Monday, March 7, 2011

Top Ten Dynamic Duos

This week the Broke and the Bookish are discussing powerful duos -- best friends, nemeses, and couples.

1. Harry Potter and Lord Voldemort (Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling)

These two are tied together by prophecy, destined for mutual destruction -- for neither can live while the other survives. Potter's role in Voldemort's first defeat, his rebirth, and his eventual downfall drive the Potter series. They're also tied together in a more...personal way, which i'll not mention for those who haven't read from Order of the Phoenix on.

2. Elijah Baley and R. Daneel Olivaw  (Robots series, Isaac Asimov)
Elijah Baley is a curmudgeonly detective who doesn't like robots and has no interest in space. Naturally, he's paired with a robot and sent into space to solve crimes. I loved seeing Baley mature to the point that he regarded Daneel as a friend.

3. Gene and Phineas, A Separate Peace (John Knowles)
These two are best friends, but the relationship is clearly unhealthy and  antagonistic at times. I'd comment further, but for fear of spoiling a classic for someone who's not read it...

4. Risika and Aubrey, In the Forests of the Night
Risika and Aubrey are both vampires taken by the same woman, Aether, and locked in a relationship of mutual hatred.  They are two of the most powerful vampires living, and both pride and contempt for the other keep them one from acknowledging the other as greater. Their cat-and-mouse game drives the book until they finally descend into a final conflict.

5. Kirk and Spock
The picture that launched a thousand fanzines...

Possibly cheating even that their relationship first appeared on television, but it's been further developed in countless novels. Besides, I'd be remiss in not mentioning them! According to Michael Okuda,  Kirk and his two best friends were complements of the other:  Spock represented logic, McCoy humanistic emotion, and Kirk the strength of will. (Okuda contributed heavily to TOS and TNG: his comments on the trio come from "The Conscience of the King"'s text commentary.)

6. David and Goliath, Hebrew texts
You undoubtedly recognize the reference and know what it means, but I doubt that many people are aware of the original story -- in which a boy, disgusted by the cowardice of his kin, takes up the sling and throws rocks at a giant's head,  knocking him unconscious and then slaying him with his own sword.  That's actually more impressive to me than the stone-throwing, because how did a little kid manage to saw off a grown man's head with a sword bigger than himself?

7, Sherlock Holmes and Mr. Watson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
It's been years since I read any of the Holmes stories, but these two sprang to mind fairly quickly upon reading the subject for this week.

8. Horatio Hornblower and William Bush (Horatio Hornblower series, C.S. Forester)

Hornblower and Bush are introduced in Captain Horatio Hornblower, and the A&E movies show their meeting. Their close camaraderie -- Bush is as close to a friend as Hornblower ever has in the book series -- makes the end of the Napoleonic wars particularly poignant. Hornblower is marked by his formality, reserve, and introspection, but he and Mr. Bush are obviously fond of each other:  Bush, the ever-faithful lieutenant, made Hornblower more human.

9. The Narrator and Merlin, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, Mark Twain
The narrator is a 19th century man thrown back into the 700s or so, where he decides to remake the medieval world into a semblance of his own. Progressive and intellectual, his greatest foe is Merlin -- who represents tradition, authority, and superstition. When I read this for the first time, I remember despising Merlin and even today...

10. Sidney Carton and Charles Darnay, A Tale of Two Cities & A Far Better Rest, Charles Dickens and Suzanne Alleyn.

The lives of these two lookalikes converge repeatedly before and during the French Revolution, and their love for the same woman will save the one and redeem the other.


  1. I sadly have to confess that I have read very few of the books you mentioned, though I've heard of some of the famous duos. I had Harry Potter on my list. I've never read any Star Trek books, though I love the old TV show!


  2. I've only read about half of these, but it looks like a great list! I'm gonna have to look into some of them.

  3. I should probably be embarrassed to admit this, but I had no idea the Star Trek series was developed into books.

  4. Ooh, Harry and Voldemort- interesting! I stuck more to duos that actually like each other though...

    You can see my list here :)

  5. I often wonder if all relationships like that of the Separate Peace friends are both friendly and competitive. Or perhaps that's just me....

    I decided to focus this time on oppositional duos in children's books. Here's my post:

  6. Kirk & Spock!! That's awesome! Great picks!

    New follower :)
    Jess @ Gone with the Words

  7. Wow, Gene and Finny is a great choice. Wish I'd thought of that. Kirk and Spock and Harry and Voldemort are good ones, too. Nice list!

  8. Great interesting choices!

    My list is HERE

  9. great choices, pls stop by and see mine.

  10. Nice twist on the Harry Potter duo- I, like many others paired him with R& H... way to think outside the box!

  11. I love your list! What a unique perspective on some of the relationships, especially Harry Potter and Voldemort!

  12. I love your list! What a unique perspective on some of the relationships, especially Harry Potter and Voldemort!

  13. Harry/Voldemort and Kirk/Spock for the win. What a great list.

  14. Good call on the Harry / Voldy - you can't argue the connection. I also had Holmes and Watson!

  15. @Ms. Dawn: Not the first time I've heard that, but Trek has been available in book form since the '70s, at least. :) First there were novelizations of the scripts, then ("Mission to Hortensious") original plots.

  16. "Star Trek"! Win. Which do you prefer, Spock or Kirk? I think you're also the only person I've seen who lists a duo that are enemies. Harry and Voldemort make for some powerful storytelling. Great list!

  17. @ Couch Potato:

    Oh, I'd think I'd have to go with Spock. :) His logic-centered reserve gives him an entirely different perspective than most of the other characters.

  18. @smellincoffee, I like Spock the best too. I think he's one of the most interesting characters in the series (although I admit I don't know a whole lot about some of the newer/more obscure characters).

  19. Wow! Ilike your two selections Sidney Carton & Charles Darnay, and Harry & Voldemort. Great list. Here's mine.


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