#Wyrd and Wonder: "You had me at hello" - (not quite) instalove and friendship in Fantasy
Insta-love (or love at first sight) is out of fashion. Whether in fairy-tales or fantasy novels, it feels like an out-dated trope. No-one believes in that anymore do they? Unless you base your relationships purely on looks. But whether it's romantic or just friendly, sometimes you do genuinely click with someone the first time you meet. Insta-like, if you will. I love this for book couples. Hate-to-love is fun, but so, sometimes, is that first spark between characters when, as a reader, you think "these two are cute! I hope this is a love interest!" The same goes for fictional friendships - when two characters meet for the first time, the conversation is sparkling (or enjoyably awkward) and you hope they'll be best friends for ever. Anyway, here are a few of my favourite meet cutes:
Faramir and Eowyn
"My Lord," said the Warden, "here is the Lady Eowyn of Rohan[...] she wishes to speak to the Steward of the city."
"Do not misunderstand him, lord." said Eowyn. "It is not lack of care that grieves me. No houses could be fairer, for those who desire to be healed. But I cannot lie in sloth, idle, caged. I looked for death in battle. But I have not died, and battle still goes on."
At a sign from Faramir, the Warden bowed and departed. "What would you have me do, Lady?" said Faramir. "I am also a prisoner of the healers."
He looked at her, and being a man whom pity deeply stirred, it seemed to him that her loveliness amid her grief would pierce his heart. And she looked at him and saw the grave tenderness in his eyes, and yet knew, for she was bred among men of war, that here was one whom no Rider of the Mark would outmatch in battle.
"What would you wish?" he said again. "If it lies in my power, I will do it."
The Faramir/Eowyn chapters in The Lord of the Rings are so cute. So quick too - kind of feels like when they shove the best friends together at the end of a panto or a film. But still, I'm here for it.
Harry and Cho
Rosie and Peony
Suze and Jesse
"That woman - your mother - called you Suzie." His black eyes were bright on me. "Short for Susan?"
"Susannah," I said, correcting him automatically. "As in, 'don't you cry for me'."
He smiled. "I know the song."
"Yeah, it was probably in the top forty the year you were born, huh?"
He just kept on smiling. "So this is your room now, is it Susannah?"
"Yeah," I said. "This is my room now. So you're going to have to clear out."
"I'm going to have to clear out?" He raised one black eyebrow."This has been my home for a century and a half. Why do I have to leave it?"
She was a girl, he was a ghost, can I make it anymore obvious? She was a tough New Yorker who could communicate with the dead, he was a sensitive Hispanic rancher from the eighteen hundreds. What more can I say? Only that Meg Cabot is a genius and I can't wait for the films. They are happening, this is not a drill.
Bella and Jacob
He flashed a brilliant smile, looking at me appreciatively in a way I was learning to recognise. I wasn't the only one who noticed.
"You know Bella, Jacob?" Lauren asked — in what I imagined was an insolent tone — from across the fire.
"We've sort of known each other since I was born," he laughed, smiling at me again.
I was mostly Team Edward, back in the day, but I love Bella and Jacob's friendship - and especially their first meeting. She thinks of him as a kid brother type originally (as you do, when you're seventeen and he's only just sixteen?) but he's got a bit of a crush so she makes an attempt at flirting to get information. Somehow the whole thing is just really wholesome.
Ella and Char
She makes him laugh! I'd think she was a bit of a weirdo to be honest, but I love how he's so amused. I was surprised when I read the book, as the film kind of turns their romance into hate-to-love. Which I like too, but the book is sweeter. As long as I can keep imagining grown-up Char as Hugh Dancy.
Alanna and George
Coram missed nothing. “Keep an eye to yer saddlebags,” he called back to Alanna. “There are some here as would steal their own mother’s teeth!” He seemed to be directing this comment at a tall young man standing near Alanna.
The lean young man grinned, white teeth flashing in his tanned face. “Who, me?” he asked innocently.
Coram snorted and kicked his horse onward. The man winked one bright hazel eye at Alanna and vanished into the crowd. She watched him until someone shouted for her to watch herself. She wondered if he really was a thief. He seemed very nice.
So many fab first meetings in Tamora Pierce, but on re-reading, I hadn't realised that George is basically the first person she encounters in the city, and there's interest there straightaway. Love it.
Alina and Nikolai
Harry, Ron and Hermione
And obviously, if we're talking fantasy friendships and first meetings, I had to include this scene (yes, I know it's slightly different in the book. But not much.)
Is there a case for instalove? What are your favourite meet-cutes in fantasy?