Happy (Early) Valentine’s Day, everyone! Welcome to all things related to romance in books.
Also,, it’s Friday the thirteenth. I plan on stepping on the cracks, petting a black cat, walking under a ladder, and doing anything else that’s “bad luck”. I believe in a loving God who’s in control of everything, not some impersonal force that requires you to avoid random and pointless actions so you don’t, I don’t know, get on its bad side? Anyway, that’s a post (or rant) for another time .
Couples I’ll Never Stop Liking
1. Eowyn and Faramir (Lotr)
Because of this:
‘And would you have you proud folk say to you: “There goes a lord who tamed a wild shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Numenor to choose?” ‘
‘I would,’ said Faramir. And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many. And many indeed saw them and the light that shone about them as they came down from the walls and went hand in hand to the Houses of Healing.
And to the Warden of the Houses Faramir said: ‘Here is the Lady Eowyn of Rohan, and now she is healed.’
2. Maddie and Abramm (Legends of the Guardian King)
Because Maddie reminds me of myself (plain, not charming or social, scholarly) and the fact that someone like Abramm loved her gives me hope.
3. Emma and George Knightley (Emma)
Because of his “Badly done, Emma, badly done!” and the fact no one could get away with writing that these days. It’s oppression! It’s abusive! She should ditch him! But in this book, it’s what draws them closer.
Runner-ups: the Ventures, Meridons, Darcies, Thorntons, and, um, Aethelbalds?
Couples I Stopped Liking
1. Tris and Tobias (Divergent)
Because at first I liked seeing how they made each other stronger, and then it became just your typical teen novel “romance” (a.ka. infatuation based on physical desires and emotions).
2. Vrell and Achan (Blood of Kings)
Because at first the secrets made their relationship exciting but it eventually got tiring and made things overly-complicated. Perhaps it’s also because I ended up not really liking each individually, so it’s hard to root for them as a couple.
Some Thoughts on Romance
What I hate is when the romantic troubles between the main characters of a fantasy book become more central than the actual mission. I know relationships are important, but in fantasy, it’s usually involving some word-as-we-know-it-is-at-stake quest, which is a tad more momentous than two people’s love life. Unless it’s a true romance novel, the love story should not be the most important plot, especially when the series started out with the save-the-world mission as the focal point.
Christian romance is an area where you have to be really careful. Just because it’s Christian doesn’t mean it’s necessarily edifying, uplifting, or devoid of temptation. It doesn’t mean it’s safe, pure, or full of perfect role models. For instance, the Christy books by Robin Jones Gunn. I don’t want to necessarily say they’re bad, as I know many girls have been blessed by them. However, don’t just assume that everything that the characters do in them is right because they’re Christian. Was it right for Christy and Todd to commit to a serious relationship when they were still in high school? Yes, they stayed physically pure, which is definitely good, but did they “awaken love too soon,” as Song of Songs warns against, by getting emotionally involved so young? Christian romance requires the same discretion and carefulness that secular romance does.
Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot
Elizabeth’s and Jim’s story is quite unique, and I loved how she combined honesty and realism with passionate godliness. “The love life of a Christian is a crucial battlefield,” she tells us in the beginning, and proceeds to use her own love story to demonstrate how to “bring your love life under control,” as the subtitle says. I cannot overemphasize the wisdom of this book. Just read it. Even if you feel like you don’t struggle with honoring God with your love life, read it. The insights in it will draw you close to God and help bring your life in line with Him, regardless of what stage of life you’re in.
I Kissed Dating Good-bye by Joshua Harris
I’m actually reading this right now (and, no, I didn’t mean it be a special Valentine’s thing, but now that I think about it, it’s perfect timing, huh?), and while I’m not finished yet, I’m already loving it. Joshua is honest and understanding, but he’s also serious about God and unafraid of his position on dating. I started out agreeing with his thoughts about dating, but it’s still such a blessing to have a resource that explains why I have the position I do on dating, backed up with tons of Scripture. Plus, Joshua tackles problems like how to handle loneliness, how to thrive while waiting and not just survive, and how to explain your position to others.
So, how ’bout you? Favorite/least favorite couples? Thoughts on romance books? Recommendations? I’d love to hear them!