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Day 5: Favorite Fictional Relationship (Romantic or Otherwise)

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Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (emmadeploresgoodreadscensorship) | 103 comments Mod
Be it romantic, platonic, familial, collegial, adversarial…. what is a character relationship in fiction that you really enjoyed reading about?

My favorite romance remains Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier – a lovely forbidden romance between two strong characters, with a woman who is absolutely capable of rescuing her man.

For fictional friendships, oddly given my reading tastes, a great male example comes to mind more easily than a female one. Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin in the Aubrey/Maturin series (beginning with Master and Commander) have a complicated and interesting friendship that forms the backbone of the whole naval saga. Granted I get tired of series in general and felt the author had done everything he could reasonably do with these characters after three books (out of 21 I believe), but that’s still pretty good from my perspective.

I'm struggling to think of a similar female example with two friends having adventures together. The most complex and interesting female friendship I can think of in fiction is in Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels, starting with My Brilliant Friend, though this is a more literary example, which inevitably involves a pretty flawed relationship (the books are way better than the titles and awful covers would have you believe though!).


message 2: by Melindam (last edited May 24, 2020 12:22AM) (new)

Melindam | 162 comments Love the question Emma AAAAND I'm not going to state the obvious pair for me, THAT would be too predictable. 😉

FRIENDSHIP:
In one of my favourite sword-and-sorcery series, The Twelve Houses bySharon Shinn, what made the 5 main books unforgettable was the strong friendship among the 6 main characters. They start on a journey, suspicious of each other (in most cases) and the relationship and the whole process of it being forged is simply wonderful to behold. It goes from strength to strength and never gets overshadowed by each of the characters' finding their love interests. AWESOME.

LOVE:

- Classics: Bettina Vanderpoel & Fergus Mount Dunstan from The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett deserve a place in the Hall of Fame for Literary Couples. (Still wondering which actresses/actors might do them justice.) I read this novel last year and while it was far from perfect, it made a lasting impression on me and I'm planning to re-read it soon.
The story in a nutshell: an ingenue American "Dollar Princess" marries a dissipated, cunning British Aristocrat. She is bullied and manipulated to the point of losing her identity and cutting ties with her family overseas. After 10 years her younger sister (Betty Vanderpoel) is determined to re-establish the connection, comes to Britain. She is not afraid to pick-up the pieces and in trying to help her sister gets into a psychological war of the wills with her creepy brother-in-law. She meets another impoverished Aristocrat (Fergus M-D), but cut from a widely different cloth. Fergus is very proud and looks with contempt on the fellow-peers who marry American heiresses. The development of Betty's/Fergus' relationship is intriguing and there is something almost metaphysical about it (not your average Victorian romance).

If anyone is interested, a free copy can be downloaded from Project Gutenberg.

Fantasy
- Samuel Vimes and Lady Sybil Ramkin from Terry Pratchett's Discworld
- Zoe Lalindar & Darien Serlast from Troubled Waters by Sharon Shinn. 2 strong individuals with a fantastic relationship-dynamism that's on more levels than romance.

Friendship - professional relationship:
- Samuel Vimes and Lord Vetinari from Discworld. I just love their relationship! :)


message 3: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 113 comments Melindam wrote: "Love the question Emma AAAAND I'm not going to state the obvious pair for me, THAT would be too predictable. 😉

FRIENDSHIP:
In one of my favourite sword-and-sorcery series, The Twelve Houses by[au..."

I’m writing down all the books you name! Thank you again and again. Sword and sorcery! I can’t wait!


message 4: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 113 comments Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship wrote: "Be it romantic, platonic, familial, collegial, adversarial…. what is a character relationship in fiction that you really enjoyed reading about?

My favorite romance remains [book:Son of the Shadow..."


I love all the questions you are asking. They make my mind stir and wake up. But this is one of the very best questions I’ve ever been asked.


message 5: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments Gogol, I wholeheartedly recommend "The Twelve Houses" series as well as the book "Troubled Waters" which is a favourite of mine with fantastic worldbuilding, great characters, political intrigue & a romance that is pretty much in the background, but still great. :)


message 6: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 113 comments Melindam wrote: "Gogol, I wholeheartedly recommend "The Twelve Houses" series as well as the book "Troubled Waters" which is a favourite of mine with fantastic worldbuilding, great characters, political intrigue & ..."

