Lovely Books: 10 Literary Couples I Was Actually Invested In (With Fanart!) (February 15th, 2016)

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON MY OTHER BLOG – on February 15th, 2016

Image Source: Adventure Awaits/Tracey Dyck

Well, I’m behind on reading and reviewing, so I tossed it all out the window and decided to join Tracey Dyck’s new February link-up: Lovely Books (Adventure Awaits)

This is a new link-up that goes live the Saturday of every month. Rules (very few rules) can be found here. Since Lovely Books is all about loving on books with other bloggers and bookworms, I knew I had to join in. I totally missed the first one, but the second one was, you guessed it, Valentine's Day themed.

In unintentional rebellion, I’m doing it for President’s Day.*

Looking good, George.
But, yes, favorite literary couples. I'm slightly embarrassed that I did a total mind blank on this at first. I love books and characters, but I never get that invested in romantic plots. That being said, there are some couples in fiction that were so awesome, I felt my heart clenching in concern for them.** That's some mighty fine writing, my friends. (I intentionally ruled out all manga/comic book couples, because that was easier and required less mental straining)***

Warning: Some of these might be a little spoilery (but I find that figuring out romantic plotlines is one of the easiest to do, so probably not).

There is also fanart. So enjoy! (All art is credited when possible and belongs to the artist. It is not being used for any profit/marketing/or anything other than promoting awesome artists)

1. Howl and Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle

Unfortunately, I have no idea who the artist is! 🙁 I want to credit them. Source: Tumblr
It's a testament to the late Diana Wynne Jones' writing that she made us all fall in love with someone as awful as Howl. He's a spoiled brat of a wizard, albeit a brilliant one, and his antics are too funny. On the other hand, I think Sophie is one of the great unsung heroines of literature. She's smart, sensible, and forced to spend most of the book in the (fitting) guise of an old woman. Howl really doesn't deserve her - though I defy you to not want them to end up together. This a charming fantasy that resembles Beauty and the Beast, if the Beast was attractive in looks but not behavior, and the Beauty had a beautiful spirit but was a little old woman on the outside. A must read.
Sophie proving her love – movie version

2. Eugenides (the Thief) and Irene (the Queen of Attolia)

Attolia + Attolis by annmarieri on Deviantart
In Megan Whalen Turner's The Queen's Thief series, the story of how Irene comes to respect Gen as a man and an equal is an impressive, mature look at love and relationships. And these books aren't  romances at all. They're based around a fantasy world that resembles Ancient Greece and Rome, full of intrigue, deception and lethal scheming. In the center of it all is Eugenides, the titular Thief, whose charm, wit, and quick fingers get him in and out of loads of trouble. When he starts falling in love with the powerful, proud, and disdainful Queen of Attolia, things get messy, and deadly, fast. Just read it, I don't want to give too much away.
Via Natroze on Tumblr – so funny!

3. Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing.

Love this – poster from Ali de Souza’s 2011 production
Much Ado is one of the deepest, and yet most entertaining, comedies from the Bard. If you get the chance to see it live, take it, as it's hilarious to see the action. Beatrice and Benedick are the bachelors, the confirmed singles who have sworn of love, marriage, and everything in between. Their relationship is realistic and funny, contrasted with the "love at first sight" of Hero and Claudio. My second favorite couple in Shakespeare is the Macbeths - who put the bad in badass and are scary as all get out. They're also hopelessly devoted to each other. Take that, Romeo and Juliet.
She has such a way with words, you know.

4. Sabriel and “Touchstone”  from Sabriel. 

 

 

Image Copyright: Laura Tolton

 

Image Copyright: Laura Tolton
Another pair from a book that isn't really romantic. Garth Nix's Sabriel is awesome. Sabriel is the Abhorsen, a sort of reverse necromancer that puts the dead back, as opposed to calling them up. When she's forced to take on the responsibilities of her father (the current Abhorsen), Sabriel must leave the safety of school to confront all the powers of darkness. She's a feminine, authentic girl who is  way cooler than anyone you've met, yet identifiable. She's also strong, very strong, in a quiet way that never screams "I can do anything a man can do!" Her relationship with Touchstone is believable, touching, and humorous. READ THIS BOOK. (Artist Laura Tolton has an amazing gallery with more Abhorsen related works - check it out.)

