Recently, I have been seeing discussion among Tumblr users on the pairings that have happened and not happened in their favorite series/books/movies. For quite some time now, choices are being made, rationalized, and challenged. One group goes for Team Person A, another for Team Person B. Amusingly, there are those who go for neither sides being presented and choose an entirely another character relevant or not to the argument.
But I’m not here to take sides, whether or not I have interests over a particular faction. I’m here to merely voice out, or write about rather, my thoughts on these arguments. I have only three categories, by the way, as they’re the ones most prominent amongst the blogs I follow. And because they feature the eternal conflict of choosing between the best friend and the love interest.
Let’s take them one by one.
Category: The Twilight Saga
Over Which Girl: Bella Swan
The Contenders: Edward Cullen and Jacob Black
Bella is a teenage girl who moves in with her father in a small town where she meets and falls in love with Edward who, she later comes to know, belongs to a vampire coven. The story is mainly about that: vampire guy and human girl, the threats of the relationship worsened by the fatality of the supernatural. Then Bella befriends Jacob, who later develops to be a werewolf and the vampires’ archenemy. The romantic triangle becomes a default conflict especially after Bella herself realizes the kind of more-than-a-friend feeling she has for Jacob.
Edward and Bella
Why I Think it has to be Edward:
This is a difficult thought because as just himself, Edward’s character has never gained favors from me. He’s way too romantic and superbly beautiful for comfort. But for the sake of objectivity, I’d say it has to be Edward with Bella because he cares for her. As in honest to goodness, I’ll-die-for-you, caring. And okay, maybe that’s because more than half of the threats to Bella’s life has came from Edward’s supernatural world. But the way he cares for her somehow brings out the child in Bella, which she’s never gotten while she has to take care of her mother. In a way, he complements her and since the books are written in Bella’s perspective, I like that Edward gets to bring out thoughts within her that she doesn’t find easy coming up with.
Why I Don’t Think it has to be Edward:
Because he’s too addicting for Bella. And I can’t personally ever consider that as a healthy base for a relationship. Bella can’t be her 100% self when she’s with him, either because she’s gonna get hurt or he’s gonna be uncomfortable. For me, it just defies the entire relationship to more conflict. And then everything just turns into this huge cliché that’s too tiring to let on for four solid books.
Jacob and Bella
Why I Think it has to be Jacob:
While Edward can take a bullet for Bella, Jacob can also do the same. And much more. He lets Bella be Bella. Jacob and Bella gets to be halves of a pair and still keep their own selves. He’s everything un-Edward when it comes to dealing with Bella, which somehow enables him to know what’s up with her before she even speak of it. He trusts Bella to be strong enough, which I saw those times he’d rather tell her the truth no matter how much it could hurt her.
Why I Don’t Think it has to be Jacob:
Because they’re best friends. And the argument just ends with that. You may say it’s a good point, starting off from the best friends level. But it’s not always the case. Because they become friends for being so like each other. And someday, they’d have to choose between that level of togetherness or going up a notch higher, with both options threatening to break the solidity with which they’ve built their friendship.
Category: The Hunger Games Trilogy
Over Which Girl: Katniss Everdeen
The Contenders: Peeta Mellark and Gale Hawthorne
Katniss volunteers to take her younger sister’s place in the Hunger Games, a horrid reality-show style of games where 2 kids from each of the 12 district in their country are thrown together in a dangerous arena to kill each other. The rule is simple, kill the 23 other kids and you win. This is where she allies with Peeta, the boy who’s once saved her and her family’s life with a loaf of bread. But while in the Games, they had to act like romantically taken with each other when an announcement was changed: last 2 kids from the same district to stay alive wins. This whole act troubles Katniss and amidst her reasons is Gale, her best friend (and somehow, an indicative more-than-friend) waiting for her back home.
Peeta and Katniss
Why I Think it has to be Peeta:
He nearly died protecting Katniss. If that doesn’t merit a vote, I don’t know what else. More than that, though, Peeta serves as the guy who puts Katniss’ fire out when it gets destructive. He also represents the bread that satisfies her hunger. He’s entirely different from Katniss, background and values and perspective considered. And that’s what makes him a perfect fit for her: he gets to maintain her survivor’s instinct, being the one who needs the more care, and also provides for her in the form of hope against her despondency.
Why I Don’t Think it has to be Peeta:
He slows Katniss down, softens her up, and brings out her weaknesses. And being fast, hard, and strong are all Katniss has. She’s not very talented when she’s without killer weapons. She’s not very smart when she’s not adrenaline-pumped to be. But she’s constantly fast, hard, and strong. Being with Peeta erases all that ultimately. Because being with him makes her dependent, and not even in the way he depends on her. It’s a dependence that if made habitual would never let Katniss grow further.
Gale and Katniss
Why I Think it has to be Gale:
Gale has been around the entire time Katniss is having difficulty keeping her family alive. He’s there when she breaks the law in their district and goes out for a hunt. While Peeta slows Katniss down, Gale does the opposite. He makes Katniss stronger, even if he doesn’t always have to lend her some of his strength. Gale is also a comfort to her, being the only one she gets to speak truthfully with.
