“Only 20 lines of dialogue later, I knew he/she was the one.”
Love is something that doesn’t just happen. Love at first sight isn’t exactly an accurate term to describe how you felt upon first seeing your significant other. You may have felt an attraction. After talking, you probably felt a spark, but I’m willing to bet it wasn’t love. Sadly this is something I say is probably a result of the written word—various works have romanticized romance and made it seem like true love could happen overnight. Of course Disney and Hollywood have done nothing to help clear this view, but hey, written works were around first. Note: Keep in mind this list is limited to books that I have read!
4. Sabriel and Touchstone
from Garth Nix’s Sabriel
The Old Kingdom series is amazing. Necromancy, a sarcastic demon bound in cat form, battles, magic, and of course bells with more magical power than Harry Houdini. Oh, and love, if you could call it that. The first book in Nix’s trilogy is the only one that really focuses any part of it on love and two characters falling for each other. Or it would, if these characters actually had enough interaction for me to believe it. Sabriel found Touchstone during her journey, and at the time he was nothing more than stone due to a spell that had been put on him. Sabriel breaks the spell and gains a new traveling companion. It is mentioned how she is attracted to him, and during the very brief time they interact I guess one could argue there is plenty of evidence of love, but I didn’t see it. These two barely have any moments together and the story focuses much more on the story than the romance. This isn’t a huge offender, and this relationship isn’t a big part of the story, but it irks me nonetheless. The good news is in the next two books they are married and there is actually a bit more “Aw, they love each other”.
3. Romeo and Juliet
from Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.
First things first: This story is not a love story. It is not a romance. It is a tragedy. I side with those who say that no matter what Romeo supposedly did to show his love, no matter how sure Juliet was that he was the one, these two were not really in love. They wanted to bang each other. That’s where their love lies—in lust. At the start of the play, Romeo was “madly in love” with Rosaline. Then something hotter walked by and he was in love with that. Basically Romeo had the attention span of a 14-year-old boy when it came to women. Juliet’s issue was a common one that stems from a young girl’s desire to find love even if she doesn’t fully understand what it is. For this to work there has to be a mutual attraction, yes, but there still isn’t any love in it. They rush to get married and what is the first thing they do? They run off to have sex. “But wait Snarky, all married people do that!” Married people who have known each other for a total of… what, a few weeks maybe? No. People who do that are usually married by a justice of the peace wearing a wig and a white jumpsuit and end up asking for a divorce the second the booze wears off. Shakespeare’s pretty words clouded our minds and made us think what we were reading was love in its purest form. Romeo and Juliet do not make up the greatest love story of all time; they make up the greatest tragedy, and show us that when you think with whatever sex organ you have, it will end badly.
2. Bella Swan and Edward Cullen
from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight
Be honest, if I didn’t put them on here, you’d think I was ill. I’m not even doing it out of pure hate for the series—I’m doing it because this is an honest to god bad relationship. As little development as the previous characters get, there might be even less between Edward and Bella. Meyer suffers from some kind of “Romeo and Juliet” syndrome, but worse. Not only do these characters only seem to want in each other’s pants and express attraction solely based on physical traits, everything that has the potential to create a romantic situation is handled horribly. I don’t need to go into specifics, since many of you no doubt know just how horrible this relationship actually is, but I will say this much: Edward’s attraction to Bella is based solely on the scent of her blood, and Bella’s attraction to Edward is based solely on his appearance. Seriously, the only times Bella notes anything about Edward, they’re either negative or something about one of his many amazing features. That does not, in any way, make for even a remotely decent couple. The only saving grace keeping this couple from earning the top spot is that Meyer has not shown us that she is able to write a couple that isn’t god-awfully-stupid, unlike the creator of the top couple…
1. Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley
from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter
I would love to lie to you all and tell you it pains me to have Harry and Ginny on this list, but I’m just not comfortable with that degree of lying. A lot of you are more than aware how things went between them in the movies and point out how badly their romance was done. Sadly it’s in the books too. There is close to nothing between these two in the books. In fact, Harry spends much more time thinking about Cho Chang than any other girl mentioned. Then in Half-Blood Prince Ginny suddenly becomes some kind of pseudo-Mary Sue who is beautiful and smart and attracting all of these guys… and sadly Harry becomes a few different kinds of “I WANT.” Sure, their relationship has its cute, sweet moments, but other than those rare instances of aw, there’s nothing. There is the tiniest possibility of Harry having pent-up feelings for Ginny, but I’m not buying it. The timing for when he realized them was just too convenient, what with Ginny becoming all perfect out of nowhere. Maybe part of why this is so horrible is we get Ron and Hermione to look at in the same series. Their relationship takes time. It has ups, downs, good times, bad times, and we see them all. Even Snape and Lily had more development, and they never got togehter! That’s why this relationship is deserving of the top spot—readers know full and well that JKR can in fact write a developed couple. She just really dropped the ball with Ginny and Harry. She had the room and numerous chances to work towards their relationship, to make it seem like more than an instance of “Hey, you got hawt”, and she didn’t take it. Yes, the second book had a Harry-Ginny bit started, but it almost seems like Rowling totally abandoned that until it was too late to get any actual development done. Maybe Ginny never lost her crush on Harry, but that never seemed apparent, so it’s probably safe to say she only wanted Harry if he wanted her or something along those lines… Sadly some fans see development through their rose-colored glasses, but not I, even being a slightly obsessive fangirl.
There you have it. I was originally going to do a Top 5, but to save my life I could not find another couple to add to this list. I thought about adding Victor Frankenstein and Elizabeth Lavenza, but couldn’t bring myself to do it, especially since we didn’t really see both sides to their relationship, and when I compared them to the others on this list it just didn’t feel right.
However, if any of you have suggestions for characters with undeveloped romances that you think I should have included, feel free to suggest them! I’d be happy to find the book and see for myself just how badly the development is handled. My bookshelf may hate you though.