And the Shuttle! I now completely understand how deliriously happy squirrels must feel when hoarding hazelnuts.


message 7: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments :D
Gogol, leave out the 0.5 (Quatrain) & 1.5 books (The queen in winter) from The 12 Houses series, you don't need to read those at all.


message 8: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 113 comments I will, thank you.


message 9: by Two Envelopes And A Phone (last edited May 24, 2020 08:20AM) (new)

Two Envelopes And A Phone I love the working relationship, and friendship, between K2 (Inspector Kristiansen) and Patricia in Hans Olav Lahlum’s “K2” mystery series. The first book is The Human Flies; my favourites so far are Satellite People and The Catalyst Killing - but I’ve enjoyed all the books. Lahlum was inspired at least in part by Agatha Christie, but the Patricia/K2 duo seems more a throwback to Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin.


message 10: by Ange H (last edited May 24, 2020 06:14AM) (new)

Ange H | 47 comments I love this question, Emma!

P.G. Wodehouse - Bertie and Jeeves. Bertie Wooster and his faithful butler Jeeves are a source of joy for me. Bertie is a self-professed idiot, but there's no ridiculous situation he can get into that Jeeves can't extract him from.

Tim Dorsey - Serge and Coleman. Serge Storms is an eccentric character who loves Florida, and basically drives around the state having adventures. He is also a serial killer. Now, before you get all judgey, he only kills people that really deserve it. And he's funny as hell. Coleman is his perpetually stoned sidekick.

Lilian Jackson Braun- Qwill, Koko and YumYum. James Qwilleran is an accidental billionaire who lives in a small rural town in an unspecified state "north of everywhere." His eccentric little corner of the world is surprisingly full of crime and murder, and he helps the police solve them. Koko and YumYum are his siamese cats. They run his life.


message 11: by Ange H (new)

Ange H | 47 comments Melindam wrote: "Love the question Emma AAAAND I'm not going to state the obvious pair for me, THAT would be too predictable. 😉..."

Melinda, I replied before reading the other posts and I swear to you those EXACT SAME words went through my head!

Also, thanks for the tip, can't wait to read "The Shuttle!"


message 12: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments Ange, Gogol! Let me know when you are reading/have read it. Your opinion will be much appreciated! I am planning to read it again, so if you want, we can make a buddy-read. :)


message 13: by Ange H (new)

Ange H | 47 comments Melindam wrote: "Ange, Gogol! Let me know when you are reading/have read it. Your opinion will be much appreciated! I am planning to read it again, so if you want, we can make a buddy-read. :)"

I would love that! 😊


message 14: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments Say "when".


message 15: by Mark (new)

Mark (kilimaro) | 20 comments Two friendships that come to mind:

From Lonesome Dove, Gus and Woodrow, and from Gone with the Wind, Scarlett and Melanie.

I think what I find fascinating about these is how the friendships endure even as they are tested - in the case of Scarlett and Melanie, usually because of something Scarlett has done, but still. My enduring memory of GWTW, more than anything to do with Scarlett and Rhett, is the humanizing influence Melanie has on Scarlett.


message 16: by Ange H (new)

Ange H | 47 comments Mark wrote: "...My enduring memory of GWTW, more than anything to do with Scarlett and Rhett, is the humanizing influence Melanie has on Scarlett. ..." That's a really interesting point, and true for me too! [I have to admit I read the book so long ago, this opinion is much more influenced by these characters as portrayed in the movie. I recently got a chance to see it again, in a beautiful old restored movie palace, on the big screen as it's meant to be seen!]


message 17: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments What a great example Mark! I loved the relationship bw Melanie & Scarlet.


message 18: by Henk (new)

Henk | 35 comments Hermione and Harry in the Harry Potter series comes to mind, just as very good friends through thick and thin


message 19: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments Ah, I forgot to list the sci-fi genre. Another great example of a working relationship turning to Friendship is between the AI construction Murderbot and beween "his humans", a group of scientists he is contracted to protect. And between Murderbot and a Tramsport-AI-Bot ART (Asshole Research Transport)


Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship (emmadeploresgoodreadscensorship) | 103 comments Mod
The movies really did wonders for Hermione and Harry, since the actors had such great chemistry. In the books, I found Harry and Ron's friendship very believable, but struggled with the notion that Hermione would spend all her time hanging out with these boys with whom she didn't seem to have much in common, at least not in a spending-all-your-free-time-together kind of way. Harry and Ron have their common sports interests and similar attitudes toward life and the people around them, while Hermione largely seemed to me in the books to put up with them because of their adventures and because she's kind of lousy at making friends.

Scarlett and Melanie - that is a good one! There's so much tension there just around whether Scarlett is going to hurt Melanie and whether Melanie is ever going to realize how awful Scarlett truly is. (Of course by our standards Melanie is pretty awful herself for her racist views, which makes her position as the moral center of the novel a complicated one.)

