Friendships tends to get overshadowed by romances in many books and movies. However, true friendships are some of the best relationships in any book. The possibilities they give for growth and depth, along with the simple joy they bring, are some of the most powerful things in many a beloved story. Here are some of my personal favorite bookish friendships.
Elizabeth and Jane Bennet (Pride and Prejudice)
There’s no friendship like that between sisters. Elizabeth is pert and fiery and, let’s face it, a bit cynical. Jane is sweet and forgiving and perhaps a little naïve at times. But different though they are, I know in my heart that far beyond the last pages of their story, these sisters only grow in closeness for the rest of their lives, and their vivid differences serve only to balance their sisterly friendship.
Harry, Ron, and Hermione (Harry Potter series)
How can anyone not love the friendship between these three? It grows steadily throughout the series, and as the friends get older and more mature, so the troubles they come across grow scarier and deadlier. A few normal little tiffs, a couple serious ones . . . yet they always find themselves back together again, the perfect team with their vastly different personalities, quirks, and virtues.
Cathy and Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights)
These two have a friendship both wild and free, but with a deeply dark side as well. Heathcliff’s violent possessiveness and love of Cathy is what drives him forward and gives his life meaning. Though we look at this story and think of lovers whose lives go terribly wrong, I can’t forget the sweet friendship that they had as mere children, running the vast moors together and fiercely defending one another from all life threw at them.
Holmes and Watson (Sherlock Holmes)
Put Holmes with his genius-like eccentricities and condescension next to Watson with his down-to-earth intelligence and kindness, and you’d never imagine the two becoming such close mates. Yet that’s exactly what happens, and whether it’s in the original stories or in one of the many adaptations of these stories, I never tire of watching the facets of that friendship.
Pooh and Piglet (Winnie the Pooh)
There are so many aspects to the friendship of these two. Protection, forgiveness, trust, humor, and gentleness. They somehow don’t seem quite complete without each other. They have many moments of true heart-to-heart connection. But mostly, they have adventures and fun.
“A friend is one of the nicest things you can have and one of the best things you can be.” (A.A. Milne)
Frodo and Sam (Lord of the Rings)
Perhaps these two weren’t much more than acquaintances at the beginning of their journey, but it was clear Sam held Frodo in high regard, almost as a servant thinks of a master. Yet their difficult and humbling journey puts them on a completely different footing with each other, and the close bond they form through the hardships they endure together can’t ever be broken.
Jena and Gogu (Wildwood Dancing)
The friendship between Jena and her frog, Gogu, is so refreshing and unique. I love that, though their friendship blossoms into something more once Gogu has taken his true form at the end of the story, the foundation of their love is still based on their friendship. Wrap it up in a wonderfully charming fairy-tale setting and it makes for one of my favorite retellings ever!
Jill, Eustace, and Puddleglum (The Silver Chair)
These three. They crack me up, but I adore them more than words can say. Jill has fears, Eustace is rather superior, and Puddleglum is just plain . . . glum. Yet somehow – somehow – those idiosyncrasies in their characters prod each other into becoming better, trying harder, bucking up and finishing their quest just as Aslan wishes them to do.
Lucy and Tumnus (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)
This sweet friendship always makes me smile. Outwardly these two couldn’t be more different – a middle-aged faun and a little English girl. Yet I sense that their hearts are the same: meek, loving, and kind – but quietly strong for all that. I picture them having tea together for years after Lucy becomes queen.
Emma and Mr. Knightley (Emma)
Perhaps we see where this friendship is headed long before it actually gets there, but it doesn’t stop us from hoping with each turn of the page that Emma won’t screw things up. Secretly I used to wonder what exactly it was that Mr. Knightley saw in Emma to make him love her so much. After all, she can be a bit silly and blind to others. But love’s like that, I suppose. Especially when it’s built on a firm friendship like theirs. And in the light of that friendship, Emma blooms into a more thoughtful and caring person.
David and Jonathan (The Bible)
They weren’t brothers, but perhaps should have been. Or maybe they were closer even than brothers can be. “The soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David.” I think God intended us to strive for friendships like the one between these two. No judgments or criticisms, just open-heartedness, loyalty, and honesty. No one in the world can ask more from a friendship than this.
True friends are always together in spirit. (L.M. Montgomery)
Anne and Diana (Anne of Green Gables)
Ah, kindred spirits. Their friendship is instantaneous. Diana meets Anne’s desperate longing for a friend of her own. Anne wakens Diana’s sense of adventure and creativity. They complement each other in just the ways friends should. Their adventures lead them different directions in life, but their friendship remains strong throughout.
What are some of your favorite literary friendships? What makes them so meaningful to you?