Romantic relationships tend to take center stage when we talk about our favorite relationships, so we decided to show platonic relationships some love (pun intended) this month. We asked our librarians what their favorite platonic relationships in media are, and here are their answers!
When it comes to graphic novels / comics, any platonic relationship Wade Wilson (Deadpool) has is a riot worth reading. Wade and Clint Barton (Hawkeye) are quite the duo when they’re working together and Wade’s moony-eyed reverence of Steve Rogers (Captain America) is always worth reading. Although, one could make the argument that his on again off again friendship with Peter Parker (Spiderman) is romantically one-sided.
Honorable mention to the brothers Cabal from Jonathan L. Howard’s Johannes Cabal novels. Johannes and his brother Horst are darkly hilarious together; often with some resentment between them. I think that makes their relationship more endearing and honest. Even when family has upset you and brought you to your wits end, there is always a connection wrought in childhood that remains…begrudgingly so.
In no real order…
Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg from Discworld – Their strong personalities do tend to clash at times, but they are always there for each other.
Legolas and Gimli from LotR – Their people are antagonistic to the point of almost being enemies on sight, but over the course of the quest, these two become the best of friends.
Dean and Castiel from Supernatural – There is definitely some subtext there, but it has been confirmed to be a platonic relationship (at least for now ;)). These guys will burn the world down for each other, but that doesn’t keep them from messing up and pushing the other one away much of the time.
The Doctor and Donna Noble from Doctor Who – “I just want a mate!” “You’re not mating with me, sunshine!!”. There is absolutely no romance there, and they are one of the best pairings I have seen.
The Addams Family – Even setting aside the very romantic relationship between Gomez and Morticia, the whole family dynamic is wonderfully supportive. The parents engage with their children’s interests and support them totally, the extended family is welcome and valued (Granny and Uncle Fester), and the friends/staff (Lurch and Thing) are a real part of the family.
Doreen and Nancy from Squirrel Girl – Randomly assigned as roommates, they accept and support each other’s oddities, while being realistic about interactions with the outside world.
Boris and Hank from Royal Pains – Hank is one of the few people that Boris trusts completely, and Hank will put his plans and dreams on hold to help Boris.
Merry and Pippin from LotR – These cousins are as close as brothers, always getting each other into and out of the best trouble. They find time for the little moments within the greater Quest.
Morgan and Garcia from Criminal Minds – There is a bit of flirting, but it’s all in good friendly fun.
Vimes and Vetinari from Discworld – Vimes has been described as “Vetinari’s Terrier”, but he’s not afraid to take him down a peg when needed.
Cutter and Skywise from ElfQuest – Brothers in all but blood, these two are so close that they know each other’s soul names, which usually only happens with lifemates.
Great question. A lot of the platonic relationships that came to mind right away turned romantic later (Katsa and Po from Graceling, Lyra and Will from The Golden Compass). Jesse and Leslie from Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson are a great platonic pair (though, had things gone differently, I imagine they might have gotten together when they were older); Leslie upends a lot of Jesse’s ideas about boys’ and girls’ respective roles, and family life, and imagination and play…she just opens the world up to him in ways no one had done before. In a more recent novel, Aza and Daisy from John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down have an amazingly strong friendship where each opens the other one’s eyes to the ways their lived experiences are different. Oh, and the friendship between co-workers Beth and Jennifer in Attachments by Rainbow Rowell is just so true and gossipy and strong and delightful – everyone should be blessed with a co-worker/friend like that, at least once.
In a TV series, I love the friendship between Kimmy, Titus, Jacqueline and Lillian, in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
In books, the friendship between Lyra Belaqua and the bear Iorek Byrnison in The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman is one of my favorite pairings of all time.
I really love stories about sisters, and one of my favorite sisters books is Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Cath and Wren are twin sisters who write fan fiction together, but start to drift apart when they go to college. There are a lot of great things about this book and just thinking about it makes me want to read it again.
