Originally, I was planning on doing a smartass post about how to be a curmudgeon on Valentine’s, or as I like to call it, Single’s Awareness Day. I may do that yet. But, there are a lot of great romantic connections that even an incorrigible douche like us can appreciate. We haven’t limited this to any one medium, because these are our favorites. They come from film, video games and even a couple books. These are the relationships that either got us feeling nice, feeling bad or thinking about it long afterwards. Let me know in the comment’s section which fictional romances got you to think as well.
10. Tear and Luke
Tales of the Abyss
What I love most about this romance is how believably it grows. It starts off with Tear genuinely not liking Luke. She sees him as a whiny and entitled aristocrat who is too ignorant for his own good. But as the story grows and the two of them are together, she sees him grow and become so much more than he once was. The two of them are able to see past each other’s fronts and see the real person inside. There are a lot of genuinely sad moments where they have weakness and don’t want to expose it to the other. However, that just makes their growth that much more engaging. How it all ends is a REALLY big feels moment, which makes so much of the game that much better.
9. Harley and Joker
As abusive as the dynamic is between these two, there is something about the Joker and Harley’s relationship that is just so fascinating. Harley Quinn is really one of the Joker’s victims. He played on her emotions to get her to fall for him. In a lot of ways, the abusive nature of their relationship is made that much uglier because of how it started. Harley was originally an intern at Arkham Asylum, but fell for Joker because of his manipulation. She lost all her care for others and self-worth in order to be with the man who she views as everything in her world. But, unlike others, I think that there is genuinely something there. The Joker does have affection for Harley, but he is also a sociopath who goes back and forth from one madness-driven thing to another. It’s sad but it can be charming. But when it hurts, it really does as you see just how far Harley will go for her lover. It was made clearer in Arkham City, when Joker is dying. Seeing Harley falling apart, it was pretty harsh. But that was how it was always destined to go in such an unpleasant love.
8. Lelouch and CC
Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion
This was a romance that was all based in subtlety. CC was the one who gave Lelouch his geass. At first, the two have a somewhat adversarial relationship, with CC seeing Lelouch as a means to ends unknown. However, as the story progresses, you see her bonding with him, seeing his resolve and it awakening a fire inside of her that was long-since gone. Eventually, she confesses seeing him as more than a comrade. In the first series, the last interaction she has with Lelouch is kissing him, before going off to fight. She finds him again and helps him regain his memories with another kiss. From then on, they are significantly closer, but they still keep a kind of distance from one-another, due to their own histories. I like a relationship where you’re having to wonder just how far the closeness goes. This series had that in spades, with several of the main character’s relationships, ranging from romantic, friendly and even adversarial.
7. Kim and Ron
Mock this if you must, but there was a lot of authentic feeling and good examination of high school relationships in this one. How Kim and Ron got together even felt authentic. Having been a loyal friend and comrade to her exploits, Ron Stoppable was probably the best friend a person could ask for. When he finally realizes that he has feelings for Kim, it is an interesting look into his psyche as he is trying to process it. Kim initially denies her feelings for Ron, with him being a guy in the place all guys hate – the friendzone. But he is there for her when she needs him most, showing her that the best guy is right in front of her. It’s a touching moment. Plus, it makes Ron a hero for escaping the friendzone. As the series goes on and you see their relationship develop, there are a lot of good and realistic moments, despite the nature of the series. They fight, they have issues and at the end, they worry about going off to college and being apart. It was a cute little couple and it made the show that much better.
6. Zuko and Mai
Avatar: The Last Airbender
A lot of people are probably wondering why I didn’t pick Aang and Katara. It’s simple – I don’t like Katara. She’s whiny, she’s a crybaby and she isn’t that interesting of a character for the first two seasons. While I did enjoy the dichotomy of Aang being confused and frustrated with the fact that he kissed her and she doesn’t respond, it wasn’t that interesting of a relationship. Zuko and Mai, on the other hand, are a very fascinating couple. Both of them coming from very harsh upbringings, their relationship has a lot of history. Mai always had a crush on Zuko as a kid, with him being the oblivious little boy (I refuse to believe that there aren’t a few women reading this who know what that’s like). After he returned from being banished, she rekindled an old flame. What made their relationship work was how real it felt. The fights they had were intense! Their harsh moments were as engaging as their sympathetic moments. Plus, they actually had a very good break-up and reunion, with her desperate to understand why he left and still showing she cares, even though he hurt her. It was a nice dichotomy between two very introverted people.
