Top Ten Tuesday: Favourite Siblings in Books

(I'm linking up with Top Ten Tuesday at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week the topic is platonic relationships - I went with siblings, but you could also check out my favourite fictional friendships   and favourite literary female friendships.)

Sibling relationships need to be explored more in literature, if you ask me. Out of all the people in our lives, our siblings have the best opportunity for knowing us inside out, having usually known us for the duration and lived with us in the formative years. There's so much opportunity for drama, complexity, depth of feeling and deep-rooted loyalties. Also fun. So here are some of my favourite literary siblings and the reasons why I love them:

Elizabeth and Jane Bennet
from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Why I love them: Because they're so different yet they understand each other. Because theirs is an example of a real, warm, close friendship between sisters and between women. There's no real rivalry or jealousy, they look out for each other and they hurt when the other one hurts. Whatever the stupid director of the Keira Knightly film said in the audio commentary, sister relationships can be like that.

Llewellyn and Davydd ap Gryffudd
from Falls the Shadow and The Reckoning by Sharon Penman

Why I love them: I recently discovered Sharon Penman's trilogy set in Medieval Wales, and in the second two books what stood out to me most was the relationship between these two brothers. Davydd is an incredible creation as I spent the majority of these massive tomes wanting to wring his neck for his incredible disloyalty and stupidity, yet he was very charismatic as a character and somehow I still liked him. I understood why Llywellen - wonderful, strong, sensible, Llywellyn, kept forgiving him. Although I don't think I would have gone that far. 

Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron and Ginny Weasley
from the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling

Why I love them: Nice, funny, brave and loyal, we all think we know the Weasleys inside out, in the same way we know the Harry Potter books, but even after the up-teenth re-read, I spot new nuances between the siblings. Ginny and Bill for example - it took me a while to realise that she hates Fleur so much because she idolizes her oldest brother (on his hair "I like it long, you're so old fashioned, Mum", on Snape '"Bill doesn't like him either." said Ginny, as though that settled the matter.') I love how initially, you see them all through Harry's eyes, and that's to say, through Ron's. Ginny is the baby sister, Fred and George are wind-up merchants, Percy's the bossy one, Bill and Charlie are the grown-up ones. But gradually you learn more about them as individuals. I think my favourite Weasley scene of all time is Fred and Percy's reconciliation.

Caddy, Saffron, Indigo and Rose Casson
from the Casson books by Hilary McKay

Why I love them: Because they're all so wonderful. Caddy was always my favourite, as I identified with the scattiness and the procrastination and being the oldest (and now I feel her on the driving too, ninety-six driving lessons used to sound like a lot...) but I understand the insecurities in all of them and they're just my kind of people. I love how they all look out for each other but also the realistic depiction of how each of them can get overlooked at times when they're all wrapped up in their own problems. And if I'd had a brother, I would have liked him to be like Indigo.

Jo and Beth March
from Little Women and Good Wives by Louisa May Allcott

Why I love them: I like all of the March sisters (yes, even Amy - although not in the first half. What a brat!) but it's the relationship between Jo and Beth that I find the most touching. Jo is loud and ambitious and brash compared with Beth's gentleness but I like how they each admire each other for the traits they can't often see in themselves. I like how Jo's so protective of Beth, and how Beth worries about Jo. Saying that, Meg's still my favourite. 

Ned, George and Richard
from The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman

Why I love them: If you're a bit of a Ricardian like me (having read both Sunne in Splendour and A Daughter of Time and taking them both to heart) you'll understand that Richard III was so loyal to his big bro throughout his life, that it's highly unlikely he killed those kids. In her doorstop of a first novel Sharon Penman depicted such an interesting relationship between the three, very different brothers and I love her characterisation, whatever the truth might be. That they kept forgiving George seems incredible, but it happened. Blood's thicker I guess.

Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil
from Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild

Why I love them: Because they feel so real. Objectively, they're not really that likeable - but I like them anyway. I feel for Petrova, who's probably the most relate-able, but I love Posy's charisma and brilliance and her ambition - which to her isn't ambition at all, she just knows she's good enough. And I like how Pauline is good and responsible and takes charge, but is also susceptible to getting too big for her boots (and how Nana and Garnie hide the reviews that talk about her looks, in case it goes to her head.) Best of all I like how it's the three Fossils against the world. They're a team, even apart from their parent figures, and they come first with each other. 

Cat and Gwendolyn Chant 
from Charmed Life by Diana Wynne-Jones

Why I love them: Just to be clear, I do not love Gwendolyn. But I love Charmed Life and the unique, dark and un-expected nature of the relationship between Cat and his elder sister. I love the way Diana Wynne-Jones often shows us the weak or ugly side of people her characters love or look up to. That scene with the match book is still so horrifying.

Cersei, Jaime and Tyrion Lannister
from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R.Martin

Why I love them: They're so dysfunctional. This one stems mostly from the series rather than the books, where my favourite scenes are always when the Lannisters get together. Basically their dad messed them up big time, and they're all more alike than they realise. I especially love the scenes between Tyrion and Cersei, which I think is a testament to the actors as well as the writers. Whenever they have a scene together I'm always hyper aware of the history there, and all the layers of hatred and grudging understanding and frustration. There's something in the way they talk to each other that makes you think 'what if'. All three of them are full of frustrated potential and regret and Tywin's the root of most of it. (Cersei would probably have been a bad lot regardless, but she still makes you wonder on occasion.)

Katniss and Prim Everdeen
from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Why I love them:  I love the depiction of Katniss as the breadwinner, the parent figure in Prim's life, and how in volunteering for the games to save her sister, she's cast in a sort of hero/saviour role that female characters rarely get to play. I also love how Prim's character develops, almost without Katniss realising, into someone who doesn't need protecting anymore, who in fact protects others in her own right, with a skill set that is very different from Katniss's. In a lot of ways Prim is the stronger of the two. Honestly though, I'm still not on board with that ending. 

Who are your favourite siblings in literature, and who are you most interested by?


  1. I couldn't quickly think of couples although I probably should've tried (I focus a leetle too much on romances).

    Jane and Lizzie are great as are the Weasleys (I hadn't thought about that aspect of Ginny; looking up to Bill). Cat and Gwendolen are . . . interesting. I just read Charmed for the first time.

    1. Ah! Finally someone who's reading Chrestomanci! They're darker than you'd think - I love Christopher Chant best I think. I know what you mean about the romances, but I've definitely started appreciating the friendships more as I've got older :)

    2. I get most of my book recs from bloggers and while I'd read the Howl's Moving Castle series, I hadn't looked into the rest of her works until you started mentioning them. I've read Charmed and a short story collection, Mixed Magics, which had 2-3 stories I loved. Dianna Wynne Jones seems to be very hit and miss (I love her concepts in the stories, her plots, not so much always) for me. All worth a try though.

    3. Aw, I'm glad you're enjoying some of her stuff! I discovered her in the library as a kid so didn't always read the most famous ones just the ones they had available - I only read Howl's Moving Castle for the first time recently - she can be a bit hit and miss but always interesting I think :)

  2. Elizabeth and Jane- very nice. And the Lannisters- great pick! Oh my gosh so true about those three- Jaime and Tyrion's bond, and Tyrion and cersei. Deep down I think there's two way respect even if cersei would never admit it haha!

    1. She'd definitely never admit it, haha. I do really love the dynamic between the three of them!


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