Melanie's Musings
February 14, 2012

John Thornton Is Better Than You

Nicole from Word for Teens is here to educate us on the superiority of John Thornton. Anyone who’s a fan of Thornton, Darcy, and Rochester obviously has excellent taste.

John Thornton Is Better Than You

I’m not gonna lie – one of the reasons I love North and South is John Thornton. I mean, the plot is fantastic, and the romance is beautiful, and other characters are fabulous.

But Richard Armitage’s portrayal of Thornton makes my ovaries dance a jig and explode.

And he can hold is own against any of these silly other male romance ideals. Don’t believe me?

Five: John Thornton vs. Edward Cullen

I have no love for Edward Cullen, so Thornton’s already won in my book. But for the sake of this post, I’ll pretend that Edward doesn’t try to control Bella and tell her not to go places and be all angsty and shiz. He also writes her a piano piece and is willing – literally – to die for her.

But Thornton, despite living in a time where women were still considered property for the most part, actually respects Margaret! He sees her as an equal and takes her advice when she offers it, even as he follows the basic rules of chivalry. Edward might write Bella a piano piece, but it’s nothing on Thornton’s intellectual debates with Margaret.

Besides, Richard Armitage looks much better in a top hat than Robert Pattinson.

Four: John Thornton vs. Edward Fairfax Rochester

I love Rochester. I really do. He’s brilliant and snarky and intelligent and brooding and awesome, just like Thornton.

Thankfully, Thornton doesn’t have a wife locked in his attic who tries to set Margaret on fire and steal her wedding dress and kill Thornton while he sleeps…

Both look equally excellent in top hats, though.

Three: John Thornton vs. Nate

I, personally, am in love with Ariel from Lisa Mantchev’s series, but Nate undoubtedly holds his own. He’s a swashbuckling pirate, all seasalt and chivalry, who will do whatever he can to protect Bertie.

And don’t get me wrong – I love me some Nate. But I think I love the clean-cut Thornton even more. Not because he’s clean cut – though men in suits! – but because he can do both dirty work if he needs to and the overall business stuff. Plus, if Margaret was running around swashing a sword, he’d be fighting with her, not trying to stop her from fighting. Yes being treated as equals!

Of course, he’d tend to her when she inevitably got hit in the head.

Also, pirates can’t wear top hats.

Two: John Thornton vs. Ash

Ah, Ash from Julie Kagawa’s The Iron Fey series is much loved among us young adult literature consumers. He’s brooding and dark, willing to toss himself on a sword if it means saving Meghan’s life. Outside of Meghan, though, he doesn’t seem to care about anything.

And that’s why I like Thornton better. He may be willing to do what he can to help Margaret, but he loves his family and takes care of them; he broods, but he doesn’t have the same alone-boy-who-might-kill-you thing going on that Ash does. He’s brooding, but with the potential to be cuddly.

And he might look better in a top hat.

One: John Thornton vs. Fitzwilliam Darcy

Oh. I might have to tie this one; I do love me some Darcy.

Probably for the same reason I love Thornton.

They both dislike their loves at first, but they both see them as equals; it takes time for them to fall in love; they spar verbally and intellectually; they do what they can to help their respective others’ families.

They also look equally fantastic in top hats.

Who would you put against Thornton? Because I bet you, he would win.

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Posted by Melanie at 9:00 am – Comments (9)
Categories: themed week

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  • February 14th 2012
    Arya said:

    Ah! I love it. I laughed SO HARD! I think you have me beat though, if Rochester can’t hold his own against Thornton… nobody can. 😉


  • February 14th 2012
    Trudy said:

    Haven’t seen/read Twilight, nor have I read all the classic love stories out there, but I seriously doubt anyone will ever top Thornton (especially as portrayed by Richard). Darcy? He’s never had to work to prove himself, nor has he ever contemplated that a lady might not fancy him. Rochester has that sinister streak…not for me. Thank you, Gaskell, for giving us a man we can all sigh over…Thornton.


  • February 14th 2012

    I’m with you all the way. Of course, I’m unfamiliar with a couple of the characters you mentioned, but since you’re dead on about the rest, I trust your judgement. 🙂

    I found myself liking Thornton even more than Darcy–a feat I wouldn’t have believed possible until it happened–in part because he’s a self-made man. Darcy inherits (and is a good steward of, no doubt) his great wealth. But Thornton must work hard for what he has, making the twist where he loses everything all the more bitter. There are a lot of parallels & similarities between the two, but that is one thing I feel that tips that balance slightly in his favor.

    And then there’s that kiss at the end…anachronistic, perhaps, but still pretty much the most beautiful on-screen kiss I’ve ever seen.

    Much as I love Darcy & Rochester, too, Thornton has leapfrogged to the top of my “fictional boyfriends” list. Well done in explaining all his merits!! 🙂


  • February 14th 2012
    Chachic said:

    LOL love this post! Richard Armitage was amazing as Mr. Thornton, he’s one of the reasons why the mini-series is one of my favorite period dramas. Have you seen the conversation between Mr. Thornton and Mr. Darcy? It used to be in this link ( but it doesn’t work anymore, that’s too bad because it was pretty funny.


  • February 15th 2012
    Heidi said:

    I would be willing to do a number of things to see a conversation between Darcy and Thornton, but alas my super search skills have failed me and dead link it is. Indeed, every good romantic hero ought to look good in a top hat.


  • February 16th 2012
    Sandy said:

    I remember that conversation that Chachic is referring to! I had the link bookmarked on my old computer…it’s a shame if that work is lost forever because it was hilarious.

    I was able to find the conversation between Margaret and Lizzie though 😉

    But back to Nicole’s post….for me, even Darcy can’t beat Thornton. He’s just so…awesome. <333


  • February 18th 2012

    Yeah, I really don’t have anyone other than Mr. Darcy to throw up against Thornton, but I agree they’re pretty equally matched. I really do need to read the book…


  • February 19th 2012

    I love this post! Especially with Darcy!


  • March 12th 2012

    […] Armitage is well known for playing brooding souls like John Thornton in North and South or Guy of Gisborne in Robin […]