The Best Friendships in Literature
Good books foster great friendships and great friendships inspire great books. Some people often find some of their best friends through a common love of books. More often than not, we read about friendships, some legendary, some unlikely, and some simply unforgettable. These are the friendships that inspire us to act more forthcoming, instil in us a feeling of camaraderie, and teach us values that we can apply in our real-life relationships. In this spirit of Asli Yaari, we have scoured through the pages of literary classics and present to you some of the most memorable ones that have reserved a space in the hearts of all book lovers.
Harry Potter and Ron Weasley (from the “Harry Potter” series – JK Rowling)
Harry and Ron’s steadfast and rock-solid friendship is probably the most recognized on this list, owing simply to the tumultuous success of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. The two of them perfectly complemented each other’s wants and shortcomings: as an orphan, Harry yearned for the love of a parental figure but was instead unwillingly thrust into the limelight and forced to endure a unprecedented level of fame; conversely, Ron was the sixth child in a family of seven children who while being unconditionally loved by family, craved the fame and fortune that his best friend was blessed with. Their adventures are a treat for readers of all ages and their magical chemistry with the nerdy Hermione Granger has ensured that these character’s legacies will live in the hearts of all readers.
Tyrion and Bronn (from the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series – George RR Martin)
It is hard to find a friendship so delicately balanced on fond camaraderie and hilarious banter; such is the relationship between these two vibrant characters from GRR Martin’s epic fantasy series, A Song of Fire and Ice. The two are so alike yet so different—Bronn’s obsession with coin and cavalier attitude is very unlike Tyrion’s craving for acceptance and a sense of belonging. Both, however, prefer copious use of scathing remarks backed up either with, in Tyrion’s case, a heavy purse and, for Bronn, a sharp blade. Their relationship may have been based more on unfortunate circumstance, but their contrasting quirks are what endear them to long-time readers and fans of the series.
Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson (from “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
Readers always wonder how Watson puts up with some of Sherlock’s antics. In between solving mysteries and fighting their arch nemesis, the infamous James Moriarty, the duo share banter in a neurotic and highly dysfunctional relationship as roommates. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle clearly enjoys drifting to a tangent when he describes the quirky exchanges between the two: Sherlock constantly patronising Watson for missing obvious clues and inferences, and Watson occasionally berating Sherlock for not behaving more like a normal person in society should. The end product is a series of books chronicling their plot-heavy and suspense-laden adventures perfectly doused with a generous helping of signature Sherlock–Watson wise cracks.
Calvin and Hobbes (From “Calvin and Hobbes” - comic strip by Bill Watterson)
It is impossible to talk about the friendship of Calvin and Hobbes without getting a warm fuzzy feeling in your belly. For many, Bill Watterson’s iconic comic strip was a constant source of important life lessons in friendship and family, the importance of an imagination and the love of life’s simple things. Calvin’s love for constant mischief was only rivalled by Hobbes unconditional support for Calvin’s crazy plans. Together, the two taught us that you can live life by your own rules, that weirdness was to be celebrated and not restrained, and that the outdoors will always be a constant source of inspiration for children and adults alike.
Hamlet and Horatio (From “Hamlet” – play by Shakespeare)
In a play based on deceit and murder, the friendship of Hamlet and Horatio is a pleasant reprieve. Horatio is the only character who stays truly loyal to Hamlet throughout the play. He is also one of the few level-headed characters, maintaining great patience with Hamlet’s constant emotional craziness. It is only fair that Horatio remains the only character alive at the end, albeit laden with the heavy burden of sharing the tale of his friend’s tragic demise. Readers will forever remember how their love was summarized in the iconic line that Horatio utters to Hamlet as he dies in his arms: “Good night, sweet prince.”
Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer (From “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” - Mark Twain)
The biggest pair of rascals on this list, Mark Twain’s two iconic characters share a special bond that made for some gripping adventures and heart-felt literary moments. Their friendship—like so many others in literature—is based on circumstance that forces two seemingly incompatible personalities to work together. The imaginative Tom looks to a book for solace whereas Huck resorts to losing himself in the wonder of the outside world. Together, the two of them represent one of the great classic friendships of English literature.
Mowgli and Baloo (from “The Jungle Book” – Rudyard Kipling)
Mowgli is a kid who is raised by wild animals in the jungle, namely Baloo the Bear and Bagheera the panther. However, the highlight of Rudyard Kipling’s famous literary masterpiece is the heart-warming friendship of Mowgli and Baloo. Mowgli learns the ways of the jungle from Baloo, who in turn treats Mowgli like a brother and is forever ready with answers to Mowgli’s questions on life. The beauty of their friendship stems from the fact that readers love engaging with characters that seem fundamentally incompatible but eventually end up as friends who will do anything for each other.
Legolas and Gimli (from “The Lord of the Rings” – JRR Tolkien)
On principle, Legolas the elf should hate the dwarf Gimli, on account of the years of discord and bad blood their races share. However, their very unlikely friendship is a perfect example of how standing together through trials and tribulations can help overcome any differences stemming from bigotry and hatred. Forced to travel and fight together in a fellowship sworn to protect a common friend, the two of them eventually learn to appreciate each other’s strengths and short-comings, and in the end of the series, ride away together as best friends—a friendship we can all learn something from.
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