I’m a big fan of stories. I’m always consuming some kind of story, whether book or TV show, magical realism or Grimms-inspired sci-fi, anything I can react to, analyze, or write about.
Come watch me write about stories, even if you should be writing yourself. Especially if you should be writing yourself. Reading about writing isn’t writing, and reading other peoples’ writing isn’t writing, but it’s a lot of fun.
Background Anakin Skywalker feels very attacked right now because EVERYONE KEEPS TREATING HIM LIKE A CHILD. Thought to be the Chosen One, Anakin excels in acting rashly and crying about it later. His flirting skills need WORK.
Forced out of Lunar society, Cress Darnell spent most of her youth on a satellite hacking Earth’s security feed. Easily impressed, Cress swoons over scoundrels and expresses delight in mundane things like sand. Her flirting skills, along with her life skills, do not exist. Girl is DUMB.
The Couple Alas, Anakin’s hatred for sand might keep these two apart.
I find it hard to ship someone as unlikable as Anakin. Who wouldn’t be disillusioned by all that child murder? Or, you know…regular murder?
But come on. These two have plenty in common, including childhood enslavement and a love of space travel.
Sure, there are things to dislike about this pairing. Rage. Jealousy. A disturbing height difference.
And, yes, the character Cress fears most is an angry giant with murderous instincts…which pretty much describes Anakin.
Remus Lupin from The Harry Potter series and Henry Tilney from Northanger Abbey
Background Remus Lupin taught at Hogwarts until Lucius Malfoy outed him as a werewolf. He loves chocolate, books, and acts of bravery. He also briefly abandoned his pregnant wife and I’m still not over it.
Perfect party host Henry Tilney flirts with everyone without making it weird. He teases without overstepping. He even puts up with idiotic heroines for the sake of romantic resolution. That takes class.
I can’t think of a more boring couple.
What would they do together? Drink tea? Talk about books? Hide Lupin’s monthly transformations from Henry’s family?
You KNOW a ship is boring when I have to use CATHERINE MORLAND as my punchline.
Sure, Henry’s shares personality traits with Remus’ closest friends…but is that enough?
And Remus used to be a notorious prankster…but now? He’s so stodgy! He would grade papers during Harry’s parties…while wearing a cardigan. (Sidebar: Why was Remus friends with the Marauders? Why am I questioning canon? THIS SHIP IS DESTROYING MY LOVE FOR HARRY POTTER!!)
Until this pairing, I didn’t think anything could be worse than both these characters’ ACTUAL CANON SHIPS.
Background Kate runs away from things. She dedicates her painting portfolio to a girl she won’t speak to and ditches a lifelong friend for an understanding acquaintance. She freaks out and changes her mind over and over but rarely tells people why.
Shigure plays dumb so well almost no one suspects him. He uses his trashy romance novels as a cover for more devious schemes. His closest friends don’t know what he wants; they just know he’s up to something.
One of Shigure’s exes described him as a ripple on water; every time you try to get close, he moves away. Now that I think of it, he embodies the lyrics to “Marry Me A Little” almost perfectly. I didn’t think that was possible.
Kate admits she’s kind of a mess. Romance terrifies her; college freaks her out. She buys people artichokes instead of flowers…when she decides to show up. With the amount of overwhelm she experiences, Kate can only handle one day at a time. (There were severalsolidtitle puns in that sentence, but I resisted.)
Luckily for her, Shigure wouldn’t care. He wouldn’t invest either. Shigure’s not one for moving forward; he stays firmly in the moment. Others running away has never bothered him; he’s good at biding his time.
These two wouldn’t help each other grow. This pairing doesn’t burst with health. I don’t want to be on board, but the rapport between these two makes sense.
To be clear, I don’t condone settling. AT THE SAME TIME…these characters both struggle to make healthy choices. Why push them to do better when this easy dynamic exists?
IN CONCLUSION, these characters are confused…and so am I.
Background Mia started as an awkward nobody with bad hair until her father revealed their royal lineage. Now she’s an awkward somebody with slightly better hair and control over a small European principality.
Azula, the Fire Lord’s favorite child, prefers flunkies to friends. She pursues fratricide with dogmatic devotion and nearly succeeds. World domination she saves for her nights off.
The Couple For eight books, Mia’s main antagonist is Lana Weinberger, a catty cheerleader who bullies Mia’s friends.
To get Azula, take Lana and add firepower and a predilection for murder.
Yeah, that’ll work. Nothing says love quite like torment.
