Favourite Fictional Friendships
Fiction presents to us situations, observations, history and future forecasting in ways that we can relate to on a cellular level. Have you ever read a line or paragraph and had an "a-ha" moment and immediately connected with something going on in your life? Your reaction might be somethign like, 'Yeah, know what she's talking about there...' or 'Oh my God! Now I understand what's happening...' Or somewhere in between.
This is no less true about fictional friendships. I've read stories and been jealous about the friendships shared within the pages. I've learned ways of coping with odd interactions or even the loss of friendship. Fiction is a safe place to learn and grow awareness of self and our wider world.
The fictional friendship that springs to mind first, mainly because I've just finished reading it, is from Good Omens (Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman). Aziraphale and Crowley. Total opposites you'd think, one being the Angel of the Eastern Gate and the other, The Serpent. Yet, quite quickly, we realise that they're more similar in personality, wants and purpose than they should be.
Aziraphale and Crowley are united by an appreciation of the status quo of humanity as they have experienced and shaped it. They don't particularly want change one way or the other and find themselves not only friends but working together to protect a world they've grown to love.
Another favourite fictional friendship is between George and Lennie in John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men. Now this isn't a fantasy story but the strength of the relationship between these two men transcends genre. They are loyal, forgiving, and understanding toward each other until the very end.
The Four Winds by Kristen Hannah main character, Elsa Martinelli is given two strong friendships in her journey through life, Firstly with Rose and Tony Martinelli, her parents in-law, who she learns to love deeply (and vice versa), and comes to respect more than her own parents (who were not particularly likable). Later, in a Californian migrant tent camp, Elsa befriends Jean Dewey for whom she risks prison to obtain medical help.
Elsa is a strong woman who fights for a better life for her family and her friends during The Great Depression when drought and the failing economy forced hundreds of families from their homes in search of work. Elsa's sense of justice grows as she experiences bigotry and extreme poverty leading to her involvement in a migrant rights movement.
These friendships are about sharing and generosity. Not just of physical things, but of thought, time, and understanding as well. Aziraphale, Crowley, George, Lennie, Elsa, and Jean know the importance of true allies. They fight for each other often to the detriment of their own well-being, all while staying true to their own self.
And isn't that what friendship is all about - truth and understanding?
Who are your favourite fictional friendships? I'd love to hear more about female friendships. I think a lot of the fantasy fiction I've read has strong female characters but I'm not so sure about friendships. It's something I'll be looking out for from now on.