5. Will and Lyra
His Dark Materials (series)
This relationship had some AWESOME build-up! When Will and Lyra first met, it was a very confrontational event, with Lyra charging out of a building and attacking him. From there came a very slow building of love that eventually explodes into a mountain of passion. They are very different people, with Lyra being a silver-tongued devil who is outgoing and Will being a quiet introvert who just happens to have a very quick mind underneath his outward frigid bravado. The scenes in the series when they bond are intense, with Will talking to Lyra’s daemon, Pantalaimon and conveying his feelings of a deep trust and compassion for her. She was awake and heard it all. It expanded in the third book when Will rescues her from Ms. Coulter and finally becomes full-fledged love when they get away from the battle between Lord Asriel’s forces and Heaven’s angels. They have a romance that feels like young children. They are exploding with emotion but don’t know what it all means. They have so much desire but are just kids. It’s a profound relationship and how it ends is just heart-wrenching.
4. Holland and Cece
Keeping You a Secret
It’s nice to see that there are getting to be more and more very good depictions of teenage LGBT romance on all sides. This is one such story. What I said about Will and Lyra is especially important here. Holland and Cece are young. While Cece has had some experience in dating people of the same sex, Holland hasn’t. It’s a journey of discovery for her. But there is more than that. This story also covers what can happen when a girl comes out to her parents. With Holland, it ends disastrously. This tests her relationship with Cece all the more, since there is a secret that is being kept in the story, and it is a big one. This is one of those books that will likely be forgotten in the pantheon of literature that exists right now, but it really shouldn’t be. I will never understand what it is like to be a teenage girl, especially not one who is attracted to other girls, but I like to think that this book gave me a realistic impression of what it is like. Definitely worth checking out.
3. Rachel and Tobias
This was one of the most bizarre and engaging relationships that I have ever gotten to read. This is such a woefully under-appreciated book series that really delved into what it means to be human. Case and point – the relationship between these two. Rachel is a girl who starts off as something of an adrenaline junkie. She has a dark side that grows bigger and bigger as the series goes on. Tobias is a nothlit, a person stuck in morph. He was given back his ability to morph by the Ellimist and able to acquire his human self. He is something of a mystic in the group, seeing things from a side that few people think of or take the time to acknowledge. The bond between him and Rachel starts out slow but gets stronger and stronger as both see a side to one-another than nobody else does, which makes their attraction grow that much stronger. Eventually, they become a couple, despite their handicap of a species gap between them. While it isn’t a key focus on the overall series, when it has its moments, it has them big. The scene where they kiss for the first time is so damn intense! They were one of the many odd things about a series that was about as odd as it gets.
2. Bob and Charlotte
Lost in Translation
I read an article once about how the best sex scenes in films are the ones where nobody is getting naked, and there is something to that. The romance between these two characters is subtle and profound. For real, there is a real sense of connection that Bill Murray’s and Scarlett Johansson’s characters make. Both of them, lost in a part of the world that they don’t understand, are trying to find meaning in their place in life. Bob is getting old, his marriage is rocky and his career is on somewhat of a downward spiral. Charlotte, meanwhile, is a young woman whose marriage is already falling apart, even though it’s only been three years. She is all alone in Tokyo, with her husband going off to do his job and other engagements all the time. The two are in different by very similar places, each trying to figure it all out. Their romance comes from that insecurity. The scene where they are just laying in bed and talking about their lives is so emotionally charged that when Bob runs his hand over Charlotte’s foot, it is more powerful than any sex scene in film. Another film that is woefully under-appreciated, check it out.
And the best romance that I have gotten to see is…
1. Theodore and Samantha
Man is this romance intense. What makes this work is just how good the portrayals of the characters are. Theodore is a genuine romantic who loves a woman most for her mind. Which is good because with Samantha, all she is is a mind. She is an Operating System that has an evolved AI that grows and feels and learns about the world. As she is learning more about things, so is Theo about her. The growth between them is so heart-warming because it feels real. But, of course, it also comes down to how Samantha was portrayed. There are few actresses that I would believe could portray this kind of role with the level of passion and depth that Scarlett Johansson has. She brings a kind of intimacy with her performance that I just don’t think I could have seen from anyone else. Definitely my favorite actress working today. But yeah, this romance is powerful, thanks in large part to both sides of the portrayal and the way they wrote the characters. If you haven’t seen this film, if it’s in theaters around you, do so. Once it comes on video, make sure to see it then. Trust me, you won’t regret it.
So, what are your favorite romances? Bring up Rom-Coms and I will mock you without mercy. 😛
Until next time, a quote,
“Sometimes I think I have felt everything I’m ever gonna feel. And from here on out, I’m not gonna feel anything new. Just lesser versions of what I’ve already felt.” -Theodore Twombly, Her