5. Kate and Christopher, from The Perilous Gard, by Elizabeth Marie Pope.

Christopher Heron by Whimsical Cow on Deviantart.com

Another book I’ve read that no one else seems to have heard of. And it’s their loss, because The Perilous Gard is one of the best YA novels ever. Really.

Kate Sutton by WhimsicalCow on Deviantart.com
It's set in 1558, and the historical accuracy makes this the most believable novel I've read about the Fae. Kate is the heroine, exiled by Queen Mary Tudor to the Perilous Gard of the title. It's an unwelcoming place, full of secretive inhabitants, including the handsome, rude, and mysterious Christopher Heron. Their relationship has a bit of the Jane Eyre-Mr. Rochester dynamic, but without all the creepiness (Christopher just acts like the type of guy who'd hide a wife in the attic, but he isn't). And there is a sad lack of fan art for this book! However, Jenn Rothwell's (Whimsical Cow) illustrations are perfect.

6. Gemma and KartikThe Sweet Far Thing (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy #3) by Libba Bray

Image Copyright Sam Schechter
I read this book a long time ago (whenever it first came out), but to be honest, the only thing I really remember is the ending - and Gemma and Kartik's characters. I always liked these two fine, but I didn't really care about their romance until, gulp, it was threatened by death and destruction and mayhem. I'll warn you, they don't get a "happy ending." But it's a beautiful finale that really proved how much they meant to each other. In other words, we had real, self-sacrificial love, that made sense, in a YA novel. Not kidding. And yes, fine, they had good chemistry and a convincing relationship too. At least, as far as I remember . . .
Dragon Fire by Leanna Crossan

7. Aerin and Luthe from The Hero and the Crown

Robin McKinley really likes her bittersweet endings. A lot. The Hero and the Crown is no exception. Somehow, her characters seem to make more adult decisions than most YA protagonists. Which means that these two do not end up together - because it would be irresponsible. Cue my twelve-year-old tears.

Yes, I really did cry for them when I was twelve. I just wanted them to be okay, you know? It doesn't affect me like this anymore (I'm all "hooray for people making the right choice instead of the romantic one"), but I still like them together. After fifteen years, it would be a shame if they weren't on this list.

There is basically zero fan art, or art at all, of either Aerin or Luthe. Sadly.

8. Luthien and Beren from the Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien

Beren, Luthien, and Huan by Steamey on Deviantart.com

Tolkien wasn’t known for romance, but is there anything more romantic than disguising as monsters to infiltrate “worse than Mordor” to steal a mystical gem from a guy who makes Sauron cower?

I didn’t think so.

Beren and Lúthien against Carcaroth by Justin Gerard
In fact, Luthien and Beren are so hardcore that they die and come back to life, mainly because Luthien is so stubborn that she refuses to lose her man after everything they've been through. It's pretty epic.(I love all of Tolkien's couples, but Luthien and Beren are definitely my favorite!). On a side note, I could probably fill about five posts with all the quality fanart of these two, so narrowing it down to just a couple pictures was hard.
Cinder by chrysalisgrey on deviantart.com

9. Kai and Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

Prince Kaito, Cinder, and Iko by Mari945
I admit that I was rooting for them just because I loved both of their characters separately.

Kai's evolution from a slightly silly prince into a seriously impressive Emperor was one of the highlights of the series. And Cinder is the sort of character I love the minute they're introduced. Practical, no-nonsense, not afraid to laugh at herself, headstrong, determined, you get it. I can relate (and I'll add that I wouldn't say no to Kai either . . .).Cute fanart aboundeth for these two.

