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The Best Couples in Books Ever!

I have loved many a fictional romance. Sometimes I love them because of how well they are done, sometimes I love them because I love one of the characters and like or can tolerate the other one.

Sometimes I love both the characters, and the way they get together.

I have chosen books in which the story's finished and the characters do get together: there are some couples I love but have not mentioned as they are NOT YET TOGETHER in ongoing serieseses...es (Kate and Curran in Ilona Andrews's Magic series, Derek and Chloe in Kelley Armstrong's Darkest Powers series). There are some couples written by authors I know who I will leave out lest I be accused of partiality (even though Ravus and Val from Holly Black's Valiant are the best ever). There are some couples I love but who never actually became couples, which is a HORRIBLE TRAGEDY.

But those couples who do get together, and who are the best ever:

Elizabeth and Darcy, Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Of Course, Everyone Says That. My favourite example of attraction without Austen ever mentioning such a thing: even when Elizabeth hates Darcy, you notice how they talk to each other, zinging back and forth.

Maud and Sue, Sarah Waters's Fingersmith - They spend most of the book lying to each other. And being brilliant, one in a very intellectual and one in a very street-smart way. And through lies find truth, and love. In a library.

Kitty and Freddy, Georgette Heyer's Cotillion - She believes he's a complete fool, nice but only capable of thinking about his waistcoats. He believes she's an utter nuisance, nice but totally uninterested in fashion. All of London seems to believe he is sexless or gay or at the very least incapable of attracting a woman. His rakish cousin believes he can insult a lady in Freddy's presence. Everybody's wrong.

Gen and Irene, Megan Whalen Turner's Queen's Thief series - How do I put this? It's sort of like the Artful Dodger falling for Snow White's Evil Stepmother.

Sophie and Howl, Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle - A vain, cowardly Welsh wizard and a grumpy, practical hat-maker enchanted to look like an eighty-year-old lady. What could be more romantic? Again, they learn about each other through interacting: Sophie's impressions of Howl start off from Step 1) Cold-blooded murderer, eats hearts, to 2) Total idiot, in love with his own hair.

Laura and Sorry, Margaret Mahy's The Changeover. The best YA romance I have ever read, possibly the best YA I have ever read, and I will explain why. For this post was meant to be a no-holds-barred recommendation for The Changeover before I got carried away.

Laura Chant is a Maori-appearing girl in New Zealand with a blond mother and brother and an absent father. (The Maori-appearingness is a cool detail Mahy never goes into. I wish she did! But I find it awesome that it's there.) Sorensen Carlisle is a blond witch guy, which came as a bit of a shock to his all-female witch family.

Laura's on a mission to save her little brother. (UM. Apparently, I got the idea that was an awesome mission to be on from somewhere. Sorry, Margaret Mahy, that was unconscious. I can only blame how OVERPOWERINGLY AWESOME you are.) He's having the life sucked out of him by the creepiest toy shop owner in the world, and when Laura goes to Sorry for help, he thinks she's arrived because they have a ROMANTIC CONNECTION. Awkward!

Also turns out, only Laura herself can save her brother. Luckily, Laura is really awesome. In other news, Sorry is the least smooth operator in the history of time.

I have also decided to give you some SUMMARIES of these magnificent love tales.

Great Love Stories, Spoilers For Everything AboveCollapse )

As you can perhaps see, I don't seem to care for love at first sight at all! I do seem to care for people examining and taking apart classic 'romantic' ideas, and sensible ladies, and guys who don't care about stereotypes and are willing to embrace things like a) fashion, b) romance novels, c) awesome ladies. I like romance to take place in the midst of a ton of other stuff, like adventures, and crazy plots, because I like a couple with other stuff besides gazing at each others' beauty going on! I like people being equal but very different.

But what I like best of all, and what makes me believe most of all in a pairing, is seeing people communicate - use words rather than a Magical Love Connection to learn about each other, become real to each other. And in the process, to us.

So - words/Sarah forever! What are your favourite couples ever?

Comments

( 307 comments — Leave a comment )
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ascetic_hedony
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:19 am (UTC)
Beatrice and Benedict from Much Ado About Nothing. Since watching Kenneth Brannagh and Emma Thompson ham it up, they have been my OTP4eva!
rabid_fyrefly
Jan. 20th, 2010 04:18 am (UTC)
That was a Fantastic Match! I love this!
(Deleted comment)
sarahtales
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:26 am (UTC)
*beams* I am so pleased you're enjoying the book! And Alan has his moments yes. ;)
chicazep
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:35 am (UTC)
Yay!
Before I even read your list, I thought to myself "Cotillion, definitely," and then there it was!
I completely agree--I love a subverted trope, and the rake finally not being a lovable cad, but just a cad, was glorious.
soloproject
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:42 am (UTC)
I'm so going to find a copy of that Laura/Sorry book and read this. I think all book reviews or summaries should be like this. XD
ladyknight1991
Jan. 20th, 2010 02:08 am (UTC)
me too!
and i love your icon by the way^_^
amanuensis1
Jan. 20th, 2010 01:48 am (UTC)
Your description of Howl howling over his hair has me, well, howling.
ladyknight1991
Jan. 20th, 2010 02:06 am (UTC)
ok so i have several favorite couples.
Beka and Rosto from Terrier and Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce
Anabell and Owen from Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Will and Lyra from the His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman
Colie and Norman from Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth from Persuasion by Jane Austen(for some reason nobody seems to know about this book and its my favorite Austen novel)

