I love books. I love words.
I am doing the 30-day book challenge to get some conversations started about books. Please do join in with a comment on your own books – or a link to your own post!
Day 20 and the next prompt is:
What is your favourite love story?
The original prompt is what is your favourite “romance novel” and I can’t say I read books from that genre. So I have changed the prompt – my blog; my rules! Hah. Not that anyone will read this sentence anyway…
The love story doesn’t have to be the main theme of the book. Nor does it have to be romantic love. For example the relationship between Sam and Frodo in Lord of the Rings is one love story in a book filled with love stories.
I had to think about this one. My first instinct was to pick something traditional and normative. Arthur and Guinevere . Romeo and Juliet. Tristan and Isolde. Penelope and Odysseus. Alexander and Hephaestion . Those are a few of the traditional great romantic love stories. And yet I cannot claim any of those are my favorite. Some have a variety of folk versions and adaptations. I am perhaps a bit of an odd duck in that I find standard “romantic tropes” a bit tired and unsatisfying. In some ways each of those famous romances are about the impossible and unattainable. They are lovely boxes of chocolate but the coconut cremes are horrid and fake. Oh cynical me.
In the end I had to pick this love story. Not a romance. Instead it is the love story of nurturing and friendship. The relationship of Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth is one of the great entanglements of fiction.
Alfred cares for the orphan Bruce Wayne out of a sense of loyalty and duty – yet also out of a sense of genuine nurturing love. Alfred doesn’t always agree with Bruce/Batman, and there are many instances were Alfred points out the consequences of a choice and offers another path. Alfred is foster-father, obi-wan-mentor, and simply a good friend to Bruce Wayne.
The story-arc of Bruce Wayne and the birth of a heroic Batman is not possible without the catalyst of Alfred. Yet Alfred also needs Bruce to give meaning to his own life. Other parallel relationship in fiction are Holmes-Watson; Rocket-Groot; Or even Xena and Gabrielle in the Xena TV series.
Constant companions and true friends – indulging in vices and binding each others wounds. And in the end each is the others anchor and sanity check that keeps them from embracing their inner darkness all alone in the night.