Tough Travels: True Love

tough travelsI’m participating in this week’s Tough Travels meme again – hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, this is a great way to explore Fantasyland and create lists, YAY! Don’t forget to go and check out what other participating bloggers have put on their lists – my tbr expands every week because of them! :) Our little band of travellers expands each week so this is a great way to get to know the fantasy blogging community.

As this week is all about Valentine’s Day, we’re marching into Fantasyland in search of TRUE LOVE! This topic is very dear to me, though my husband and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day (come back on Saturday to find out why). But my blog does feature both fantasy and romance, so this is a perfect mix of both.

First of all, let’s set the mood with this lovely soundtrack.

Got it? Alright, then. I have to say I had some difficulty deciding what counts as true love. More often than not, love in romances is actually loads of lust with some affection thrown in. Does true love mean they grow old together? Does true love have to be tested by unfortunate events and long separation? Hell if I know. In the end, I just decided to list my favourite couples from fantasy novels.

  1. Faramir and Eowyn from The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. Their love is understated and overlooked, but I really liked both characters separately, so they’re bound to be great together.
  2. *spoiler in white* Ziri and Liraz *end spoiler* from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor. Again, I could have chosen the other, main romance of the series (Akiva and Karou), but I prefer romances that grow more quietly and take some time to develop.
  3. Howl and Sophie from Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. It takes a while for these two to realize they’re falling for each other. The fact that Sophie spends the majority of the novel under a curse that makes her look like an old woman slows things down a bit. :)
  4. Edward and Bella from the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer. Oh, come on, someone has to include them this week. Where would we be without murderous intent and pathetic dependence?
  5. ron-and-hermione-true-loveRon and Hermione from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. It took them seven years to realize they’re perfect for each other! Yay for little red-haired babies!
  6. Tristran and Yvaine from Stardust by Neil Gaiman. Their story starts off with lots of choice name-calling and a unicorn. I think this is a solid foundation for true love, don’t you? (My review)
  7. Fitz and Molly from the Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. This one was my husband’s contribution to the list, he’s a huge Hobb fan. I liked them, too – Molly named their daughter Nettle!
  8. Lan and Nynaeve from The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. Here’s one with a long separation and numerous tests, as well as name-calling and denial. I haven’t finished the series but I read a spoiler for their relationship when I was researching Lan for one of the previous Tough Travels posts…

 * * *

Which lovely couple did I forget to include?

What counts as true love in your opinion?

I’d love to hear your thoughts! :)

  • Eowyn and Faramir indeed! They felt more “real” to me than Arwen and Aragorn ever were, and they always gave a vibe of partnership, of shared commitments that made them stand out. I was so happy to see them at the top your list! :-)

    • Kaja

      Yep, they were so cute – I felt like it was the real thing, you know, one to last for a lifetime (awww) :)
      Thanks for stopping by, Maddalena!

  • I think you could pick a few examples out of Wheel of Time. Lan and Nynaeve are a great one, but I went with Mat and Tuon.

    • Kaja

      Nooooooo now I know there’s someone called Tuon who falls for Mat!!! Gah. I really need to finish this series, it’s becoming impossible to avoid spoilers :)
      I could have chosen Perrin, too, but Nynaeve was always a favourite of mine.

  • I have seen Twilight on a couple this week. And I love it when suggestions start coming from spouses to fill up the lists.

    • Kaja

      Well, I pick his brain every week, so maybe I should start giving him more credit. He reads even more fantasy than I do :)
      Twilight is more of a snarky choice for most of us, I think!

  • Tristran and Yvaine! <3 I've never read the book, but LOVE the film to bits – they're such a cute couple. :D

    Good call with Faramir and Eowyn, though I always got the sense that Faramir was a bit of a rebound for her, at least at first. :D

    • Kaja

      Go read Stardust! It’s so cool/cute/magical – you won’t regret it. Plus it’s a short standalone so it’s perfect for a quick binge :)

      I never liked the idea of Eowyn and Aragorn together – I like to think A. was just a crush for her and F. is the real thing :)

  • Oh! Fitz and Molly! I can’t believe I didn’t think of them! Excellent choice :)

    • Kaja

      I will report your approval to my husband :) I would have forgotten about them, too!

