The Lit Lists series is where I write posts based on prompts from the book Literary Listography by Lisa Nola, published by Chronicle Books.
Who doesn’t love a good romance? These couples all warm my heart and make me smile; give me something to aspire to in my life and restore my faith in people when I’m feeling less than perfect.
Molly and Arthur Weasley, from
the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
I cannot tell you how much I love these two. My absolute favourites – their marriage and their family is not perfect, perhaps, but it is bursting with love. They are not perfect people and they have difficult circumstances, but they make it work. They do the work of keeping on for the people they love without ever making it seem like a chore. As parents, they support their kids as best they know how, partially adopt their children’s friends, absorb half the members of the anti-Voldemort movement into their house more than once. They fulfill everything Harry needs which Hogwarts doesn’t offer – not just the sense of belonging, but the sense of family, of being loved and wanted; of having a place in the wizarding world when he leaves Hogwarts, somewhere to go that isn’t school. The image of Mrs Weasley’s kitchen clock which tells her where everybody is, which she carries from room to room once the war gets serious, the idea of her boggart in Grimmald Place, her scream at Bellatrix in the final battle, beside Arthur’s insatiable curiosity, his love for all things muggle, and despite it all, a serious lack of understanding sometimes, and the absolute determination they both share to always make the most and approach to everything they do have is so much more important than what they don’t… However cross they get, with each other, with the world around them, they make it through and love each other more, because at the base of every decision they make is Dumbledore’s favourite antidote – love.
I could go on about these two forever, and I think I’ve made it almost embarrassingly obvious how much I adore them, so I think it might be time to move on…!
Ruth and Idgie from
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fanny Flagg
I have yet to meet someone who has read this book before I told them about it, but I’m going to keep talking because I love it so much. I struggled to pick just one couple from this book as well – George and Onzell are also fantastic – but Ruth and Idgie have to win. They save each other, repeatedly, and not just in a spiritual or emotional sense. They form a heart for their community in their cafe and are each others’ strength. These two women are individually spectacular, strong, interesting characters, and their relationship, through all its forms, is beautiful.
Wither thou goest I will go, wither thou lodgest I will lodge. Thy people shall be my people. From the Book of Ruth, King James Bible
If you take any reading recommendation from this post (though I’d strongly recommend every one of these books) I would put Fried Green Tomatoes ahead.Whether you read the book (very worth it) or go for the very good film adaptation with Kathy Bates, it’s a story that has so, so much power to touch your heart and make you alight with wonder at the complicated, weird, messed up, beautiful world humans have made ourselves, and how absolutely gorgeous things can be when people cling to each other in all the madness and say – come on. Let’s figure it out together.
Elinor Dashwood and Edward Ferrars from
Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a rebuff to Lizzie and Mr Darcy – but I have a lot of affection for this Austen relationship where all the drama is in the circumstances, not the couples’ affections. Edward and Elinor like each other immediately, and that is always the case. They don’t go through a rollercoaster of gossip and changing opinion about each other, but start out with approval and maintain that through all the upset they endure. There’s obviously something compelling in the story about two people who hate each other initially and end up completely besotted, because it’s the plot of many, many a romance through several hundred years, but the steady affection of these two makes me so happy. I never fail to cry when watching the adaptation(s) or reading the book when finally Edward can be honest about everything. I’ve also always believed very strongly in the reality and practicality of their life together post-book – the day to day mundanities as well as the wonderful relationship at the centre of it, which gives me a huge amount of affection for their story.
Image from the 2008 BBC mini-series, which is actually my favourite adaptation (much as I love Emma Thompson!)
Noah Sweetwine and Brian Connelly from
I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
How could anyone resist these boys… the ‘flood in a paper cup’ and the boy with a bag of meteorites, the boy who wants to be the blue in the sky and the one scanning them at night through his telescope. They’re the best of friends and they’re a lot more than friends, and prejudice and fear puts so much in danger. You can read my original review of I’ll Give You the Sun here. I still have so much adoration for this book and these characters. I’ve plenty of affection for Jude and Oscar too, of course – I think one of the brilliant draws about this book (as long as you like the writing style, because it is unique) is that you get two such fully-formed protagonists who are so similar and yet completely distinct from each other. Personally though, I connect with Noah’s experiences more – and his relationship with Brian makes me incredibly happy. They might be young when they meet, but I love how gently and honestly Jandy Nelson navigates their early-teens feelings of attraction and figuring it all out. All of their interactions tread a soft line of friends or something other than friends which makes me smile endlessly.
Credit for the amazing fanart above to stefkcm on tumblr!
I could, I’m sure you can tell, witter on about these gorgeous characters for a very, very long time… but my recommendation right now would be that you read any one of these books, and maybe fall in love with them just as much as I have.