Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Our Favorite Literary Romances

Some of the best romantic pairings have come from literature. As fangirls, the written word has often been a refuge for us, and reading about our favorite characters finding love can be a beautiful experience. In our third collab of the month, we share a few of our favorites.

(If you see a blank space, it's probably a spoiler. Highlight it to read.)

Izzy Stevenson

Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks

From the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Lupin (left) and Tonks (right). Illustration by Mary GrandPre.

I’ve always been a fan of characters who you would never expect to be a couple, but at the same time feel perfectly matched. When I first started shipping Lupin and Tonks at the start of Order of the Phoenix, I expected my OTP to be considered a crack ship. He was older, calm, and shy; she was youthful, outgoing, and rebellious. But I couldn’t help it. Something about it just felt right. You can imagine my surprise when the author revealed she also apparently felt they belonged together. Tonks and Lupin may have had some rocky patches in their relationship, to say the least; but to me, they’ll always be my miracle ship that became canon against all odds.

Marianne Dashwood and Colonel Brandon 
From Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Illustration of Col. Brandon visiting Marianne by C.E. Brock.

At the start of Sense and Sensibility, you would never think of pairing Marianne and Colonel Brandon. They young woman is frivolous and highly emotional, with her head in the clouds, and doesn’t think too highly of the calm and somber older man. Colonel Brandon on the other hand has fallen deeply in love with Marianne, though his dream of earning her heart seems hopeless. But as time goes on, and Brandon reveals more of his inner character, we see a depth of emotion inside of him that only Marianne can match. 

Sophie and Howl
From Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

The cover of the audio book for Howl’s Moving Castle

Sophie and Howl are, at the same time, the most lovable and most incorrigible people. Howl is independent, chaotic; and despite secretly being brave and kind, he has set himself up as a coward and a dangerous villain. Sophie is structured, bossy, clumsy, and refuses to stop interfering in Howl’s life even when her help consistently results in disaster. Needless to say, the two can’t stand each other or get enough of each other. Normally I’m not a huge fan of love/hate relationships, but it just works so well with them. Oh, and Sophie is also cursed to look like an old woman and needs Howl’s help to turn back into her normal self. As you can imagine, the resulting tale is both hilarious and endearing.

Jaime Heller

Ah, so many choices. Narrowing down all the possibilities to two or three is a lot harder than it looks!

Here are my recent favorites that just won’t leave my heart alone:

Luca and Lia from the River of Time Series (Lisa T. Bergren): These two. Oh my heart. I might be completely biased because Luca swept me off his feet as he swept Lia off her feet. What a heartthrob. But I feel that these two crazy kids balance each other and complement each other. Luca can make her laugh; and she stuns him with every action she makes. Talk about swoon-worthy.

Cress and Throne from the Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Meyer): As much as I adore the other couples in the Lunar Chronicles (Scarlet and Wolf are a close second), my heart skips with joy when I think about Cress and Captain Carswell Throne. Cress is adorable with her hugecrush and fangirling over him; and Thorne is just the type of sly, charming man to make anybody happy. While I’m not sure how they’ll romance story will end up, my fingers are crossed that they do end up together. Because deep down—past his snarky scoundrel-ness—I think Thorne cares about Cress (or maybe that’s me hoping he cares for her).

Special BROTP mentions: Legolas and Gimli (obviously from Lord of the Rings), Liesel and Max (from The Book Thief), Lucy Pevensie and Mr. Tumnus (obviously from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe).

Mirriam Neal

For some reasons, it’s harder for me to have a book OTP than it is to have an OTP from a TV show or  even a book-to-movie series. When I DO have a book OTP, it tends to be pretty unpopular (and sometimes blatantly illogical but WHO CARES, they have CHEMISTRY). So I hunkered down and came up with a proper list of the OTPs that wrecked my life.

art by Loki-Ellahell
Katniss Everdeen and Finnick Odair (The Hunger Games)

I know. I know. Everyone adores Finnick/Annie and Katniss/Peeta or Katniss/Gale. And I’ll admit, Finnick/Annie are beautiful and I love that pairing – but honestly, this is one of those ‘yeah, I know it doesn’t happen and yean, I know there’s no reason for me to ship this except I DO, DAGNABBIT’ OTPs. They’re both tributes and both emotionally damaged, suffering from PTSD and the loss of loved ones. They’re both emotionally needy even though they try to act as if they aren’t. They’re both selfless and have courage and skill in spades. They have beautiful chemistry (especially in the movies)…and so Katniss and Finnick (Kinnick? Finniss?) remain a sad, doomed, beautiful OTP close to my heart.