The Cahill Witch Chronicles
by Jessica Spotswood is an excellent series about three sisters in an alternative historical New England. They’re witches but have to keep it secret from the ominous Brotherhood who seek out and persecute women for the least offense. A very dark prophecy hangs over the sisters, which makes their relationship even more complicated. It’s one of my favorite teen series although it’s not as well-known as it should be.
I read two books earlier this year that had some very unconventional relationships that I enjoyed reading about. One was A Little Life
by Hanya Yanagihara, in which an adult man befriended an older couple who became parental figures for him. There’s a lot
more going on in this book so I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to say that they end up adopting him, and it was very touching to see this man who had never really had parents finally have some great ones.
The other one was Lab Girl
by Hope Jahren, a memoir about a scientist and her work. She had a friendship with a man that remained platonic, but very close. He was sort of an outcast who sometimes lived in a vehicle or a lab. Once they started working together, they were pretty much a package deal – when Hope got a job out of state, she just took Bill with her. I really loved reading about their friendships, adventures, and how they helped each other through hard times.
- Edward & Alphonse Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist are a pair of brothers who will do anything for each other. The whole series revolves around their quest to help Al restore his body & Ed to restore his leg and arm – all of which were lost in an alchemy accident when the brothers tried to bring their mother back to life.
- Steven & EVERYONE from Steven Universe. Steven is the ultimate friend maker! He’s so lovable, it’s hard to resist his earnest & sunny disposition. I love how Steven’s solution to many problems is to talk, listen, and make friends with villains that in other shows would simply get beaten in a fight. I’m so curious to see where the story goes & how Steven deals with villains that don’t want to talk things out.
- The Sailor Scouts from Sailor Moon have such a great dynamic together. They’re all so different, but there are so many sweet moments between them and a lot of good natured ribbing.
- The Benton sisters from Jem & the Holograms in both the comic book & TV show iterations. They may clash over things, but you can really tell there’s a strong undercurrent of love and support there.
- Kell & Rhy from the Shades of Magic series have a really strong familial bond. Kell was adopted by the royal family, to which Rhy is the only son. He always wondered if the king & queen adopted him because they cared about him, or simply because he is a rare and powerful dimension traveling mage known as an antari. Kell may have questioned his adoptive parents’ motivations for adopting him, but never questioned his brother’s love for him. I don’t want to spoil anything, but Kell really goes above and beyond at the end of the first book in showing how much he cares for Rhy.
- May & Libby from I Am Princess X were best friends, until a horrible accident took Libby’s life. Or did it? May sees stickers for the comic they created together, but never put online, and becomes convinced she’s her best friend’s only hope for survival.
- Julie & Chet from Moonstruck are adorable monster friends & coworkers! They have such fun banter!
- All of the relationships in the Wayfarers series. There are too many great platonic relationships in this series to go in to detail about them all. Ashby & Sissix, Jenks & Kizzy, Pepper & Owl, Tak & Sidra, Kip & Eyas, Tessa & her family. All have such different relationships but are so fantastically developed.
- Al & Sulla from O, Human Star have a kind of uncle/niece type relationship, despite the fact that Sulla is actually a clone of Al. It’s fascinating to see how their relationship develops from Sulla being curious & kind of putting Al on a pedestal to learning that he’s only human, and Al’s wariness that eventually warms, as he begins to care for her & see pieces of himself in her.
- House of Xtravaganza from The House of Impossible Beauties are a group of people who go through hell but get through it by being there for and loving each other. Their own families didn’t work for them, so they found each other and made their own. They go through so many devastating things, but are always there for each other.
Raleigh and Mako – Pacific Rim
Zoe and Mal – Firefly
Leslie and Ron – Parks and Rec
Janet and Michael – The Good Place
All the friendships in Holes by Louis Sachar
Harry and Hermione, Harry and Luna – Harry Potter Series
Han and Chewie – Star Wars
Finn and Jake – Adventure Time
Merry and Pippin – Lord of the Rings
What are your favorite platonic relationships? Tell us in the comments below!