date. The only problem is that he wants to double date with his sister and best friend, who spend the whole night making cutting comments about your family. Lame.


Mr. Knightley


You and Knightley are already BFFs and you get along perfectly. He's not afraid to call you out, but he also appreciates your humor and good heart.


Captain Wentworth


You were supposed to go out on Valentine's Day eight years ago, but you broke his heart instead. He never got over you, and he makes it up to you now with a heartfelt Valentine's gifts and love letter. He probably takes you on a romantic boat ride after your renion.


Mr. Darcy


He spends the whole night insulting your family, and then abruptly confesses his love for you over dessert. You yell at him and leave. Best date ever, right? Right?