Gwindor and Finduilas (The Silmarillion)

He loves her. She doesn’t love him. He dies. I still can’t talk about it.

Rica Wiersema

(Spoilers present in white text: highlight to read.)

1. Ella of Frell and Prince Charmont of Kyrria

Book: Ella Enchanted

     Despite the horrendous mess of a movie that Miramax tried to create in 2004, this book was still one of my favorite fantasy reads growing up because it thoroughly fleshed out the originally-shallow legend of Cinderella (which I normally dislike, I might add. I would love to go into detail about why the movie Ever After is the best film adaptation of the Cinderella myth, but this is about book OTPs, so that's a tale for another time).

     Not only did Ella Enchanted allow the romance between Ella and Charming to start early and grow naturally, but it also included a phenomenal plot twist by placing Ella under an spell/curse of obedience to any and all commands. The breaking of the curse is one of the most romantic and beautiful moments of fairytale magic I’ve ever read… so of course, the movie horrifically changed it.

     In the book, Charmont eventually gets down on one knee and, unaware of the curse, says simply, “Marry me, Ella.” Though he didn’t mean it to be, it was an order… and one that Ella did want to follow. But she knew that if any of his enemies were ever to find out about the curse, they could force her to put him and the kingdom in danger — perhaps even murder Charmont. Because of this, she knew that she couldn't marry her true love and childhood friend at any cost, so she stood rooted to the spot and was put through horrific pain for trying to resist the spell… but at last she was able to put her foot down and shout, “NO! I WILL NOT MARRY YOU!”

With the spell broken, she’s at last able to run around the house, cheering and yelling over and over, “I won’t marry you!” to the confusion of many, many people… but of course, now that the curse is no longer a threat to Charmon’t safety, she’s free to marry him and live happily forever afterwards.

     The breaking of the curse in the book is such a phenomenal portrayal of a selfless love that so many people overlook in romance… and it’s so much better than the film adaptation. But it’s hard to understand unless you read for yourself.

2. Podo Helmer and Gwendolyn Igiby

Book[s]: The Monster In the Hollows, Book III of The Wingfeather Saga

     Frankly, where do I begin with these two? Half of their story wouldn’t even make sense without having read the entire series, and the other half of their story is practically wrought with major spoilers. Their entire romance is told as a flashback, in the third book of a four-book saga. But I’ll do my best:

     Podo Helmer was a largely self-made man who ran away from home to grow up as a thief in the East Bend of Skree. He spent much of his adult life as a peg-legged pirate of Symia, doing many things that he would eventually come to regret in his later years.

     One day when he came to the port city of Ban Rona, he saw a most beautiful woman and left the sea forever… but their story isn’t near as simple as that.

As it turns out, that beautiful woman had a pretty ugly personality, and during their courtship he fell in love with her gentle, homely housemaid Gwendolyn instead. However, to prove his love for Gwendolyn, he had to take a historic beating from the very closed-off, rough-and-tumble inhabitants of the Green Hollows.

     But in the end, Podo earned Gwendolyn’s hand. The wild pirate was slowly tamed by the plain young lady from Ban Rona, and she introduced him to a world of honor and selfless love for family that he hadn’t known growing up. Also, their daughter went on to marry the High King of Anneria.

     But then Gwendolyn was lost to battle when the great nameless evil, Gnag the Nameless, invaded from the east and attempted to destroy every kingdom in his path. Podo then became the central protector of his three grandchildren… particularly his pint-sized granddaughter Leeli, who sang like a songbird and had a lame leg just like him. She and her mother were the only pieces of Gwendolyn that he had left.

     Podo went on to guide his family through battles and betrayals as a wild-but-wizened old man, fighting to his last breath to keep his family safe… all because of the love that one woman taught him about all those years ago.

Sarah Munson

My truest OTP is me with a book. Yup. That right there is true love. Within the pages of countless novels, though, I’ve found so many couples to fall in love with. I could probably write my own book filled with my favorite fictional pairs, and all the reasons I ship them.

