For Valentine’s Day, we thought it might be interesting to stop worrying about our own love lives and instead think about fictional couples we love. This can include couples who are endgame and those who don’t quite end up together (much to our eternal torment). Get some friends together and read or watch these instead of worry about a date.
Alanna and George, Tamora Pierce’s The Song of the Lioness quartet:
Alanna is a fierce, hardworking woman and George is a snarky troublemaker who has a heart of gold. I was introduced to Tamora Pierce’s work in middle school, and she remains one of my favorite authors to this day. I’ve reread the Alanna series four or five times over the years, and I never grow tired of it. Alanna disguises herself as a boy in order to train to become a knight in the kingdom of Trebond. Soon after she moves to the city, she meets George, the king of the thieves, and they strike up an unlikely friendship. Their relationship works because they never take one another for granted. George is used to “friends” using him to secure shady, underground deals and is pleasantly surprised to find out Alanna cares about him, not his title. Alanna, on the other hand, wants to be accepted for who she is. She worked hard for her knighthood and wants to fulfill her personal and professional goals. George doesn’t pressure her to conform to the expectations of those around her and is always there to offer comfort. They work together flawlessly while maintaining their own ambitions, making them one of the most fleshed-out, and rootable, couples in literature. —Jessica Thelander
Dean and Seamus, Harry Potter series:
There’s not a ton of canon evidence to support this ship. In fact, when I declared that Dean and Seamus were one of my OTPs, I actually had a friend ask “Why? I don’t feel like I know anything about them.” So I don’t know exactly where it came from. Maybe the fact that they were just so freaking stoked to see each other at the Battle of Hogwarts and my brain immediately flipped to war-time romance? Whatever the case, I love the idea of these two best buds who are constantly in the shadow slowly realizing how much they care about each other. When things don’t work out with Ginny, Dean has someone to turn to. He could draw portraits for Seamus’ mom (which I’m positive she loves, by the way). Their muggle and mixed heritage give them a similarity and understanding of where the other one is coming from. Plus, Hogwarts really needs more LGBT characters, let’s be real. My favorite piece of evidence is this: if you go check out their Wiki pages (Dean’s here and Seamus’ here), Rowling hasn’t stated that either one gets married to a lady and has kids. They definitely run off together after the war and go do their thing. —Gabs Roman
Johannes Cabal and Leone Barrow, The Johannes Cabal series by Jonathan L Howard:
Everyone knows that my favorite OTP of all OTPs is Hades and Persephone. I’ve talked at length about how complex and cool Persephone is, and I could probably continue to talk at length about how they are, in fact, probably one of the healthiest relationships in Greek mythology. They’ve been my OTP since I was eight years old, and probably will continue to be for years to come. A more recent addition to my OTP circle includes Johannes Cabal and Leone Barrow, the lovably acerbic duo from The Johannes Cabal series, by Jonathan L Howard. Cabal is a self-reliant, self-preserving necromancer who bends the rules of morality (and mortality) for his own, sometimes unsavory, ends, and Leone is the strong-willed, highly moral daughter of a policeman, who takes her father’s sense of right and wrong to heart and becomes an intelligent, caustic thorn in Cabal’s side. As far as I know nothing has happened between them yet (I’ve only read the first two books in the series), but I’ve shipped this pair since their first bit of high-tension banter. Make no mistake, Cabal isn’t the definition of a good man, but Leone brings out the best in him, what little of it there is. I don’t care if they get together in series, but I’m delighted any time they share a scene together. —Olivia Woods
Zuko and Katara, Avatar: The Last Airbender:
Before watching A:tLA, I had always shipped with the current. I had never experienced the complete heartbreak of a non-canon ship. Katara is a simple waterbender from the South Pole, and Zuko is the crown prince of the Fire Nation (and also happens to be hunting down Katara and her friends), but despite the fact that they start off enemies, they actually have a lot in common and are able to respect each other as equals. They are both masters of their element, they both have issues from losing their mothers at a young age, and neither of them feel quite right in the place that they are supposed to call home. After Zuko comes to his senses and joins up with his former enemies to defeat his father, the evil Phoenix King Ozai, things aren’t always smooth sailing between him and Katara. But they take the time listen to each other AND they call each other out on their respective bullshit, making Team Avatar a more functional and efficient force. I was absolutely convinced when the finale came that Zutara would reign supreme, and I was incredibly disappointed when the Avatar got the girl (despite the fact that Katara had rebuffed him on multiple occasions). —Erin E. Rand
Naruto and Hinata, Naruto:
I really struggled on who I should pick for my OTP because I’ve been an obsessive shipper since the age of 9 and I’ve had so many OTPs throughout the years. My head wants me to pick a ship that’s cool and clever, or funny and unproblematic—but my heart has to go with the ship that means the most to me personally, which would be Naruto and Hinata from Naruto.
Yes, judge me if you will. Even after my interest waned in Naruto as a series, I still had to follow along because I was so invested in these two characters. They seemed an unlikely pair at a glance: Naruto was brash and annoying; Hinata painfully shy and a bit of a pushover. Yet the more we see them interact, the more it becomes evident that they actually share similar passions. Naruto is an orphan who will do anything to be acknowledged by his peers by proving them wrong; Hinata is the disowned daughter of an aristocratic family who wants to prove she can become stronger. Because of their shared struggle, Hinata is the only one out of her peer group to see underneath Naruto’s troubled exterior, and she is the only one Naruto can admit his insecurities to. It takes some time for Naruto to notice Hinata because of her reserved nature, but he grows to fiercely respect her, and ultimately (after like, 700 chapters) reciprocates her feelings. While their “shippy” moments are rare, their scenes are always intimate, touching, and intense. I’ll never forget when Hinata “died” sacrificing herself for Naruto…the internet broke before the chapter was even released.
Although the ship has its flaws, I do like that there is a lot of room for creativity in how these two opposite, yet complementary, characters grew closer. I’ve always identified with “underdog” sorts of characters, and to me, NaruHina is the ultimate example of unconditional love. They’re sweet and fluffy; they’re touching; they kick ass together. They love each other because of their faults, making me love their strange little relationship all the more. —Katy Mastrocola
Blue Sargent and Richard Gansey III, The Raven Cycle:
Blue and Gansey are the definition of star-crossed lovers. For those not familiar with Maggie Stiefvater’s YA fantasy series The Raven Cycle, it’s fated that when Blue finally kisses her true love, he will die. And her true love is Gansey. The final book is pubbing this April, and Raven Boy fangirls everywhere are waiting with bated breath to see how it all shakes out. Maggie Stiefvater is adamant that Gansey is going to bite the dust in the end, but I’m still holding on to hope that it will all work out (I’m a hopeless romantic). If you haven’t read the series yet, the writing is beautiful, the characters are flawed and fantastic, and the world-building is original and exciting. I highly recommend it. —Rosie Gutmann