#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 




'"HARRY THIS IS NO TIME TO BE A GENTLEMAN!" Wood roared, as Harry swerved to avoid a collision. "KNOCK HER OFF HER BROOM IF YOU HAVE TO!"'

As much as I like Harry and Ginny, the Harry/Cho stuff was built up so well. She doesn't really become a proper character until the fourth book, but my favourite bit is their first meeting, in Prisoner of Azkaban. It was so exciting, Harry's first crush!


Rosie and Peony 


Peony, of course, stopped whatever she had been doing, and came up to Rosie with her best, most winning smile, and said, “Well, now that all the fuss is over, perhaps we can begin to know each other.”

[...] “Um,” said Rosie un-encouragingly, standing like a soldier on parade, back stiff and eyes straight ahead. She stood up as much as she could around Peony, because standing she was half a head taller than the older girl.

  “You know,” said Peony thoughtfully, looking up at Rosie, “you have the longest eyelashes I have ever seen—”

  “Get dead,” said Rosie furiously, abandoning her imitation of a statue: “I hate my eyelashes.”

  Peony stared at her with her mouth open, and then she burst out laughing. She put her hand on Rosie’s arm, and to Rosie’s own astonishment she did not resent the touch; she heard in Peony’s laughter that Peony was as worried about her new neighbour as Rosie was about being her neighbour, and that Peony had been sure she would say the wrong thing to Rosie, and it was a great relief to have done so and got it over with. Rosie began to laugh, too.

I'm all for more female friendships in books, and Rosie's and Peony's is great partly because Robin Mckinley plays with our expectations. The tomboy and the girly-girl can't be friends, can they? Well obviously they can. 


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 was very easy to talk with.

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 


“That's funny, you're funny. I like you, I'm quite taken by you.”

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



“I took a breath. “Your highness—”
“Nikolai,” he corrected. “But I’ve also been known to answer to ‘sweetheart’ or ‘handsome.”

For some reason I never rooted for these two as a couple, but I love their dynamic. Flirting from the get go is what we like to see. I'm dying to see who they'll cast as Nikolai in the show.


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?



Comments

  1. Faramir and Eowyn had such a sweet section in the book, I don't think it was actually that quick, just as she was healing. However, the movie gives them this quick doofy minute, that was one of the things that I was looking forward to in the extended version, but no, hardly anything.

    Harry's first crush is pretty cute. I like how it was done where it was just that, his first crush. There was no stupid love triangle, they both just moved on, I feel like that is more realistic, yet rare in fiction. And Harry and Ginny could become a couple naturally.

    I was team Jacob myself, but that was before everything got bizzare in book 4. Thank, no thanks, I'm good, bye.

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    1. haha yeah I always thought Breaking Dawn read a bit like fan-fiction. I love the Faramir and Eowyn chapters, but it is quick - he pretty much tells her he loves her in their first conversation - I didn't mind that though, it was done in a way that I could believe in it! I always thought the harry/Cho break-up felt really realistic too.

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  2. I loved Faramir and Eowyn, I wish we got more of them in the movies.
    Nikolai is great, his dynamic with pretty much everyone is fun for me. I was very into Alina/Nikolai for a while :D

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    1. I love all of Nikolai's interactions too - with Baghra and Mal especially!

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  3. I love these meet cutes! In general I can't stand insta-love, but that's mostly because most authors don't execute it very well. I think of all of these the meeting between Harry, Ron and Hermione is my favorite! Maybe friendship meet-cutes are my thing.

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    1. Thanks! I love the Ron, Hermione, Harry meeting too, freiendship meet-cutes are the best.

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  4. I do agree that insta-like is a thing, even if I'm not a fan of insta-love. Sometimes you really do click with someone right away!

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    1. Same, and I love insta-like scenes when they're well written!

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  5. This brought back so many happy memories! Bella and Jacob did really have a great friendship, and Ella and Char were just about awesome together. But my favorite pairing is Faramir / Eowyn all the way! Faramir definitely had me at hello <3 <3 <3

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    1. Faramir was my favourite thing about LotR the first time around - he's so lovely!

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  6. I agree, Ella and Char have such a cute relationship. :) The film and the book feel like completely different stories to me, but in all honesty it's nice to see the relationship explored in two different ways.
    -Quinley

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