Unorthodox? Perhaps, but one hundred percent true and totally deserving of the title. He may not be handsome or dashing, and he certainly isn't cheerful, but who says a hero has to be? The mere facts that he would choose to journey with Jill and Eustace on a quest that his Marshwiggle self finds to be hopeless so he can help them and guide them automatically puts him out there. But it's his gentle guidance, his kindness, and his loyalty to Aslan and Narnia to the point of being willing to receive bodily harm (even risk his life!) that put him in the true standing of a hero. And I think he is a hero that is a rather under recognized.
2. Gilbert Blythe
He may not be dashingly heroic, but he's just so right. Here is one that truly represents what I look for in a man. He's down-to-earth (he doesn't go in for that "high falutin' mumbo-jumbo") and responsible, but he's got a good sense of humor and likes to have fun. He's also encouraging. Just what a man should be, and, if I may say, just what I need- Anne that I am.
3. Edward Ferrars
Okay, so now I'm getting into the typical choices, but he really is a hero. He's loyal and considerate, and he's thoughtful. He's both respectable and respects those around him. He values people and the promises he's made over money. He may be rather shy, but that's okay.
4. Todd Spencer
of the Christy Miller and subsequent series
Here is one that may be a little more obscure to most of you. Todd is another example of what to look for in a man, to me, because of his love and heart for God. He is on fire, and wants to serve God with all his heart, doing what ever He wants him to. Not only that, but he also has a deep understanding of God's love for him. His heart is to reach people with the love of Christ, and that is a beautiful thing. He does go through trials, but he relies on God. He can be infuriatingly laid back, and a bit oblivious when it comes to a few things about girls, but he's the guy you can feel you can trust with your heart. He's always there to pray with you, and he's just fun to hang out with. I'm not ashamed to say, I'm on Team Todd!
5. Mr. Knightley
Yes, I think we all know why he's on this list. Therefore, I won't go into a long discussion about it. Let's just say, he's the perfect gentleman and leave it at that. If you don't understand why he's on here, get yourself to a library, bookstore, video rental, whatever! and read about/watch him! (Yes, this is from the 1996 BBC/A&E Emma. He's the one I like best. ;-P )
6. Henry Tilney
Yes, another typical one, and I'm sure I'm not going to say more than what you will find on any other list or post about him, but I agree. He's very witty, but he's more than that. He's also respectable and upright, kind, and not afraid to admit he enjoys novels. ;-)
7. Gus Pike
of Road to Avonlea
I don't think many people think about Gus as a hero, but I think he is. Not only has he saved the day for many of the people in the community of Avonlea, but he has also gone through many struggles himself. He may get jealous of Felicity when she starts being interested in other boys, but he never wants to keep her from doing what will make her happy. I think Felicity's words best describe him: "Beneath your vagabond's clothes beats the heart of a gentleman."
8. Mr. Carrisford
Not one you would normally think for hero status, but I think he deserves it. True, he had convinced Captain Crewe to invest in his mine which he had thought failed, originally causing Sarah's distress, but he later redeemed himself. But I think not only of his taking Sarah in, but his act of caring for Sarah before he even knew who she was. He felt sorry for her, and wanted to see her cared for. I don't think he did it just for Sarah's sake, or out of guilt, either. I think he truly had a kind heart that could not see a little girl go through such a life.
9. King Caspian
Please note, I am referring to the original book verse Caspian, not the dark haired Walden version! (although, the BBC version comes awfully close) He has his faults, of course. Especially his wanting to continue with adventure than return to his people, but he comes to his senses and accepts his given responsibility. Over all, he is a just and noble man with a loyal, caring heart of gold. (the same color as his hair!!!)
10. Don Diego De la Vega
Keep in mind that the only version of Zorro I've ever seen is the old Disney series starring Guy Williams- hence the picture. Don Diego certainly fills the dashingly handsome and daring cards, but that's just the tip. In both of his aliases he is a gentleman, and as Zorro he fights for what he believes in. He fights for justice and to protect people under undeserved persecution. Two attributes I find highly admirable.
Now, I cannot close out this post without also giving honorable mention to those men who did not make this list, but very easily could (and should) have: Aragorn, Merlin (BBC verse), Mr. Darcy, John Thornton, and The Doctor.