Monday, February 8, 2016

Top Ten Favorite Fictional Couples

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

It's a Valentine's Day freebie! I decided to pick out some of my favorite book couples. I realized when going through the list of my top-rated books that most of them don't involve a romantic relationship at all, which I had not expected. And for some of these on the list, the relationship is not the point of the book and may or may not be a major plot point. This could be because when the relationship is the main plot of the book, it tends to be driven by some sort of conflict that probably falls into my most disliked relationship tropes.

Anyway, here's what I came up with for some of my favorite fictional pairs. Be aware that this list contains spoilers for the following books: All-of-a-Kind Family, And the Mountains Echoed, Emma, The Fault in Our Stars, the Harry Potter series, The Language of Flowers, the Malloreon series, The Sea of Tranquility, The Time Traveler's Wife, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

1. Charlie and Miss Allen (All-of-a-Kind Family)
This was a sweet plot twist I didn't see coming. The kind librarian who befriends the children just happens to turn out to be the long-lost fiancée of their family friend Charlie. He spends all his free time searching for her, but only finds her when the girls throw a party and invite both of them.

2. Suleiman and Nabi (And the Mountains Echoed)
These two are not your typical pair by any means, but I love seeing how they make life work together. Suleiman gets to live with (and be taken care of by) the man he loves, and Nabi gets everything he's looking for in a lifelong relationship — companionship, loyalty, affection — while having his sexual needs met elsewhere. From their interactions you could hardly tell them from any other long-married couple.

3. Emma and Mr. Knightley (Emma)
They were friends first, and even though Mr. Knightley falls in love with Emma before she realizes she's in love with him, he quietly bides his time and doesn't try to pressure her when she says she never wants to be married. In that way the seeds of their relationship remind me a lot of my husband and me.

4. Hazel and Gus (The Fault in Our Stars)
How could they not make the list? They're hilarious, they get excited over things together, and they make quiet sacrifices for one another. I have a feeling they're going to be on a lot of other people's lists.

5. Harry and Ginny (Harry Potter)
My husband says he prefers Ron and Hermione, but the buildup to their relationship was too full of drama and immaturity for me. Harry and Ginny's relationship was much more straightforward and mature, and once Ginny grew out of her idol-worship phase they seemed to interact as equals. As adults I can see Ron and Hermione having more of a stereotypical sitcom marriage, while Harry and Ginny are simply happy together.

6. Victoria and Grant (The Language of Flowers)
They have enough of a shared past that Victoria doesn't have to explain herself to him the way she does to everyone else. She's had a rough life and still needs a lot of time and space to heal, and he gives her that without presuming to be able to "save" her himself.

7. Silk and Velvet (The Malloreon series)
We meet Silk in the original Belgariad series, but it's not until the subsequent series that we learn there's one woman who's a match for him. Velvet (her code name) is a fellow spy and one of the few who can hold her own in banter with Silk. It's been a long time since I read these books, but I remember loving their relationship.

8. Nastya and Josh (The Sea of Tranquility)
Josh's home becomes a safe haven for Nastya, and they fall into a domestic routine well before anything romantic or sexual happens between them. As with Victoria and Grant, Josh doesn't try to "fix" Nastya once she realizes she needs help and healing; he lets her go so she can seek the help she needs, and doesn't expect that she'll necessarily come back to him.

9. Clare and Henry (The Time Traveler's Wife)
Their relationship is certainly unusual; she's known him all her life, but he doesn't meet her until they're adults. What I love about their relationship is how practically they deal with the oddities of Henry's time-traveling condition, like when he already knows what their future home looks like but lets her go on house-hunting herself, knowing the one she loves will inevitably be it.

10. Kit and Nat (The Witch of Blackbird Pond)
I clearly have a thing for slow-burn romances. Nat and Kit both befriend the same elderly Quaker woman exiled from the Puritan community, and when Kit finds herself in the cross-hairs of suspicion, Nat is the one safe person she can turn to. Eventually she realizes that she can't think of a happier life than sailing the seas with him, just as he turns up with a new ship cheekily named "The Witch" after her.

Who are your favorite fictional couples?

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