Monday, February 6, 2012

My Top 5 Fictional Couples

In honor of Valentine's Day, I've been thinking about what makes certain fictional couples so memorable. Is it the chemistry they have together? The snappy dialogue? The meaningful looks? Or is it the obstacles they must overcome on the way to love? There are some movies I can watch over and over again and certain books I've read dozens of time primarily because they contain a magical and timeless romance. Here are 5 of my all-time favorite fictional couples and their most memorable scenes:
 
5. Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund (Casablanca)
I love the sense of history and sacrifice in this romance, the acknowledgment that there’s something bigger at stake than two people. So often, love is portrayed in melodramatic fashion—two lovers who would do anything, risk anything to be together. But here, Rick does the right thing while delivering one of the most romantic speeches in cinema.

Favorite scene:
Ilsa: But what about us?
Rick: We'll always have Paris. We didn't have; we, we lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.
Ilsa: When I said I would never leave you.
Rick: And you never will. But I've got a job to do, too. Where I'm going, you can't follow. What I've got to do, you can't be any part of. Ilsa, I'm no good at being noble, but it doesn't take much to see that the problems of three little people don't amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you'll understand that. (Ilsa cries.) Here’s lookin’ at you, kid.

4. Benedick and Beatrice (Much Ado About Nothing)
This is a relationship that begins in verbal wordplay and ends in a dramatic climax that tests the lovers’ mettle. For all the laughs, the love between Beatrice and her Benedick is no joke; when Beatrice asks Benedick to kill for her, he’s ready to do whatever it takes to prove his devotion.

Favorite scene:
Beatrice: Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.
Benedick: Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.
Beatrice: I took no more pains for those thanks than you take pains to thank me: if it had been painful, I would not have come.
Benedick: You take pleasure then in the message?
Beatrice: Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's point ... You have no stomach, signior? Fare you well. (Exit.)
Benedick: Ha! 'Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner;' there's a double meaning in that...

3. Han Solo and Princess Leia (Star Wars)
I’m not usually a fan of the cocky, arrogant love interest, but no one does swagger quite like Harrison Ford. And this is no insta-love; Han and Leia have to overcome some serious obstacles in order to be together. Plus, for a PG-rated film, the chemistry is pretty sizzling.

Favorite scene:
[Han kisses Leia and is taken by storm troopers to the carbon-freezing chamber.]
Princess Leia: I love you.
Han Solo: I know.

2. Elizabeth Bennett and Fitzwilliam Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)
The verbal fireworks alone are worth the price of admission; all that passion simmering under a veneer of 19th century politeness makes for some compelling reading. And Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth’s performances were spot-on; the scene in which they make googly eyes at each other across the piano is so romantic and lovely.

Favorite scene:
"I remember, when we first knew her in Hertfordshire, how amazed we all were to find that she was a reputed beauty; and I particularly recollect your saying one night, after they had been dining at Netherfield, "She a beauty!—I should as soon call her mother a wit.'' But afterwards she seemed to improve on you, and I believe you thought her rather pretty at one time."

"Yes," replied Darcy, who could contain himself no longer, "but that was only when I first knew her, for it is many months since I have considered her as one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance."

1. Jane Eyre and Edward Rochester (Jane Eyre)
Of course, you knew this was going to be my first choice. But seriously, the slow burn of passion between Rochester and Jane is full of such restraint, angst, and poignancy—it’s just a brilliantly executed romance. When they finally get together, Rochester has redeemed himself, and Jane has become a strong, independent woman. Only after Rochester has paid for his mistakes does Jane give in to her feelings. There’s no more satisfying line in literature than: “Reader, I married him.”

Favorite scene:

 “Am I hideous, Jane?”
“Very, sir; you always were, you know.”
“Humph! The wickedness has not been taken out of you, wherever you have sojourned.”
“Yet I have been with good people; far better than you: a hundred times better people.”
“Who the deuce have you been with?”
“You shall not get it out of me to-night, sir; you must wait till to-morrow.”
“Just one word, Jane; were there only ladies in the house where you have been?”

Rochester’s insecurity in this scene is just so adorable!

Who are your favorite fictional couples? If you haven’t already, stop by my website and take the quiz to find your literary soul mate! http://evemariemont.com/extras.html

6 comments:

  1. Oh yes! Those last three are the ones I would have mentioned all on my own! Especially the last two. I can read every version and incarnation of Elizabeth & Darcy, and Jane and Rochester, and always want more, more, more!

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  2. I love the Beatrice & Benedick relationship! They embody witty banter :D Love the "there's a double meaning in that" line! Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson both put in a superb performance in that film.

    And of course I adore Elizabeth & Darcy :D

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  3. just found your lovely blog :) i like-y what i see!

    nightstand

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  4. Oh, I definitely love these!
    Elizabeth and Darcy are probably my top pics! They make my heart melt. But I LOVE that scene from Jane Eyre!

    Beautiful blog!!!

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  5. What a great list! I was a huge fan of Casablanca and Much Ado About Nothing as a teen, Han & Leia are a great, and overlooked, couple.
    Thanks for sharing!

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