In third grade, I was in love with JTT (who wasn’t?) but I also dreamed of running away with the Artful Dodger. For readers, there’s little distinction between speculating on the love lives of famous actors and of famous literary characters. But since characters’ romances are sealed within the pages of their books, they aren’t subject to Bey and Jay level scrutiny. But nothing can prevent us from wondering who, for example, Walter Berglund would pair off with at the Golden Globes after party, or who Katniss Everdeen might take to the Teen Choice Awards. Here are 12 iconic literary characters and who we think they’d date on the celebrity scene:
Emma Bovary (Madame Bovary, by Gustave Flaubert)
Poor Emma Bovary serves as a tragic example of why fairy tale romances are just that—fairy tales. She needs a man who can indulge her Prince Charming fantasy but also help her focus on the more meaningful and substantive things in life. Only Brad Pitt, with his classic good looks and world-saving ways, can reign in this fickle beauty.
Dmitri Karamazov (The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
This passionate and impulsive antihero is tricky to match. He’s guilt-riddled, a philanderer, and maybe a murderer, but he’s looking for a simple, goodhearted gal who will stand by him if he gets locked up forever. Oh, and she also needs to have major sex appeal (Grushenka sets a pretty high bar). Only one wholesome-at-heart sex kitten with humble beginnings fits the bill: Katy Perry. If she can handle Russell Brand, Dmitri’s brooding and baggage will be a breeze.
Holden Caulfield (The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger)
Introspective, jaded Holden needs a partner who has shaken off the yoke of angsty adolescence, but still has substance beneath the smiles. Enter Maisie Williams, whose curiosity and intelligence make her a good foil to his dark outlook. She’s also a world traveler, and knows enough about winter to tell Holden what the heck happens to the ducks when it comes.
Jo March (Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott)
Tomboyish and quick to anger, Jo needs someone playful enough to indulge her goofy side, patient enough to tolerate her temper, and smart enough to engage her intellect. I see down-to-earth goofball—and Brown grad—John Krasinski being the real-life Jim to her Pam.
George (Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck)
He’s a bit of an impatient hothead, but George has unshakable loyalty and will always be true to the one he loves. He’s a blue-collar guy, seeking an unpretentious lady who can help soften his rough edges, and there’s no better match for him than Carey Mulligan. She’s proven her ability to handle a man with a temper, and her sunny outlook provides a perfect counterpoint to George’s grumbling.
Catherine Linton (Wuthering Heights, by Emily Brontë)
The passionate, status-conscious, selfish Catherine requires not only all-consuming love with a man as intense as she is, but also money and prestige, and lots of it. As the son of a business mogul and model, Julian Casablancas, the grungy, ponderous frontman of The Strokes, marries the depth of Heathcliff with the moola and stature of Edgar.
Nurse Ratched (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey)
As the machinelike enforcer at an Oregon psychiatric hospital, Nurse Ratched is cold, controlling, and immune to human appeals. She won’t be charmed easily, nor will she be quick to let down her guard and be vulnerable with a man. It’ll take something stronger than electroshock treatments to break her cold exterior: this smile. George, she’s all yours.
Meursault (The Stranger, by Albert Camus)
Only a woman who has thought through all the big questions—and believes in the answers she’s come to—can handle the misanthrope who narrates Camus’ iconic existential tale. One look at Helena Bonham Carter’s hats tells you she’s seen the absurdity of existence, and rather than take it as a sign that All Must End, she uses it as a free pass to treat life as a playful-if-meaningless adventure. I see many long walks on the beach in this couple’s future.
Hermione Granger (The Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling)
While she may harbor some childhood affection for her buddy Ron, let’s be real, Hermione needs somebody a bit more sophisticated. A renaissance man, one with an insatiable desire to learn, as well as an ability to laugh at himself when she inevitably corrects him. Accio: James Franco!
Leopold Bloom (Ulysses, by James Joyce)
This sensitive, neurotic, intellectually curious man needs a partner who can answer his questions and indulge his interest in science and how things work. Natalie Portman, having been published twice in scientific journals and being as interested in learning as she is in being a movie star, could be more than just a rebound after Leopold ends things with unfaithful Ms. Molly.
Which modern-day celebrity would your favorite fictional character pair off with?