Alanna of Trebond from The Song of the Lioness Quartet and Emma Woodhouse from Emma
Background Alanna of Trebond switched places with her twin brother and posed as a boy for years to become Tortall’s first female knight. Her world consists of swordplay, jousting, and magical powers bestowed upon her by the Goddess. She hates social climbers and weak women alike, preferring the company of thieves and warriors.
While Emma Woodhouse has depths, they’re buried deep beneath layers of social niceties and subtle manipulation. Emma loves the power she wields over others. She’s not much for deep conversation, but she throws a mean picnic. Like…actually mean.
Alanna’s appreciation for other women is limited to those who look fantastic while cutting down enemies. She likes underdogs, oppressed peoples, and magical cats far more than she likes lords and ladies. Don’t get her started on fancy parties.
Emma has no interest in the gritty side of knighthood. She’d be down for songs composed in her honor or daring deeds performed for her praise…but those chivalrous concepts come from literature and Emma doesn’t read. She prefers wit and throwing the same fancy parties Alanna so despises.
In terms of grit, these two are equals. In any other case, that would be enough. Too bad Emma doesn’t WANT an equal. Look who she picks for a best friend!
Compare Alanna to Harriet Smith. Alanna goes after what she wants and challenges people she dislikes. She’s handy with a sword and once killed a man by breaking his nose.
How would Emma control someone like her?
In the second book of her series, Alanna encounters a rival for Prince Jonathan’s affections. Tamora Pierce describes Princess Josiane of the Copper Isles as tall and blonde, a good dancer, and an annoyingly coy flirt. Hmmmmmm….
Yes, Alanna. Hook up with someone who reminds you of the woman who killed your cat.
Background Kyo Sohma can turn into a cat. That’s kind of his thing. If involuntarily turning into an adorable animal isn’t embarrassing enough, he’s an outcast in his own family, forced to spend the remainder of his life in a locked room.
Mark Cohen hates paying rent almost as much as he hates the virus that keeps killing off his closest friends. He struggles to create while squatting with his best friend Roger in New York.
Kyo hates everything and everyone and expresses all emotions as poisonous rage.
Mark hates plenty – his parents, his job, Roger’s abandonment issues – but prefers to observe rather than engage. According to Roger, Mark uses art to numb his emotions so he doesn’t have to face them…ever. In fact, he only really brings up his feelings as a way to win arguments or push people away.
Two people actively pushing each other away? That screams health to me.
Maybe, despite all this, these two can work it out. The two have complementary personality traits: Kyo is loud, Mark is quiet; Kyo is aggressive, Mark is passive-aggressive; Kyo perceives constant rejection as a result of his family’s hatred, Mark experiences crushing loneliness despite group acceptance…
Now that I think about it, Mark has a lot in common with Yuki Sohma, Kyo’s canon rival.
Background How do you know Ryan is a serious artist? He writes SLAM POETRY and works on a LITERARY JOURNAL, two things that would make him cool if he wasn’t such a terrible friend. Ryan pretends his “friends with benefits” relationship never happened. When confronted, HE NEVER APOLOGIZES. His feelings eclipse every wrong he’s ever done. In short, Ryan is the WORST.
And then we have Catherine Morland, the patron saint of stupidity. Young, fanciful, and dumb as a rock, she creates AN ENTIRE MURDER PLOT out of nothing. That’s not fanciful; that’s insane. I don’t love that when people think of “bookish” characters, they list Hermione Granger, Harriet the Spy, and her. THIS IS NOT THE CHAMPION I ASKED FOR!
The Couple Well…they’ve tied for first in my Most Hated Character contest.
Ryan loves slapping ill-fitting labels on himself and others; for instance, he, the oblivious, self-centered tool, is the Sensitive Artist, while his emotionally-savvy best friend is the Dumb Jock.
Catherine sees things that aren’t real. She would buy into Ryan’s broody shtick real fast. She might even see good qualities he CLEARLY DOES NOT HAVE. Ryan must be who he says he is; Catherine’s read plenty of books with Sensitive Artists in them!
PEOPLE ARE MORE COMPLEX THAN THAT, CATHERINE.
I don’t know if you’ve picked up on the fact that I despise Catherine Morland.
EVEN SO, I can’t help but think of the devastating fallout ahead.
Do you know how much energy it takes to feed someone’s self-perception? Constantly feeding another person’s ego while they roil with “torment” kills relationships.
What happens when Ryan’s facade finally fails and Catherine sees there’s nothing there?
She’ll discover that her relationship, much like creating murder mysteries out of thin air, has been a complete waste of time.