Based on my personal preference, this list only includes male characters. However, if you make your own list (and I hope you do!), you can include anyone you want. Also, the list is in no particular order, and I am trying not to overlap too much from the Characters I Love Post.
1. Lord Vetinari, The Patrician of Terry Pratchett's Discworld Books - This man can Get. Stuff. Done. He whipped Ankh-Morpork into shape by creating a guild system; he diversified the police force so no one could accuse it of being discrimanatory towards dwarves, werewolves or anyone else; he got the country off the gold standard; he got the post office working efficiently, and he pulled it all off with major panache. When the trials of being dictator get to be too much, he has a convenient door in his office that leads to a painful, gruesome (but highly efficient) death. And of course, underneath his aloof bearing and inpenetrable sangfroid, he's a man who really wants to improve his country and employ the best people to do it. Excellent stuff.
2. Sir Tristram Shield, from Georgette Heyer's The Talisman Ring - When Lifeline Theater here in Chicago presented a stage production based on Heyer's novel, I immediately purchased tickets and dragged my parents to see Sir Tristram in the flesh. Gosh, he's dreamy. Not only does he have a very dry sense of humor, but he is also "handy with his fives," and any man who can punch the lights out of two thugs to save his lady love is a man for me. He also makes one of the most delightful marriage proposals I've ever encountered in a book. And if you are yet to read a Heyer novel, get to it!
3. Captain Wentworth, from Jane Austen's Persuasion - Anyone who can say No to a man that writes a letter saying this:
"You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. Tell me not that I am too late, that such precious feelings are gone for ever. I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight and a half years ago. Dare not say that a man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant."clearly belongs in a mental institution. Sadly, Captain Wentworth did not send that note to me, but I feel certain that if I were there, he would most certainly have redirected his heart in my direction. I love, love, love Mr. Darcy, but Captain Wentworth is, in my opinion, Jane Austen's most underrated hero.
4. Janko, from Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder - Sure, maybe I am including Janko because I just finished the book he features in six hours ago and he's fresh in my mind. He's such a great guy, though. He's strong, smart and willing to take risks. He also has a great sense of humor that hides a deep-rooted loyalty to his friends. Quality.
5. Nicholas de Fleury, from The House of Niccolo series by Dorothy Dunnett - I don't know if I would have a happy marriage with Nicholas de Fleury, being that he's fairly ruthless and has a disturbing "I've got a secret and I'm not going to tell you what it is" habit that would make trust a little difficult. But he also has a huge sense of responsibility that encompasses everyone around him. It would be nice to feel wrapped up safe and warm in that sort of thing. Also, supposedly Nicholas is quite the ugly man (he is described as "an oak tree with dimples", but somehow he exudes (and I mean exudes, based on his success with women) sexual charisma. Not sure how that works, but it would be interesting to find out.
6. Lord Francis Skelbrooke, from Goblin Moon by Teresa Edgerton - Not many men can pull off a curly wig of pink-tinted hair and shoes with bows on them, but when those same men can kill a troll at point-blank range, one is able to (somewhat) forgive the pink hair. Skelbrooke is like the Scarlet Pimpernel; he seems foppish and shallow, but he's always a step ahead of everyone else and just so smart and wonderful. I adore Skelbrooke. I adore Goblin Moon. It is a hard-to-find but excellent gem of a steampunk novel that features (gasp!) a woman on my "Heroines That Don't Annoy Me" list. I highly recommend seeking it out.
7. Gilbert Blythe, from the Anne of Green Gables series by L. M. Montgomery - I am not sure if Gilbert would stand up as husband material for me on a re-read of the Anne of Green Gables series, and I don't care to find out. He was my first literary love- so sweet, so obviously in love with Anne from their first meeting. I was sad that he faded into the background in the later books of the series, but that just gave me more room to imagine witty and sweet things for him to say (to Anne, not me. I'm not that delusional). He is a true gentleman, and I could easily imagine him being the sort of person who would take his coat off and lay it on the street for a woman so that she didn't have to step in a puddle.
8. Number Ten Ox, from Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart - Life with Number Ten would be fun, exciting and full of tummy-aching laughter. That's pretty ideal. I really need to get my hands on the sequels to this book for a price that is reasonable. Ox is just a really cool person.
9. Marcus Didius Falco, from the Falco series by Lindsey Davis - Ok, ok, I know he's on my Characters I Love list and that I tried to avoid those characters in this list. But I am making the rules here, right? All you have to do is read one Falco mystery and you'll know exactly why I love him. He is hilarious.
10. Eugenides, from The Queen's Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner - If I managed not to gush too much about Eugenides in my reviews of the first three books in Turner's series, then allow me to do so here. He is so clever, so completely hard to read, so sarcastic and so intelligent. (I apologize for the overuse of italics in this post. Yikes. I'm being quite emphatic.) He's fascinating. I am really, really excited about the next book in this series coming out, though I'm not sure if Eugenides will have a major role in it. That would be unfortunate because he is awesome. So, fingers crossed.