1 - Maximus
Even when he becomes a slave, he's such a charismatic leader that everyone treats him as the general he truly is. When he doesn't care much about his own life, he takes swift command in the arena in order to save as many of the men who stepped onto the blood-soaked sand with him as he can. He serves Rome right down to his last breath. The living embodiment of 'strength and honor'.
2 - Horatio Hornblower
A natural leader, insightful, decisive and courageous. Inspires deep loyalty among his men, even while he is still young and still learning. Manages to encourage senior officers to trust him and go against Royal Navy protocol when that is the only moral thing to do.
3 - Richard Sharpe
Another natural leader, his humble birth can't hold him back from being promoted into the officers' ranks. Swaggering bravado and the ability to stir the men to hold the line under fire, are matched by his touching friendship with Harper, and his devoted service to the King's Colors.
4 - King Leonidas
A king who loves his country so dearly, he defies its own laws to protect it. A man who values his wife's opnion before he makes a decision as king. A commander whose soldiers are committed to victory and move as one in battle. A Spartan who meets death head on, arms outstretched to embrace it.
5 - Aragorn
A man who cannot escape his true nature as king. Though he protests he is not the awaited ruler of Middlearth, he acts like one at every turn. His humility and reflective nature only make him a wiser, more compassionate leader. A commander of armies, protector of friends and a lover who remains true.
6 - Wolverine
A loner who can't avoid his own sense of responsilibilty. Steps into the leader role with the X-Men, even though he prefers his own company. Willing to risk literally disintegrating in order to save the woman he loves. And when those claws come out, it's time to sit back and enjoy the show.
7 - Corwin from the Amber series
A prince of Amber, he is one of 17 siblings jockeying for power, with the throne of Amber as the prize. Corwin protects several siblings from the clutches of one another, personally considering the throne only as a means of preserving the kingdom itself. He fights political duels and engages in physical combat with equal finesse. Though not the eldest, he proves he is the most worthy among an exceptional family.
8 - Obi-Wan Kenobi
Who could have suspected that Obi-Wan would turn out to be such a noble, tragic figure? Apprenticed to a master who flaunts convention, sworn to continue training a boy rejected by the Jedi council, Obi-Wan is nothing if not faithful, altruistic and perhaps even a bit arrogant. Not too many could live with themselves, having watched Darth Vader arise from a former pupil and friend. Obi-Wan is such a complex character. Meeting him at the point of his redemption in the original "Star Wars" turns his story of losing Anakin to the dark side into a real heart-wrencher.
9 - The Count Saint-Germain
What does it say about humanity that the most noble, compassionate character in this series is a vampire? In each story, Saint-Germain's treatment at the hands of men always deteriorates as their suspicions arise over his true nature. Yet no matter how many times they turn on him, Saint-Germain never fails to help those who need his protection. Savvy yet diplomatic, intimidating yet controlled, Saint-Germain has learned to live one step ahead of men while hiding in plain sight among them.
10 - Rothgar from 'Devilish'
These pictures are of other characters who display aspects of Rothgar, since there's no real images of this character. He appears in the Malloren series of historical romances by Jo Beverley. Head of one of the most powerful landed families in 18th cenury England, Rothgar wields his power behind the scenes of government. Fiercely protective of his family and his country, he cherishes his enigmatic persona for the freedom it provides. Beneath his polished exterior beats the heart of a brooding lion, aching for what it has lost.
11 - Prince Rilian from 'The Silver Chair'
As a girl, I was very attracted to this nobel prince who suffered the torments of an enchantment at the hands of the Green Lady. He tries to protect would-be rescuers from his own madness. Then we realize his 'madness' is a ploy by his captor to ensure no rescuer will believe him when he in fact comes to his senses. It set the stage for my future love of the tortured hero.
12 - The Phantom
The tortured hero gets a little darker here. As played by Gerard Butler in the film version, it's easier to see why Christine would be torn between him and Raoul, her childhood sweetheart. The stage version always left me feeling rather infuriated, since that Phantom is more obviously the controlling-stalker type of lover. But Gerard Butler's version carries enough emotional pain to make his motives understandable. The return of the ring at the end is a heart-crusher.
13 - Number Six
This is a character from a 1960's British TV series called "The Prisoner". He's a secret agent who hands in his resignation, only to be drugged and relocated to a place called The Village. Populated entirely by other agents from different countries, all of whom have no names, only numbers, The Village is effectively a prison with a life sentence. Number Six does not go gently into that good night. He resists every attempt by successive Number Two's to reveal his reasons for resigning. He simmers with outrage while plotting to escape and discover the identity of Number One. He wields barbed quips like weapons. A more-than-worthy opponent to the best that The Village can throw at him.