Famous Literary Friendships
Friends come in different shapes and sizes - sweet, honest, funny, serious, smart, practical, supportive. Here are a few iconic friendships from books you love. Which one is your favourite?
By Kerina De Floras • 12 min read
It was war.
What choice did we have?
Vishnu had invited Diya to her birthday party, even after I had made it clear that I did not want her there. Who would like to watch someone else spend time with your best friend when you were around? Vishnu didn’t understand. She said “She is fun! Come on!” It only made things worse. The next morning there was a commotion outside our house. I was about to escape into my room when mom caught me. I don’t know if it was me, but she looked like she was trying hard not to laugh. Outside, I caught a glimpse of Vishnu’s face – red with fury. Beside her was her dad, also sporting a funny expression that looked like something between a laugh and a surprise. They were all looking at his two-wheeler, which now had a mound of sand on the seat. Well, what more could a second grader do to show her fury? Our parents were hardly surprised when Vishnu and I walked home, hand in hand that evening after school. They probably predicted that our friendship was one of a kind which would grow over the years – and it did.
Friendships like these teach us life’s most important lessons – trust, unconditional love, believing in yourself and always having each other’s backs. They say things are never quite scary when you have a best friend. Well, it is true. What can go wrong when you have someone as crazy as you by your side? To give you a taste of some remarkable friendships and the qualities they teach us, we took a page out of these books – literally. These friendships from books show us what it is to be selfless, honest, wild and share the same free spirit with someone. Which one of these is your child’s favourite literary friendship?
Sherlock and Watson
“It was indeed like old times when, at that hour I found myself seated beside him in a hansom, my revolver in my pocket, and the thrill of adventure in my heart” – John Watson, ‘The Empty House’
When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes in 1887, he also gave us a peek into a friendship like no other – that of Holmes and Watson. What starts as a formal relationship between roommates grows over the years into a stronger bond, with both characters always looking out for each other. Holmes and Watson are people with completely opposite views, and yet they complement each other wonderfully. Holmes is a brilliant detective with an incredible eye for detail. He trusts Watson to help him drive his theories and consults him for social norms that he disregards. Watson is intelligent, witty and sarcastic, keeping Holmes grounded while learning immensely from him. Looking at their friendship makes you want a similar one in real life – one with a balance of the head and the heart.
Harry, Ron and Hermione
“I’m going to bed, before either of you come up with a clever idea to get us killed – or worse, expelled” – Hermione Granger, ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’
JK Rowling’s magical world of Harry Potter focuses on this trio’s friendship from the start to the finish – and for good reason. From the time they meet on the train to Hogwarts in their first year, till the final battle in their last year, these three have shown how real friends never give up on each other. When they need to solve a problem, they rely on each other’s strengths and when in trouble, they cover for each other. Another significant highlight about this friendship is that they are brutally honest to one another. Isn’t that how your friends keep a check on you too? These three refuse to back down even when their friendship is put to the test and go to great lengths to save each other’s lives. Harry is a remarkably brave boy who bears the responsibility of defeating the Dark Lord to save the magical community. Ron is like the family Harry never had, and the friend who brings him to his senses when he tries to venture into danger. Hermione is the brilliant friend who knows every spell in every book and always looks out for Harry. Together they stand unbeatable – in friendship and in the war raging around them.
Frodo and Sam
Frodo: “Go back, Sam! I’m going to Mordor alone”
Sam: “Of course you are, and I’m coming with you!”
– ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’
If your friend is entrusted with a dangerous mission, would you accompany him? Samwise Gamgee from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ passes the ultimate friendship test by doing just that when he accompanies Frodo Baggins to Mordor. Rather than just being an aid during their perilous journey to destroy the ‘Ring’, Sam remains Frodo’s loyal sidekick till they accomplish their mission. Even when Frodo feels Sam must not accompany him and when he feels the weight of the mission on his head, Sam never leaves his side and keeps urging him to go on. Wouldn’t we all love a friend like that? Sam goes on to save Frodo’s life and their friendship helps them succeed. Sam and Frodo are examples of a strong, intimate and eternal friendship that we all wish we had.
Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn
Tom: “So why'd you come back Huck?
Huck: When a friend’s in trouble, you don't run away”
- 'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn'
Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are two close friends with contrasting personalities. While Tom lives in a well-respected family, Huck is an abandoned kid who lives on the streets. Although they differ in their opinions, they are united by their love for adventure. Tom and Huck never say no to an adventure that comes their way, be it exploring a cave or running away to an island to find treasures. They value their friendship more than anything else and even take a ‘blood oath’ to keep their plans a secret. Tom stands up for Huck when people push him away and spends time with him even when told not to. Huck remains calm and sensible even when Tom makes complicated plans in their thrill seeking episodes. Tom and Huck are examples of loyal friends who don’t shy away from crazy adventures. There is only one rule – you can have an experience of a lifetime, as long as you are in it together.
The March sisters
“Life is too short to be angry at one’s sisters” – Jo March, ‘Little Women’
This classic tale of four sisters set in the 19th century has enchanted readers with its heart-warming narration. Meg is beautiful and sweet, Jo is a tomboy who is a writer, Beth is a calm musician, and Amy is pampered and artistic. The sisters are each other’s support system, despite their differences. While Jo and Amy are at war over priorities and love, Jo is a second mother to her young sisters, caring for them and keeping them on the right track. Older sister Meg is their rock of support and always seems to know what to do in dire situations. This family shows us how sisters can be the best of friends and stick together, support each other’s dreams, and hold down the fort to protect each other in every way.
Darcy and Bingley
Bingley: “Well, then maybe your horse will somehow get loose tomorrow! Just think of the many ways I can make your life miserable while you're here.”
Darcy: “Oh Bingley, all right, all right. No need to make a fool of yourself. I'll come.”
Darcy: “Just try not to introduce me to anyone”
- 'Pride and Prejudice'
As is evident from the friendly banter between these gentlemen, Mr Darcy and Mr Bingley are striking personalities who share a special bond. Even though they both grow up in wealthy families, and have been friends for a long time, Darcy and Bingley couldn’t be more different. While Darcy is perceived as arrogant and proud, Bingley has more pleasing manners and is popular among the two. Despite this, Bingley relies on Darcy’s advice for everything, including his decision on marriage. Darcy never fails to look out for his friend and always tries to steer him in the right path. Bingley encourages his friend to be more open to people, and that is how Darcy meets Elizabeth Bennet, whom he marries later. Darcy and Bingley’s friendship is an example of how two men with contrasting opinions can still need each other for support.
These are just a few heart-stirring friendships that books have given us. Other favourites like James and Sirius from the Harry Potter series, Elizabeth and Charlotte from ‘Pride and Prejudice’, Jo and Laurie from ‘Little Women’, and Calvin and Hobbes also make us appreciate the friends we are blessed with. Help your child understand more about the values one attains through friendship by urging her to read these books. You might also want to call your friends and let them know how annoyingly awesome they are!
About the author:
Written by Kerina De Floras on 10 September 2020.
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