i do like Sophie and Howl, and this may be a stupid question but...were you aware the made this into a very awesome animated film(i dont know how different it is from the book since its been a long timebut i loved the movie)
leah_cypess
Jan. 20th, 2010 02:12 am (UTC)
Wow, this is the farthest down in the comments I've ever read on any blog post ever. And still no one has mentioned Red and Sorcha in Daughters of the Forest! Though I’m not sure they can pass the “communications” test:

Red: I think you had something to do with my brother’s kidnapping!
Sorcha: *silence*
Red: But probably not in a bad way, because you look really sad.
Sorcha: *silence*
Red: Hmm, I wonder if you can’t talk because you’re under a spell. I wonder if that has some connection to the fact that you’re knitting shirts out of thorns.
Sorcha: *silence*
Red: You know, I think the only way to protect you from my evil uncle is to marry you. In name only, of course.
Sorcha: *silence*
Red: I'm off to find my brother. But if my evil uncle somehow finds a way to hurt you despite my brilliant marriage plan, I'll come back as fast as I can.
Sorcha: Red, look out!
Red: Omigod, you broke your silence and risked everything that matters to you for me!
Sorcha: Yeah, but now I have to go. My brothers don’t like you. Sorry. 'Bye.
novembersnow
Jan. 20th, 2010 02:50 am (UTC)
I just reread The Changeover a few months ago, for the first time since I was 13 or so. I'd forgotten how many kinds of awesome Laura and Sorry's crazy relationship is. I do not think I appreciated it properly at 13. :)

Besides Elizabeth and Darcy, I think most of my favorite couples of all time come from L.M. Montgomery's novels. Oh, how the things we read as children imprint on us! ;) Anne and Gilbert probably are my favorite couple, even though the Anne books actually are not my favorites among Montgomery's novels. But I'm also terribly fond of Rilla and Kenneth (I love how she grows up! and the book is so powerful and tragic!) and Valancy and Barney from The Blue Castle, which is my favorite of all Montgomery's books (shy Valancy finally bursts out of her shell and gets everything she ever dreamed of and more, including a filthy rich, literary husband! what's not to love? *g*).
hollyxu
Jan. 20th, 2010 04:02 am (UTC)
Drive by!
Have you read any of the Emily books? I find Emily/Dean so much more plausible than the terribly cardboard Emily/Teddy.
Re: Drive by! - novembersnow - Jan. 20th, 2010 04:07 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Drive by! - hollyxu - Jan. 20th, 2010 02:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Drive by! - sarahtales - Jan. 20th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: Drive by! - hollyxu - Jan. 20th, 2010 02:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
hollyxu
Jan. 20th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)
I've always liked Harriet Vane and Peter Wimsey, because so much of their (5 year long!) journey was about getting to a place where they had equal footing, and could, presumably, build a loving and passionate relationship. Both Harriet's bitterness and Wimsey's vulnerability read incredibly true, which is difficult to find in romance, let alone meta-masquerading-as-mystery novels.

Anyway, while I do like Elizabeth/Darcy, I always thought Jane and Rochester to have a more interesting dynamic. (Not better! Just more interesting...)
(Anonymous)
Jan. 21st, 2010 05:50 am (UTC)
YAY! Another Peter/Harriet fan.

I really think they're one of the best/ most interesting couples going.

Though I love Gen and Irene, too, and Sophos and Helen -- and did someone mention The Perilous Gard? Awesome!
anna_wing
Jan. 20th, 2010 04:01 am (UTC)

Cordelia Naismith and Aral Vorkosigan - Bujold
- because they are both so clever and kind and brave and sensible
Simon Illyan and Lady Alys Vorpatril - Bujold
- Bujold has said that Simon Illyan was modelled on Ilya Kuriakin from "The Man from UNCLE". 'Nuff said.
Venetia and Damerel - Heyer
- because they are both so clever and kind and brave and sensible
Ran and Theodora - Doris Egan
- because they are both so clever and kind and brave and don't understand each other's cultures at all but try terribly hard because they love each other.
Morgaine and Vanye - Cherryh
- because it's nice to have the angsty, task-focused hero be female for once.
Beren and Luthien
- insane and epic derring-do


Buffy and Spike
Remington Steele and Laura

-wit, courage and gradual affection in spite of extremely unpromising appearances.