When I got Agent Sky’s email saying we were doing a collaborative post on book OTP’s, I was giddy, and also a little overwhelmed. There are so many good books, with so many stellar couples! How could I choose? I have at last narrowed my choices down to a couple of couples. (Which is my ridiculous way of saying I’ve selected two couples to talk about.)

The first is one from my favorite book series, the River of Time by Lisa T. Bergren. If you read my Valentine’s Day link-up post, you know where this is going. Yes, I am once again talking about Lia and Luca. I really tried to stop myself from picking them again, but what can I say? Luca and Lia are right at the top of my OTP scale. They instantly have a spark, but they know how to be friends first. They’re at ease with one another, and spend many scenes teasing and bantering. When Lia and Luca are together, laughter is often present. Yet they know how and when to be serious, and their mutual understanding is perhaps more attractive than their shared sense of humor. Each deeply trusts and respects the other; even when they disagree or fight, they don’t attack the other person’s weaknesses. I love that no matter what they face, these two are more than romantic partners; they are an enduring team. Also, when I was struggling to come up with a “celebrity” couple name for Lia and Luca for the link-up, Jaime came to my rescue and christened the pair Evangeluca. I think it’s perfect, just as Luca and Lia are for one another.

My second couple is more famous, being from one of the best-selling series of all time. I fully ship Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley. I was cheering for Ginny from the moment she arrived at Hogwarts, though I was glad she and Harry don’t become romantically involved until the latter part of the series. Both have very strong, somewhat stubborn personalities. They’re fighters, brave even when they don’t want to be, and deeply devoted. Their connection to one another is far stronger than simple romance. They’re united in their values, experiences, and even some struggles. Harry and Ginny first get to know one another without the pressure of a relationship, so when they do eventually start going together, each already understands the other’s strengths and weaknesses. They look out for one another, making sacrifices and hard choices, even giving up their budding love for a time. Ginny and Harry do not have a smooth road, but overcoming every obstacle ultimately brings them closer together. And despite all the dark times, they still have fun together and know how to cheer one another up. Theirs is a love that grows gradually, continues steadfastly, and lasts eternally.

Sky Destrian

While I tend to ship people more in movies or TV shows, there are a couple book couples that have stolen my heart. 

1. Augustus Waters & Hazel Grace Lancaster
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Move over, Romeo and Juliet. This is the heartbreaking OTPs to end all OTPs. It really hit me how much I shipped them when I watched the movie. The way they connect and become deeper friends, then fall in love, is so beautiful. 

I related a lot to Hazel Grace--her quietness, her hesitancy to fall in love. Augustus is one of the sweetest boys. The way he cares for Hazel, even though she resists at first, is so beautiful. He reads Hazel Grace's favorite book and falls just as in love with it as she is, then takes her to Amsterdam so that they can find out the true ending.

If you are somehow unspoiled by the ending of this book and haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it. Then go watch the movie. There will be tears.

2. Sam & Grace
The Shiver Trilogy by Maggie Stiefvater

(Heads up, I haven't read Linger and Forever yet.)

I read Shiver last month and fell head over heels in love. With the prose, yes, but also the main couple, Sam and Grace.

These two complete each other. Sam is an a sensitive, artistic boy, and Grace is pragmatic, good with numbers and figures. It shouldn't work, but it really does. Their slow descent into love is one of the most beautiful things I've read in a long time, and when they finally admitted to each other that they loved each other, my shipper's heart was completely happy. I look forward to reading the sequels. You'll be hearing more from me about it, I'm sure.

What are your book OTPs? Tell us below in the comments!


  1. Beren and Luthien from the Silmarillion. Mine heart. <3

  2. Somebody mentioned the wingfeather saga! Woot! I am so happy!

  3. Favorite Book OTPs? Too many to list. Taren and Eilonwy (sp?) from the Chronicles of Prydain, Frank and Helen/Cor and Aravis from the Chronicles of Narnia, Eowyn and Faramir, Arwen and Aragorn and Rosie and Sam from Lord of the Rings

    1. Those are fantastic OTPs! I too love Arwen and Aragorn, Frank and Helen, Cor and Aravis, and Rosie and Sam! They're all so adorable--perfect ship material. :)