10. Morwen and Telemain from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede

Forest Scene by chibi-oneechan on Deviant.com
(I couldn't find art I liked of these two, but I did find some gorgeous forest art that reminds me of the entire series)

If you know who Morwen and Telemain are, can we be friends? I love this quirky little fantasy series, and the whole Morwen + Telemain thing is a definite highlight. Granted, the fact that they like each other isn't confirmed until very late in the series, and it is a side thing, but it was obvious.

They're hilarious every time they interact - the ultimate odd couple in denial. She's a sensible witch with a lot of opinionated cats, and he's an absent-minded magician (not a wizard) who relies on endless theories and experiments instead of raw power. Classic.

So there you have it: 10 of My Favorite Fictional Couples

True. Love.
The trick to getting me invested is making me care so deeply about the character that I want what they want.
A good author can make you feel a little heady during a romantic scene. A great author can make your heart ache with the characters, make you want their “happy ending” for them so badly that you confuse it with your own feelings. And a brilliant author will do all of the above without you realizing it happened until it’s too late 😉

What was the last fictional couple you got invested in? Why did you care (or not care) about a fictional relationship? Do you tend to anticipate the romantic bits, or are you like me, and distracted by swordfights? Have you read any of these books? Why not?

 Footnotes:
*George and Martha approved
 **Confession time: I actually have a fictional couples themed Pinterest board.
 ***Winter Soldier + Black Widow <3

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Books I’d Like to See as Movies/TV Shows

Image Credit: Broke and the Bookish

After a week-long hiatus due to an (awesome) trip to Manhattan for Book Expo,* I am ready to get back in the ring with a Top 10 Tuesday via The Broke and the Bookish. If you haven’t already, make sure to check out their Top 10s and other features here.

I tend to be leery of book to screen adaptations, though there are really good ones out there.** Still, it’s hard for me to see beloved characters (or awesome plots) destroyed. Movies like Ella Enchanted (which would have made a great movie as is) or the 2008 Prince Caspian had me running for the hills. That being said, I love BBC miniseries adaptations (most of the time), such as the 1995 Pride and Prejudice or the 2006 Jane Eyre.*** (all gifs are from Tumblr.com, and belong to respective copyright holders)

So here are the Top 10 books I’d like to see hit the screen (in varying degrees of detail):

1. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexander Dumas) as a BBC miniseries

There is a movie of this that lots of people love. I read the book first, so I was pretty disappointed. It’s an epic (read: long) adventure/revenge novel that was practically written for TV. Duels, honor, Betrayal, daring escapes, vengeance, and lots of characters. The BBC’s stellar casting, sets, costumes, and attention to detail are a perfect fit. With the right actor as Edmond Dantes, it could be a cult classic.

2. The Lunar Chronicles (Marissa Meyer) as an anime (or movies)

As Sailor Moon was one of Meyer’s biggest inspirations, it would be fitting for her Lunar Chronicles to go the anime route. Can’t you just see New Beijing as an anime city? With the right group of artists and writers, this could be an awesome cross-cultural phenomenon. Everything from the characters to the futuristic world would translate so well. And seriously, Prince Kai’s fan club was meant for anime—->

3. The Dante Club (Matthew Pearl) as a movie or miniseries

Tell me I’m not the only one who wants to see Longfellow and his literary cronies solve murders connected to Dante’s Inferno? Cast a group of brilliant actors, and sell it as the murder mystery/costume drama that you didn’t know you needed. I think it would be awesome. I haven’t seen an old school straight-up murder mystery on the big screen in awhile (there might be one, I just didn’t see it).

