Thursday, February 14, 2013

Twu Wuv

Happy Valentine's Day! I'm not a big fan of this holiday, and not just because I'm terminally single. I just think it sort of saps the romance out of things to have a particular day arbitrarily declared to be a day for romance, whether or not it actually means anything to you. It seems far better for each couple to find their own days and ways to celebrate their relationship rather than having a huge advertising industry dictate it to them.

Of course, this is the day when everyone comes up with themed articles about most romantic this or that. There was one on most romantic science fiction and fantasy couples on, and I found that while I liked many of those movies or shows, the relationships didn't strike me as all that romantic.

For instance, The Princess Bride. I love both book and movie, but I don't think it's all that romantic, and I'm not sure it's meant to be. In the book, it was definitely treated as a satire of romance. "As you wish" and all the talk about the most perfect kiss ever aside, there's not really anything to the relationship between Westley and Buttercup. She's dismissive of him, then when they're reunited he's kind of a jerk to her. I never really figured out why he'd even be interested in her, since she's kind of useless. The book even hints that their "happily ever after" may not be that happy.

Then there's Han and Leia from the Star Wars movies, and again, there are some good lines, but I don't really get a sense of what their relationship is. They snark at each other, then snark at each other with a dose of sexual tension, then confess their feelings in a snarky way, then snark a little more. I'm never sure what it is they actually like about each other or why they want to be together.

So now I'm trying to think of what I do consider romantic. I think near the top would be Sarah Connor and Kyle Reese in The Terminator. He traveled through time for her! Okay, so they only actually spent a couple of days together before he died, but he'd loved her from afar (way afar) up to that point, and then she loved the memory of him after that point, and when they were together, they seemed to have a real connection. They got each other on a fundamental level, and knowing him changed her life and helped her achieve her true potential. (And I think this story is why I loved the latest season of Haven, because it gives us that kind of relationship, but with her getting to come forward in time and be with him in his time.)

There's Amy and Rory in Doctor Who, whose relationship is initially put under stress by the arrival of the Doctor, but who then manage to grow together, in spite of him being killed and erased from existence. Her memories and love for him are strong enough to bring him back. He waited two thousand years to protect her, and she willingly got trapped back in time so she could stay with him and they could grow old together.

Stardust makes me romantically swoony, in general, both book and movie. Yeah, it's sort of a standard romance novel relationship, in which they start out sniping at each other, but I think it does a really good job of showing how their relationship evolves into love as they have to work and travel together and as he learns how different their relationship is from the shallow crush he had on the girl back home.

It's not technically romance, but I love the way the relationship between Ripley and Hicks develops in Aliens, the way the two of them recognize each other's competence and quietly trust each other in a terrible situation. This is the main reason the remaining movies Do Not Exist for me. In my head, the two of them got together and adopted Newt.

This one is going to seem unusual and unlikely for me, but I rather liked the odd relationship that developed between Wesley and Lilah on Angel, where they started as enemies, then both were surprised when they realized they'd developed real feelings. I'm still angry that they dropped this because they kept pushing his weird thing for Fred, the most Mary Sue character who ever Mary Sued (down to the cutesy nickname, short for Winifred). Though I then did like the relationship that developed between him and Illyria when Fred was killed and taken over by the hell goddess, who found herself developing an odd soft spot for this guy. I've got entire rants about some of the plot flaws in this series that I otherwise loved. I guess I like the idea of the nice guy meeting the bad girl while taking a turn on the dark side, and ending up coming close to redeeming her.

For the slightly older folks who haven't given up on finding love eventually, Sam Vimes and Lady Sybil in the Discworld books have such a wonderful relationship. They're an unlikely couple that works. They're from totally different walks of life, but they have similar values and strengths. She's so delightfully unflappable and one of the best cop spouses in fiction -- this is one lady who's never going to pout if her husband has to miss dinner because he needs to catch a murderer. She'll just lend him a portable dragon and send dinner to the police station for him.

I don't really have Valentine's Day plans. I'm still recovering from cold #2, so I imagine I'll spend the evening on the sofa, watching TV. I do have something to celebrate, but the celebration may be slightly deferred. I have some chocolates that the children's music director gave me, so I did get something this year. Right now, though, I'm still stuffy enough that I can't properly appreciate chocolate.

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