Why I Don’t Think it has to be Gale:
Gale is Katniss’ best friend. Again. And if you’ve read the whole trilogy already, you would know it didn’t do both of them any good. Because it hurt them to the point that all their years of friendship just practically burned. Especially after Katniss was named Victor of the Games. Somehow, I’ve seen him jealous. Not because Katniss won and became famous, he’s not as shallow as that. But I think it’s because she got to have choices while he remained stuck with the bound life in their district. Plus he remained a constant pain for Katniss. She realized there was something she felt for him, and he knew that because knew her so much. And he used that against her. Frankly, that’s what put me off–the fact that he couldn’t be selfless enough for her.
Category: The Harry Potter Series
Over Which Girl: Hermione Granger
The Contenders: Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley
(This isn’t even 100% valid, because we all know JK Rowling has already decided not to even start this type of discussion. But because it’s being rampantly argued over, let’s do this.)
Hermione has been friends with Harry and Ron since their first year in Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Mostly, the story is about Harry, his adventures with the two, his mission to get rid of the dark wizard Voldemort. On the background, is a teen story as complex as a wizarding novel. There’s Harry with girl problems and Ron with no-girl problems and Hermione with boy problems. In their sixth year together, though, realizations start coming in. By the epilogue, partners are built for life.
But at present, discussions have started to question JK Rowling’s choice. Harry-Ginny vs. Harry-Hermione vs. Ron-Hermione. I’m not thinking about the Harry-Ginny thing because it’s not very conflicting. So here goes my thoughts on the other two pairings.
Ron and Hermione
Why I Think it has to be Ron:
I side with Rowling when she said she made Ron and Hermione go together because they were complementary characters. Hermione for me doesn’t need some serious guy who’s serious about her in a serious manner. Because that’s outright boring and utterly stagnant. I think she has to be with someone who can thaw her out, someone who can make her smile even if its at stupidity’s expense, someone who can be on the receiving end of her brash caring and turn it into something very soothing. And that someone is Ron, of course. He might not be the smart, brave, daring guy who would turn Whomping Willows for her. But he’s loyal and fun and full of heart inspired by a large, loving family. And for Hermione who’s lost her parents to oblivion, that’s just who she needs.
Why I Don’t Think it has to be Ron:
Because he’s too expensive. Emotionally and mentally, that is. You’ve got to invest a lot so you can take back what you deserve. Ron seems to be on that mould, for me. And Hermione would benefit from some time off the thinking, let someone else do it for her without risking too much. I don’t think Ron can do that for her. In the long run, if you think about it, she just might be tired of all the thoughts that’s in her mind. And if we’re completely honest, when that happens, a Pensieve could do more than Ron.
Harry and Hermione
Why I Think it has to be Harry:
Because he understands her and she does him. Because she takes away from Harry the hot-headedness, the danger-loving impulse, and the messianic trait. And he gives her a lot of the credit she deserves. If we notice it, they get to be the last two together–except in the second novel–before Harry sets off alone to do the imminent life-risking. As in the 1st book, they’re left together to decipher the Potions riddle after Ron has been knocked out at wizards’ chess. As in the 3rd book, where they’ve traveled through the Time-Turner. As in the 4th book when she’s the one who stayed and helped with the Triwizard tasks when Ron was being eaten up by jealously. As in the 5th book, when they scared Umbridge off to the centaurs. As in the 7th book, when again Ron ran out on them. These are moments you’d find hard to forget when you grow old. And sometimes, I am assailed with the thought of Hermione, old beside a sleeping Ron, and thinking: “Wherever is the guy I fought Nagini for?”
Why I Don’t Think it has to be Harry:
Again, the cardinal argument: they’re best friends. Best-er friends than Ron and Harry are. Or than Ron and Hermione. All of those incidents I’ve mentioned above? Those are events you’d never get pass through if you’re with your, say, girlfriend. He’d always turn back, try to make sure Hermione isn’t captured by dark wizards even as he himself prepares for a battle with one. He’d never proceed without thinking what happens to her. And that wouldn’t have worked for Harry’s character. Not even for Hermione, because she’d know. She’d understand what has happened and she’d hate herself for it. That’s why best friends mostly don’t work being together. Because they lose the friendship that allowed them to be themselves.
Let me get down to the common denominators.
The love interests (Edward, Peeta, and Ron) are guys who doesn’t compare and parallel too much with the girls in question. That’s why they become interests. They have provoked something out of the girls that have made them, us, realize how relationships are really composed of two individuals melting together as one.
The other side (Jacob, Gale, and Harry) are the best friends who, save for Harry, have indeed thought about optioning themselves out for the girls to choose among. But they have the disadvantage of carrying with them a whole other sense of a strong relationship–friendship. And that’s a relationship that would be hard put to bring back together if shattered.
In the end, we can only assume. I can only weigh. The options have lied and have been picked by their respective writers. We can only nod at that fact, whether or not we agree.
Photo credits: Rotten Tomatoes (for the Twilight Saga and Harry Potter photos), thehungergamestribute.co.cc (for the Peeta and Katniss fan art), & theboywiththebread.tumblr.com (for the Gale and Katniss fan art).