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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?


( 307 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jan. 21st, 2010 05:22 pm (UTC)
Hey! This post got linked to on my favorite library blog ever, Fuse#8! That's the big time, I say!
Jan. 22nd, 2010 09:45 am (UTC)
*pleased* Thank you for linking me back there. ;)
Jan. 21st, 2010 09:04 pm (UTC)
Ohoh! My favourites (what you haven't mentioned, because obviously Mr. and Mrs. Darcy ARE THE BEST OF ALL TIME) include:

Justin and Leonie from These Old Shades, Prudence and "The Mountain" from The Masqueraders both by Georgette Heyer. (I also have a thing for girls dressing as boys and having ADVENTURS with the man's knowledge and help.)

Rose and Alex from Michelle Magorian's A Little Love Song because oh! They get to know each other and that makes them fall in love! Also books and writing! They spend lots of time geeking out over books and it makes them fall in love. WHY IS THIS NOT MY LIFE?

Eddi and the Phouka from Emma Bull's War For The Oaks for almost exactly the same didn't love each other and then got to know each other and back each other up on ADVENTURS thing.

AND finally, from an entirely new book, Janni Lee Simner's Thief Eyes Haley and Ari are awesome because they spend the entire book doing things that are entirely standard and cliched in YA books, but in AWESOME DIFFERENT WAYS. It is hard to talk about the end without being all spoiler-y, but basically they take all the stupid romance tropes about ONE TRUE LOVE and turn them upside down and back to front. Entirely rocking.
Jan. 22nd, 2010 01:07 am (UTC)
I love Eddi and the Phouka!
(no subject) - aimeesworld - Jan. 25th, 2010 04:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 21st, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
Jace and Clary from The Mortal Instruments series... THE most amazing couple... And to be honest, I really liked Mae and Nick, but Mae and Alan could be Very Interesting. Cause Alan is cute, as opposed to Amazingly Hot (like Nick)so they could be the best cute couple ever!!
Also, I loved Framboise and Paul from this book called Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanna Harris... it was so sweet! And Paul and Knife from Knife.... =)
Jan. 22nd, 2010 09:47 am (UTC)
You are the first to mention my people, so now obviously you are my favourite. ;) And I totally agree on Paul and Knife from Knife! (Also very fond of Jace and Clary, but I think Will, Tessa and Jem - can't decide! - from her new book are even better!)
Jan. 22nd, 2010 03:22 am (UTC)
HAHAHA me and my friend were having a conversation about this. We like:

Yelena/Valek from Poison Study because it starts slowly and is an appreciation of the goodness in each other. Even if they annoy me in the third book a little

Danyll/Tayend in the Dark Magician's Trilogy by Trudi Canavan because OMG I squeed for days

Ron/Hermione because I loved them as a couple since book 3

Beauty and the Beast because I heart them from infancy

There are more but my brain is fried from working all week but these are a few :)
Jan. 23rd, 2010 06:45 pm (UTC)
Of books not previously mentioned, that are in my room, I have Kaede and Takeo (Lian Hearn, Tales of the Otori), Alec and Magnus (Cassandra Clare, of course) - there's been a lot of Jace/Clary love, but nobody has mentioned my favourites, Magnus is my boo forever - , Kitty Jones and Nathaniel (Jonanthan Stroud, the Bartimaeus trilogy) who I'm not sure actually get together, but they do in my SOUL, which has to count for something, and finally for now Sabriel and Touchstone from Garth Nix's Abhorsen trilogy.

Fingersmith blew my MIND at the age of twelve, it's stuck with me ever since, so it was nice to see it here!
Jan. 24th, 2010 02:47 am (UTC)
I am so pleased that you chose my two absolute favorite couples ever; Elizabeth and Darcy and Sophie and Howl. Of course now I really want to reread Pride and Prejudice for what is probably somewhere around the four-hundredth time. I almost died of laughter at your summary.
Estate. Tee-hee.
Jan. 24th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
I love your summaries more than waistcoats!
I sent the one about Cotillion to my sister because we both read all the Georgette Heyers over and over again--she wrote me back that she read it on her iPhone in the supermarket and she was laughing so hard, the manager stopped and asked her what was the matter. Sadly she has never read The Changeover so I couldn't send it to her.

Other fabulous couples: Don't forget the cinematic ones: Scarlett and Rhett, despite their extreme political incorrectness. And Nick and Norah in The Thin Man series.
Jan. 24th, 2010 10:01 pm (UTC)
I absolutely adore Howl and Sophie! I've been searching a long time for a couple with as much chemistry (for me, chemistry equals banter. The more the better!) as they have. Sadly, most books disappoint...

I love Darcy and Elizabeth, of course. I also love Knightley and Emma, though Emma can sometimes bug me as a character. All of Austen's novels are wonderful. I wish she had written more.. sigh...

You're dialogue for Kitty and Freddy was so humorous that I set out to find Cotillion at once! I finally found it, after striking out at two bookstores and all my local libraries. I'm about two-thirds of the way through it, and am loving it so far. I have midterms this week but I'm so tempted to go out and get a few of Georgette Heyer's other books... clearly I know how to prioritize.
Jan. 25th, 2010 09:40 am (UTC)
Fave couples...








Jan. 25th, 2010 03:34 pm (UTC)
Re: Fave couples...
Those ships are from, respectively, Harry Potter, Star Trek, X Philes, and Strangers in Paradise. Some pairings really did get together (Mulder&Krycek, for example) and some are all subtext (Kirk&Spock... but OH, what a subtext!) Actually, Spock&Uhura is pretty hot subtext, too.

Oh, and Walter&Astrid, from Fringe. Olivia&Peter from Fringe is good, too, as both are TRAGIC HEROES with HIDDEN HORRIFYING SECRET PASTS.

I totally agree, too, Kit&Nita from the Young Wizards series.

And... Duke & Honey, from Doonesbury! Why, oh why, didn't he ever appreciate her! WAAAHHH....
Re: Fave couples... - (Anonymous) - Jan. 26th, 2010 06:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 26th, 2010 06:55 am (UTC)

Jan. 26th, 2010 09:16 am (UTC)
I love this book! And Maureen Johnson in general.
Jan. 27th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
Lord Asriel/Mrs Coulter was my first OTP. No, really. I totally get the Lyra/Will thing (and askfkl teenage me didn't notice Will was awesome, how?), but ooh, my dear and fluffy lord -- that kiss at the end of The Golden Compass. That ending.

And, since I don't have unlimited time just at the moment, I will merely observe that if there's ever a sequel to How to Ditch your Fairy, I really NEED it to end with Charlie/Fiorenze makeouts. Fio doesn't like boys! I don't trust Steffi as far as I can throw him! Etc.!
Jan. 30th, 2010 01:47 am (UTC)

Jan. 30th, 2010 01:48 am (UTC)
I also like Alex/Magnus
Feb. 2nd, 2010 05:16 am (UTC)
How has no one mentioned Amelia Peabody and Radcliffe Emerson yet?

Go read Crocodile on the Sandbank!
Feb. 10th, 2010 02:44 am (UTC)
I have only read three of the stories mentioned here (Pride&Prejudice, Howl's, and the Attolia series), but these are awesome and hilarious. Also, your icon For The Massive Win!!!
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( 307 comments — Leave a comment )


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