Dave: Sir Harry is one of the greatest characters in all fiction, but in creating the character — name and all — Fraser just took little Harry from Tom Brown’s School Days of early Victoriana and grew him up into the most thoroughly engaging rotter in history who didn’t actually serve in elective office. But, dear sir, Dirk Pitt? He’s not even in the same league as Sir Harry. I’d consign him to the depths with Mike Hammer. (Not that there’s anything wrong with Mike, or Sam Spade or Lew Archer or…)
I wouldn’t grant Sir Harry the title of best ever fictional name. There’s simply too much competition, and though we love our rascal, we must and can climb, like Sisyphus, from Flashman to Chuzzlewitt and Twist, and, again like Mr. S., tumble back down into the company of Finn McCool, Rowdy Yates and Professor Moriarty. This question, in fact, not susceptible of solution without descent into violence.
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