Ah, Valentine’s Day. Yes, that time of year is nearing that many of us secretly dread no matter what our current Facebook relationship status is. But let’s take a time out from the incessant 1-800-FLOWERS ads pummeling us and have a little tongue-in-cheek fun. To that end, we’ve assembled a list of 10 interestingly tumultuous couples from a wide range of literary genres. Mind you, we are not going all sentimental here—the selection criterion is “interesting,” not “swoon-worthy.” : )
Note: While many of these have accompanying images from the adaptations, we are most definitely talking about the books!
Elizabeth Bennet / Fitzwilliam Darcy
Because Elizabeth was just such a progressive character for the times. Mouthy, opinionated woman initially turns down an excellent match with landed English gentry because he’s behaving like such an a$$hat. You go, girl.
Paul Atredies / Chani
Okay, so Paul kept Chani as his concubine, married Princess Irulan for the throne of the Emperor, yet refused his wife any of his favors. All part of the complications of being entangled with the high-maintenance Kwisatz Haderach, I suppose.
Marius / Pandora
Two ancient, powerful vampires clash like an old married couple through the millennia. After the brat Prince, these two have always been my favorites of Anne Rice’s nosferatu.
Albus Dumbledore / Gellert Grindelwald
A passionate, youthful dalliance between adventuresome, curious intellectuals, a plot to rule the world, one turns to good, one turns to evil, wand duels, etc. You gotta love the high drama of this tumultuous relationship!
Lisbeth Salander / Mikael Blomkvist
So I’m still trying to figure out why this didn’t work. Was she just jealous of that weirdo Erika who telephones her husband to let him know she’s going to be balling Blomkvist tonight? I could see not wanting to get mixed up in that, but she’s got nothing on you, Lisbeth!
Sherlock Holmes / Irene Adler
I’m just going to let Doyle take this one:
“To Sherlock Holmes she is always the woman. I have seldom heard him mention her under any other name. In his eyes she eclipses and predominates the whole of her sex. It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love for Irene Adler … yet there was but one woman to him, and that woman was the late Irene Adler, of dubious and questionable memory.”
Jon Snow / Ygritte
Because “You know nothing, Jon Snow.” Truer words hath never been spoken.
Pip / Estella
You can’t help rooting for poor Pip—the kid just can’t seem to catch a break! And that bratty Estella so needed to be taken down a peg or two!
Emma Bovary / Léon Dupuis
We’ve all seen the clichéd Hollywood love scene where a couple in the back of a limo rolls up the privacy screen and starts getting busy. Emma and Léon were true trendsetters with their Parisian romps in the back of a carriage. And you better believe those things didn’t have tinted windows. Bonus points for sheer audacity!
Portnoy / his hand
Was there ever a more hilarious depiction of adolescent wanking penned? I don’t think so! That bit about the liver still cracks me up.
We hope everyone has a fun Valentine’s Day, whether it’s solo, with a significant other or with your hand!