Lovebirds in Literature

Name a favorite literary couple and tell me why they are a favorite. If you cannot choose just one, that is okay too. Name as many as you like–sometimes narrowing down a list can be extremely difficult and painful. Or maybe that’s just me

Normally, I pounce on my keyboard after reading the weekly Booking Through Thursday prompt, but today I had to pause and think. It’s never really crossed my mind before – favourite literary couples. I can never stop at one, though, so I’m going to name my top ten. They are not ordered in any way.

1. Laurie and Jo, from Little Women

Okay, so the first two on my list aren’t actually a real couple, but I feel they would have made such a good one. To be honest, I’m not particularly fond of Amy, and although I do like Professor Bhaer, in my mind it’s Laurie who is Jo’s boy.

2. Daisy and Tom Buchanan, from The Great Gatsby

The Buchanans aren’t exactly likeable people; in fact, they’re quite horrible:

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy – they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made

But I think they make a superbly good couple. And they are undeniably glamorous. Both are so immersed in their world of snobbery and champagne and all that jazz. Ironically enough, they’re also faithful! I found that absolutely hilarious. Despite Tom’s messed-up affairs (ugh, at Myrtle’s car accident – the flapping breast) and Daisy’s brief re-encounter with Gatsby, the Buchanans ultimately stay together.

3. Emma and Mr Knightley, from Emma

Oh, Austen. Austen is so masterful at matchmaking. Although the age disparity is a little disturbing, there could never be a more well-matched couple than conceited Emma and the wonderfully down-to-earth Mr Knightley.

4. Roland and Maude, from Possession

Icy feminist, Maude, and timid Ash scholar, Roland. I liked that their relationship grew quietly and steadily – and at times, uncertainly. Oh, and through a shared love of books (poetry, to be precise). Poor Roland has this strange ability of drawing feisty women towards him, though. How awful is Val in the first few chapters? Of course, if I was living with someone like Roland, I’d be pretty exasperated 24/7, but you tend to be more forgiving of the protagonist’s flaws. When Byatt first introduced Maude into the story, I immediately thought “not another one”, but unlike Val (who is dirty-tempered), Maude is just uncomfortable in her own skin.

5. Arthur and Molly Weasley, from Harry Potter

Rowling is superb at storytelling, but I can’t say the same for her coupling skills. In my opinion, most of the couples in the Harry Potter series don’t suit each other at all, and I always get the impression that she’s hastily arranged random characters together in order to add extra ‘oomph’ to the plot. But Mr and Mr Weasley have always been favourites. “Yes, Molly, dear,” said Arthur meekly.

6. Lata and the bookstore boy (i.e. the Potato Man), from A Suitable Boy

He’s going to have to remain anonymous for now, because Seth hasn’t yet introduced his name into the novel. Poor thing!

EDIT: I found out his name! It’s Khabir Dussani, but he’s not a suitable boy, because he’s Muslim :(

7. Marlowe and Vivian, from The Big Sleep

Well, all right, I’m thinking more about the 1946 film than the book, but these two are also so glamorous. The man of morals and the morally bankrupt woman, living it out in a city of casinos, gangsters and murder.

8. Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth, from Persuasion

It’s been a while since I’ve read this book, so I can’t quite remember all the details of their relationship, but Captain Wentworth is the sexiest thing. From memory, Anne’s ‘uprightedness’ impressed me – she had backbone, and she had integrity. As a character, though, she was boring. But Anne and Wentworth make a good couple, because Wentworth makes up for Anne’s blandness.

9. Vernon and Petunia Dursley, from Harry Potter


I changed my mind – there’s another favourite from Harry Potter: the notorious Dursleys. They might be cruel to their only nephew, but I’ve never once felt any dislike towards the Dursleys, despite their treatment of Harry. I don’t think Rowling meant for us to hate them. They’re just despicably, ridiculously, uptight people – to the extent that they’re hilarious. For instance, they send Harry a Christmas present every year, without fail. The gifts themselves are completely ridiculous – toothpicks? – but they’re so proper and pretentious that they have to send a present.

