Friends are wonderful, precious people. I love friends. I’m a sucker for stories with strong friendships, so I ranked my top five fictional friendships. All but one pair of the friends I’ve listed are between males – unless you want to also discount the man-and-animal pairs – and I think that’s because, out of my many fandoms, I tend to like good male relationships and not seen have much in the way of solid female friendships that I can point to and say, “Yeah, I want to be like that with my friends.” And how many stories have male-and-female friendships that don’t end up being romantic? But I digress.
These two have been around since my childhood. I grew up watching Anne and Diana’s friendship bud at a church picnic, blossom at school, and persevere through the bumps of growing up. I’ve always thought the two of them had a beautiful (if at times odd) relationship, what with the way they stuck by each other and supported each other. Through the years, they’ve done their part in demonstrating what a strong friendship looks like.
Half of this friendship is based on insulting each other, I know. Which turns out to be good humour for the rest of us and I guess character-building for the two of them? Anyway. What I like about Arthur and Merlin is that, despite having started on the wrong foot and the constant ribbing, the two of them really do look out for each other and will willingly get into all sorts of trouble and peril to see each other through. Even if one is a “royal prat” and the other is a sometimes less-than-ideal manservant. The main bummer of this relationship is that Merlin does not trust Arthur with his earth-shattering secret (and Arthur indicates several times that, should he ever find out, said secret would likely be a deal-breaker). Yet even in the face of this knowledge, Merlin still throws his all into his friendship with Arthur and his mission to help Arthur become the king he is destined to be.
I’ll be honest: I did not expect a Dreamworks film about Vikings and dragons to impress me. Yet, these films have completely won me over, one of the big factors being the bond between Hiccup and Toothless. Besides being quite dependent on each other (Toothless moreso, what with his injury), these two are inseparable and formidable, but also very clearly best friends. They do almost everything together from play to battle and with such great communication that they are, effectively, each other’s essential halves.
The last king of Narnia and his Unicorn friend have a relationship similar to that of Hiccup and Toothless (or rather, the other way around, since Narnia pre-dates HTTYD, but anyway). Their friendship runs deeper than of the aforementioned pair, however, as Jewel is a sentient being (rather than an incredibly smart animal) and has no dependency on Tirian. One need not find any other words to describe their relationship than Lewis’ own: how they saved each other in battles, how they loved each other as brothers, how Jewel surrendered himself with Tirian even though he didn’t have to, how Tirian asked for forgiveness for any possible wrong and Jewel answered that he almost wished there was a wrong he could forgive, how Tirian slept against Jewel before the last battle…. Especially against the dark backdrop of the final days of Narnia, their friendship is one of the bright spots of the story.
If you know me remotely at all, you knew these two would at least be on this list if not in the #1 spot. Few things scream “true friendship” as loudly as Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins. Books and films alike, their friendship is like a clear star shining down on the bleakness of Mordor. If it hadn’t been for Sam, there’s no way Frodo would have made it… anywhere. Poor bloke was constantly threatened one way or another and it was only his dear Sam that was able to see that he made it through alright. Into lands unknown, uncomfortable situations, creepy places, the thick of danger, water he couldn’t swim, and the depths of Mount Doom itself, Sam followed Frodo relentlessly, faithfully. Sam cared for him, put Frodo’s needs before his own, saved his hide multiple times. Yeah, I know I’m making this sound one-sided (partly because it’s been a couple years since I’ve read the books), but seriously: “I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you!” If that’s not one of the best examples pure, raw love (outside of the real world and the cross), I don’t know what is.
And, for good measure, the LotR musical has a beautiful song about them.