I'm glad you all are enjoying the questions! :)


message 21: by Gogol (last edited May 24, 2020 10:54AM) (new)

Gogol | 113 comments Melindam wrote: "Ange, Gogol! Let me know when you are reading/have read it. Your opinion will be much appreciated! I am planning to read it again, so if you want, we can make a buddy-read. :)"

I have to figure out a way to get the books first, we are heavily sanctioned and transactions are a bit complicated these days. Even something as simple as buying a book! You guys go ahead and maybe later on we could all discuss them together?


message 22: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments Gogol, are you allowed access to the Project Gutenberg site? This book can be downladed for free in kindle or pdf format.


message 23: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments And many other classics accessible the same way.


message 24: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 113 comments I have thought a lot about the relationships I really like in fiction, and I have a feeling that I’m missing a few important ones. I love the relationship between the MC’s in “ain’t she sweet”, By Suzanne Elizabeth Phillips : Sugar Beth and Colin, I love the relationship between Heathcliff and Catherine, they understood each other on a symbiotic level, if I’m making sense? I love the relationship between the MC’s in Georgette Heyer’s These old shades and Frederica and a few other of her titles, But I’m not sure they should make the list. I love the relationship between Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. As a whole I love the character of Tom Sawyer.) I love the relationship dynamics that Ilona Andrews build every single time between almost all of their MC’s, with the exception of the edge series in which I only liked the relationship in Bayou Moon. ( I liked the other books but this one stood out) I can say the same about all the relationships written by Loretta Chase, her Lord Perfect especially springs to mind. I love Mr. Knightly and Emma in Emma. I agree with Ange re Jeeves and Bertie, they single handedly saved me from going insane during the first month of the quarantine. I also agree with Mark about Melanie’s influence on Scarlet. The thing is, I can’t think of the adversaries I’ve liked the most, my mind draws a blank whereas I KNOW that there has been at least one instance that I felt the relationship between the adversaries made the whole book. So I’m afraid I shall have to add to this list gradually. Because there are many other instances that I think should have made this list that I’m forgetting.


message 25: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 113 comments Melindam wrote: "And many other classics accessible the same way."

Oh the Shuttle! I thought you and Ange meant to to read the Twelve Houses. I would love to do a buddy read. Just let me know when and how to go about it.

Ok Melindam, funny story: I just checked Troubled Waters, and I now realise why Sharon Shinn’s name sounded so familiar! It’s because I’ve read this book and given it five stars! I saw the cover and remembered. I also seem to have read another book of hers named Archangel which I disliked so much that I rated it one star. I can’t, for the life of me, remember the book though.


message 26: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments Gogol wrote: "Melindam wrote: "And many other classics accessible the same way."

Oh the Shuttle! I thought you and Ange meant to to read the Twelve Houses. I would love to do a buddy read. Just let me know when..."


I haven't read her Samaria books - not very keen on the angel-subgenre. :)

But I am glad you liked Troubled Waters even if you don't remember it. :D


message 27: by Melindam (last edited May 25, 2020 01:25AM) (new)

Melindam | 162 comments Gogol wrote: And the Shuttle! I now completely understand how deliriously happy squirrels must feel when hoarding hazelnuts..."

Just found this image and I could not resist! :)

description


message 28: by Gogol (new)

Gogol | 113 comments Melindam wrote: "Gogol wrote: "Melindam wrote: "And many other classics accessible the same way."

Oh the Shuttle! I thought you and Ange meant to to read the Twelve Houses. I would love to do a buddy read. Just le..."


No, I meant that I can’t remember what the Archangel book was about, but that when I saw the cover for troubled waters I remembered it, and remembered that I’d really liked it. I really love the elemental power trope, and I remember liking how realistic she tried to make that world appear.


message 29: by Melindam (new)

Melindam | 162 comments Gogol wrote: "Melindam wrote: "Gogol wrote: "Melindam wrote: "And many other classics accessible the same way."

Oh the Shuttle! I thought you and Ange meant to to read the Twelve Houses. I would love to do a bu..."


Even better!! 😉


message 30: by Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) (last edited May 29, 2020 03:22AM) (new)

Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) | 76 comments Friendship: A Summer to Die. I read this back when it first came out and I was the MC's age. Forgot about it for decades, then remembered it and couldn't remember either the title or the author's name. Found it last year or so and it was just the same, like visiting the family I never had. I love the relationship between the MC and the "hippies", the old man...and eventually her own parents.

I need to think about "romantic" relationships, as the Mr Knightley in the movie is not the Mr Knightley we see in the book of Emma. Let me get back to you on that one.

Oddly, I do like the relationships of all kinds in Vanya on 42nd Street which is simply a newish, literal translation of Uncle Vanya. But then it's my favourite play/book ever. Chekov was a century before his time, and there's a quote in it for every occasion.


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