4. The Others Series (Anne Bishop) as a miniseries

I have gushed about these books other places, so I’ll just say that now is the perfect time for a serious urban fantasy/political thriller fusion. Meg Corbyn is such a kind, unique heroine, and the world of Namid is fascinating and brimming with great material. And who doesn’t want to see Howling Good Reads as a tv set? With a vampire and a Wolf manning the counter? And Tess, Tess would be a great TV character. Actually, they all would. (You can read an excerpt of this book here

5. The Queen’s Thief Series as a Miniseries

Roman/Greek inspired mythology, politics, adventure, costly mistakes, awesome characters, and at the center, cheeky thief Eugenides. I think you could split each of the books into segments and air them in groups of three. Irene and Gen, when played by the right actors, could be one of those pairs that keeps everyone watching on the edge of their seats. (One of those will they end up getting married or getting executed things)


6. Sabriel (Garth Nix) as a movie

Another book I have yakked on ad nauseam. Sabriel has everything: fantasy, anti-necromancers, a world of decaying grandeur, slow-burning romance, and most importantly, a strong and logical heroine who wears practical clothes and is more worried about saving her dad than getting the guy. The Old Kingdom would be epic on the big screen.

7. Crown Duel/Court Duel (Sherwood Smith) as movies

Described as “a fantasy of manners,” this book (my edition was one volume) is one of my favorite pick me up reads. It’s a little Scarlet Pimpernel, a little Pride and Prejudice, and some general silliness (and the fan language!). There are pokes at fantasy tropes, and manners madness, and adventures. It would make a great movie (or two) for those days when you are tired of “dark, gritty, realism.”
Image Credit

8. Neverwhere (Neil Gaiman) as a movie

There is an excellent radio adaptation of this book, with a cast that should have been grabbed for an actual movie. James McAvoy as Richard. Natalie Dormer as Door. Sophie Okonedo as Hunter. And Benedict Cumberbatch as The Angel Islington. At the very least, seek out the audiobook and imagine it as you listen. So good.

9. The Two Princesses of Bamarre (Gail Carson Levine) as a movie

TPoB is actually my favorite book of Gail Carson Levine’s. I discovered it on one of those family vacations (the ones where you’re supposed to participate instead of reading) and fell in love with the story of two sisters. The fantasy world is lovely, but it is really Addie and Meryl’s relationship that makes this book so special. Addie, with her hard won courage and terror of spiders, always struck me as such a real girl. I think that (in the right hands), this could be made into a classic fantasy movie. There are some great fan-casting pics here at iflist.com
Image Credit

10. The Monster Blood Tattoo series as a miniseries/movies.

Sort of steampunk series that has Dickens vibes and awesome characters. It would be a cool miniseries, as long as the (many) monsters were well done. However, the whole thing would really hinge on the actors playing Rosamund and his mentor Europe. Europe is a little ex-society girl, a little Natasha Romanoff, and all boss-so you’d have to have a great actress with just the right balance of edge and superiority. Rosamund would be best suited by a pale English waif with phenomenal acting powers. I could just see all the quirky other characters as famous cameos. Maybe Guillermo Del Toro could achieve the mixture of dark, sober, and whimsical necessary?

Close contenders: Rot & Ruin, The Silmarillion (not the whole thing though! I think Beren and Luthien’s story would make an epic miniseries), Artemis Fowl (which they’ve been talking about forever), The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Sorcery and Cecelia, Captain Blood (yeah, I know there’s an Errol Flynn one, but I want a reboot with Orlando Bloom as Peter Blood!), and every single Marvel comic with the Winter Soldier (Black Widow too).****

So is there any book you’d really like to see come to life? Do movie adaptations of your favorites scare you too? Are you better at casting book/movies than me? (Probably, I’m terrible). Sound off in the comments

Footnotes:
*BEA post to come, promise!
**The Princess Bride is a perfect example of the book-to-movie adaptation.
***Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell would have been on this list if it wasn’t already a miniseries. Which I can’t watch until the BBC lets us have it!
****Speaking of comics-they tend to adapt better. Netflix’s Daredevil is my new favorite thing. So. Well. Done.