  • Aww, Stardust! Such a lot of good choices on here!
    I had Howl and Sophie and Ron and Hermione!
    Lynn :D

    • Kaja

      Thanks, Lynn :) R&H are great! He’s such a klutz and she’s adorable, they’re perfect for each other.

  • “Where would we be without murderous intent and pathetic dependence?” – OMG I laughed and laughed! Thanks for that, and great list :D

    • Kaja

      No problem ;) Ah, we all read – and enjoyed (you know you did) – Twilight, so it has to be included. Whether or not E&B are actually sane is a different story :)

  • I always used to want so much more of Faramir and Eowyn!

    • Kaja

      Well, if Tolkien was a modrn author, there would definitely be a spin-off of LOTR, so we would have found out more about them :)

      • Actually, Tolkien himself planned a spin-off, set some decades after The Lord of the Rings, and wrote a chapter or two I think. But it didn’t excite him, so he never bothered going on with it.

        Iirc, it would have been set in Gondor, where a strange new religious cult from the east was becoming popular. My personal head-canon has always been that this is either Alatar or Pallando at work (the other two Wizards that went to the east, never get mentioned and that are assumed to have become evil at some point).

        • Kaja

          I meant this more in the sense the industry would have forced Tolkien to write a sequel today because they’re always trying to milk whatever is selling for even more cash :) But that’s just a cynical way of looking at things.
          I’m not so familiar with Tolkien’s work outside of LOTR and The Hobbit – but I would have read that sequel for sure!

  • Sophie and Howl! That’s such a great pick! I’ve actually only seen the movie but the book is high on my to read list. I like when love surprises folks:).

    • Kaja

      It’s a cool little book. I bpught it on a whim and really liked it!

  • I never finished the Wheel of Time books, but Lan and Nynaeve were the characters I liked best. Their relationship made me so happy.

    • Kaja

      Exactly, because they’re both so hard-headed but very, very loyal :) This series is massive so I don’t know when I’m going to finish it all. Hopefully someday, but now I have to read A Dance With Dragons before the new season of the TV series starts!

  • Ron and Hermione!!! They are seriously the best, but I can’t believe how long it took them to wise up and feel the love. I thought it was pretty obvious they were meant to be from book one. To paraphrase Katherine from The Vampire Diaries (no shame!) someone saying they hate you sounds like the beginning of a love story!

    Howl and Sophie are a great pick, too. I particularly loved the film version of their romance, since Howl’s vanity is really played up there. It’s particularly striking to see a very vain person fall for someone whose appearance is less than ideal for the majority of the time they spend together!

    • Kaja

      I liked the fact that none of the 4 main characters in HP (Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny) stayed with the FIRST crush they had. I mean, even at 17, when the books end, they aren’t really adults and it’s a bit of a stretch that they would stay together.

      Oh, Katherine. I gave up on VD (and the Originals) last season, but I loved that show until it got all messed up. Who did you like better – Stephan or Damon? :)

      Howl’s story is one I really like, especially because of the character growth. What’s the use of a romance story if the people involved can’t change?

  • Interesting choices! I definitely agree with many of them. (Sorry, I’m not a Twilight fan, and I haven’t read some of the others.) Faramir and Eowyn always seemed like a really good pairing to me, even though Tolkien spends very little time on them together. Ron and Hermione definitely. Also Harry and Ginny, though you could never tell from the movies. But in the books, Ginny is feisty and fearless and smart and above all, she doesn’t stand for any nonsense from Harry (well, not after she gets over her crush, anyway.) When he’s all worried about being taken over by Voldemort in book 5, she marches in and says “hey, I’m the only person you know who’s actually BEEN possessed by him, and what you’ve got going on isn’t possession.” She’s really good for him.

    • Kaja

      Yeah I really liked Ginny, especially because she could have been a meek little girl, what with all those older brothers trying to smother her with care, but Rowling knows how to deal with it :) I just picked Ron and Hermione because I like them better than Harry *gasp* :) Hermione is one of my all-time favourite characters and she definitely deserves true love! I’m just really glad she found it in Ron, who’s so goofy and adorable.
      I can imagine LOTR being a modern bestseller – there would have been a spin-off for Faramir & Eowyn and one for Eomer and some other pretty lady :)