“Despair and bitterness are not the only songs in the world.”
Obviously, there may be spoilers in this post. Hopefully not too many, and not too specific. But. You have been warned.
- Beren and Luthien – The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien. Ignoring the fact that the age gap between them is so large it makes Twilight look positively normal, this is just the most awesomest of all love stories, ever. They cooperate. Beren fights monsters. So does Luthien. Beren rescues Luthien. Luthien rescues Beren. It’s just about the only Tolkien relationship that doesn’t make you want to punch someone’s lights out.
- Lukas and Juliette – Wool, Hugh Howey. He looks at the stars. She mends stuff. It’s a nice role-reversal, and it feels real. I didn’t like what happened in Dust, though – did she forget him, or what?
- Robert Frobisher and Rufus Sixsmith – Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell. *sobs gently*
- Eugene Wrayburn and Lizzie Hexam – Our Mutual Friend, Charles Dickens. Dickens spends 800 pages teasing this – will they defy society or won’t they? – so the payoff is excellent. I love that Lizzie doesn’t just sit around waiting for him, either – nope, she goes out and drags him from a river. Hurrah! (Also, Twemlow at the end: “This lady. What else would you call her, if the gentleman were present?” OH SNAP.)
- Will Parry and Lyra Belacqua – The Amber Spyglass, Philip Pullman. Okay, they’re only twelve, which makes the whole thing a teensy bit unbelievable, but still. It’s all very tragic.
- Walter Gay and Florence Dombey – Dombey and Son, Charles Dickens. Extremely sentimental, and, again, teased right from the beginning, but that doesn’t make it any less satisfying. Another ridiculously sad one: “Poor Wal’r!”
- Captain Wentworth and Anne Eliot – Persuasion, Jane Austen. I read this at school, which may be why it sticks in my mind so much, but it just feels like such a true, raw story, full of bitterness and anger and regret, and yet, eventually, a kind of happiness.
- Nutt and Glenda – Unseen Academicals, Terry Pratchett. There’s no fuss, no drama to this relationship. It just sort of happens, like ships that pass in the night. And that’s very sweet.
- Benedick and Beatrice – Much Ado About Nothing, William Shakespeare. They’re awesome and funny and banterous and brilliant.
- Thomas Covenant and Linden Avery – The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen Donaldson. I was shipping these two for a thousand pages. They’re both extraordinarily real, extraordinarily well-developed characters who’ve both gone through so much and who find comfort in each other. And again, there’s a lot of doubt and bitterness here.
(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)