Agree completely re Megan Whalen Turner and Cotillion.
rabid_fyrefly
Jan. 20th, 2010 04:17 am (UTC)
My Favorite couples are the ones that have the most trouble with each other before they come to the realization they love one another. I adore the Darcy/Elizabeth match up! Another is Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley from Anne of Green Gables. And a third epic match is Landon and Jamie from A Walk to Remember.

Newer books couples I adore are kind of problematic in their own right. Patch and Nora from Hush, Hush. Clary and Jace from The Mortal Instruments, and the utter mushy side of me says Bella and Edward.(I had to say it... blah!)
sarahtales
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC)
I'm very fond of Clary and Jace myself. ;)
adalanne
Jan. 20th, 2010 04:39 am (UTC)
Love, as usual, and you certainly put a couple books on my "to-read" list.

I have to say, though, as I usually do when asked about thoughts on books, I turned around to my bookself and looked everything over, and realized that while I truly love a good romance in my books, I actually don't have that many that involve couples who end up together. I blame the plethora of children's books, because I'm certainly not going to say that because kids are together in a book means they'll end up together period. And heck, my favorite kids coupling is one that (to my knowledge) never came to fruition because the series stopped before they were old enough to realize the real reason behind their pranking and one-up-man-ship. So I've only got two to add that others haven't mentioned.

Donald and Timmy, from the Donald Strachey books. Granted, they are together when the first book opens, but their relationship is very seriously tested in the second, so we get some of that will-they-be-together angst. But mainly they are sweet and funny and banter together like nobody's business. And the fact that they're so wholly opposite but work in such simpatico, gah, *melts*.

Michael and Charity, from the Dresden Files. Yes they are secondary characters who appear in 4 out of 11 books, and yes they too are together long before they appear, but my god, they are amazing together. They work together so well, whether juggling the billion kids they have or fighting hoards of supernatural baddies. I love when the pov character asks Charity if she can fight, and she basically says, "My husband is the Fist of God (unofficial title). He has to fight against creatures of unimaginable strength, agility, and power. He has to practice for those fights. Who do you think he practices against?"
rockinlibrarian
Jan. 20th, 2010 03:15 pm (UTC)
And heck, my favorite kids coupling is one that (to my knowledge) never came to fruition because the series stopped before they were old enough to realize the real reason behind their pranking and one-up-man-ship.

I am very curious to know to which books/couple you refer.
(no subject) - adalanne - Jan. 20th, 2010 05:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - rockinlibrarian - Jan. 20th, 2010 10:25 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - adalanne - Jan. 20th, 2010 11:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
imagined_away
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:01 am (UTC)
Uh, like everyone else here, I love How/ and Sophie. And I've always wondered WHY he had pink hair dye in the first place.
They're just that couple everyone knows where they spend most of their time fighting but God help you should you be mean to one. The other will eat you.
..and i may have these dreams of them raising Michael, and then having babies of their own who have Howl's hair and Sophie's personality. Uhm. yeah. Good couple.

Other than that Ron/Hermione because I just love, love, love them.
And Lyra/Will. A more tragic 14 year old love there has never been. I cried at the end of the series when they couldn't be together.
And, though it will never *actually* be canon most likely. Dick/Babs (Robin I/Batgirl I) One page of a comic convinced me for life.
Oh, and this is really dumb but Kiara and Kovu from the Lion King 2 and Freddie and Sam from iCarly. Yes the teen nick show. They aren't together - yet. one day, one day.


I may love romance far too much.
aged_crone
Jan. 22nd, 2010 02:40 am (UTC)
All these fabulous literary reference, and to which one do I reply?

*What* page in *what* comic convinced you that Dick and Babs belonged together?

/mentally goes back to those Batman Family comics from the 1970's...
(no subject) - imagined_away - Jan. 22nd, 2010 04:54 am (UTC) - Expand
despez06
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:36 am (UTC)
The Thief
Thank you so much for mentioning the Attolia books in an earlier post; I've just read The Thief: it was awesome! So much love for Gen. I knew something was up most of the way through, but didn't quite realize how crazy the story was. I'm half way through it again, already. I am very excited about getting my paws on the rest of his adventures (as soon as my library realizes I've made a request).

Thank you!
kirstenfleur
Jan. 20th, 2010 05:42 am (UTC)
Agree with Elizabeth/Darcy, will put the Changeover on reserve at the library.

Current favourite couple is Mau/Daphne from The Nation by Terry Pratchett.
And they nearly could have been together forever!
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