10. Jane and Mr Rochester, from Jane Eyre

Saved the best til last.


Other Worthy Mentionables:

  • Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler, from Gone with the Wind
  • Katarina and Petruchio, from Taming of the Shrew
  • Dorothy L Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey and Harriet Vane
  • Agatha Christie’s Tommy and Tuppence
  • Catherine and Heathcliff, from Wuthering Heights



20 thoughts on “Lovebirds in Literature

  1. The Social Frog – I think apart from Beth dying, separating Jo and Laurie was the worst thing Alcott ever did.

    Sally – thanks. I read your post – Romeo and Juliet are a good couple, but I’ve always seen Juliet as a bit bland. I prefer troubled relationships, with jilted people and feisty girls. Makes for a better plot :)

    Violet – yes, I suppose it is rather weird. All the classics, and then suddenly, Mr and Mrs Weasley! Hahah, Harry Potter always sneaks into my posts somehow, because it’s one of my favourites.

  2. Great list! I forgot about Emma and Mr. Knightly — they’re one of my favorites too. And Jane and Mr. Rochester… well, need one say more?

  3. That’s so funny – I chose Jo after the whole Laurie period. I loved her with Professor Bhaer. I completely agree with Mr & Mrs Weasley but I wonder if the Dursley’s can feel anything towards each other or if they’re too repressed.

  4. This is the second time today I’ve said this…
    “Joe and Laurie” should have ended up like Anne and Gilbert.
    I loved Arthur and Molly too!

  5. gautami tripathy – yay for Jane and Rochester!

    Beth F – I think it’s easy to forget about Emma and Knightley because they’re one of Austen’s quieter couples. I have never been a fan of Darcy, though, (nor or Pride and Prejudice for that matter) so I’m Team Knightley all the way

    Rebecca Reid – yes, Possession is wonderful! You will love it forever and ever, I promise.

  6. soft drink – thank you, but I actually like yours much better! Jack and Jill, hahah :)

    Shana @ Literarily – I’m glad we’re in agreement about Emma and Knightley~!

    Laza – hahah, I love my mother but I would love it if Mrs Weasley was my mum-for-a-day, solely for the food. I’ve always been amazed that none of the Weasley kids suffer from obesity.

  7. Barbara H – I also kept forgetting people, so I had to create the ‘Other Worthy Mentionables’ list. Hahah!

    Mary Beth – Hm, interesting question. All their love seems to be poured into Dudley, and I don’t recall one incident where they were affectionate towards each other, so who knows?

    Wanda – oh, I only ever read the first book so I have know idea what happened to Anne and Gilbert.

    Cathy – hahah! I’ve been slapping my forehead all day long, and I keep having to add more onto my list :)

    Matthew – catching up?! Jane Eyre is leagues ahead of Pride and Prejudice! Excuse me for being partial; I’ve never been a fan of Darcy, but how can you compare that little romance with the epic passion and suffering/separation experienced by Jane and Rochester?!

    … All presuming I interpreted your statement correctly. What exactly did you mean by ‘catching up’?

  8. I’m with you too on Laurie and Jo.

    I like Darcy more thank Knightly though. :)

    And though I’m partial to Wuthering Heights and love Catherine and Heathcliff so much, I do agree that Jane and Mr Rochester are the better couple for being exactly what Catherine and Heathcliff are not. They’re the antithesis of the other.

    1. What?! Okay, to be honest, Darcy is starting to grow on me. But I still think Knightley is much schmexier

      Hm, as for C&H vs J&R, I agree with you on the antithesis thing – and ultimately, that Jane and Rochester are the better couple (only because I’m partial to Jane Eyre though) – but there’s definitely something beautiful about the reckless, passionate love that Cathy and Heathcliff share.

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