Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics
- December 28: Best Books I Read In 2021
- January 4: Most Anticipated Books Releasing In the First Half of 2022
- January 11: Most Recent Additions to My Book Collection
- January 18: 2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To
- January 25: New-To-Me Authors I Discovered in 2021
- February 1: Books with Character Names In the Titles
- February 8: Love Freebie
- February 15: Books Too Good To Be Reviewed Properly
In the aftermath of Storm Eunice, here in the UK our household was without electricity – and therefore without lighting, heating, hot water, cooking or … wifi. It went out at about 10:30 am on Friday and came back on about 2:00 am this morning! So I nearly didn’t have a chance to post this on time!
And our topic is dynamic duos. What do I conjure up when I think of dynamic duos: the classics, Holmes-and-Watson, Poirot-and-Hastings, Batman-and-Robin (obviously). Characters who work together and are very different, but both of whom contribute to the success of the pairings: as Holmes says of Watson, famously
It may be that you are not yourself luminous, but that you are a conductor of light. Some people without possessing genius have a remarkable power of stimulating it.
And these are dynamic duos, not simply romantic pairings – although there are some blurring of that distinction in the ensuing list – so I am looking for pairs of characters who act proactively on the world.
Let’s begin, in honour of Holmes and Watson with the crime genre and see where we go to after that!
Stephen Moran and Antoinette Conway, The Secret Place and The Trespasser
The Secret Place was my first introduction to Tana French, and possibly not the best place to start… but I did love her ability to create intense relationships between the girls in the boarding school cliques, and between the detectives.
I could have chosen any pairing really from Rob and Cassie in the first book onwards but Stephen and Antoinette were both two outsiders, prickly and defensive and tense at times, but always a pair working together.
I returned to them in the final book in the series The Trespasser and loved them even more, as French switched the narration from Stephen to Antoinette.
Jackson Brodie and Reggie Chase, When Will There Be Good News
I adore Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie series: they are exquisitely crafted and written! And Brodie is often a very isolated character, divorced, estranged from most people.
So when, in the aftermath of a terrible train crash in Edinburgh he is pulled from the wreckage by Regina “Reggie” Chase and given CPR they form a surprisingly touching and effective team…
I am pleased to learn that Reggie returns in Big Sky, all grown up and policing herself! That is a pleasure I am looking forward to!
Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomqvist, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
There is so much about these books that shouldn’t work but which somehow do – all the huge info dumps at the beginning, the precise delineation of Blomqvist’s coffee, the melodrama of the torture-porn dungeon and incest. Even Salandar herself, who should be an irritating trope – the neuroatypical wunderkind genius – but is made dark enough and vulnerable enough to be fascinating…
And her ability with Blomqvist to investigate, to analyse, to interrogate creates an extraordinary power.
Waxillium Ladrian and Wayne, The Alloy of Law
Absolutely joyfully fun!
This is Sanderson revisiting Scadriel from the Mistborn hundreds of years after the events of that trilogy – more Western, more eighteenth century, more steampunk… And Wax and Wayne are a Batman and Robin pairing to die for!
Was the choice of name “Wayne” deliberate…?
Meridoc Brandybuck and Pippin Took, The Lord of the Rings
There are so many obvious pairings in Tolkien’s fantastic epic – Frodo and Sam, Legolas and Gimli – that any one of them could be cited.
But for me, Merry and Pippin have just as great a journey and a great friendship, which sees them through the horrors of war and capture and Sauron…
A quiet paean to the power of friendship and humour that lifts the darker sides of the novels.
Gideon Nav and Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Gideon the Ninth / Harrow the Ninth
Muir’s wonderful novel of lesbian necromancers has the pretext that each necromancer has to be paired with a cavalier. And red haired, muscle bound Gideon replete with sunglasses and begrudgingly face paint is manoeuvred (or blackmailed or bribed or otherwise forced) into serving as Harrow’s. At the end of the day, they are the only two members of their generation in their house, so it was perhaps inevitable.
They are a blast together from the outset, when they both wish various forms of violence on the other, yet leap to each others’ defence the moment they are threatened. And Harrow the Ninth just made it better!
Vasya Petrovna and Morozko, The Bear and the Nightingale
One somewhat wilful girl, daughter of a boyar in a distant part of Russia; one personification of winter and of frost. The whole Winternight series is wonderful and Vasya truly grows into her powers to finally fight alongside Morozko and his brother Medved as equals.
In this first book, however, Vasya’s slow realisation that the creatures and spirits she saw were real, and that there was an aspect of the world beyond the growing political and Christian modernisation of the world was wonderful. And Morozko, feared and powerful and lonely was a great creation. Together, they made each other!
Crowley and Aziraphale, Good Omens
How could I not?
The double act of the angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley, on earth nominally on opposing sides of the celestial conflict, but growing to love humanity and Earth and – let’s be honest – each other is glorious to read, and equally glorious to watch!
Chava and Ahmad, The Golem and the Djinni
The story of two supernatural, inhuman creatures in nineteenth century New York – Ahmad, a djinni who has been imprisoned for a thousand years, and Chava, a golem created to be an obedient wife whose husband dies on the journey to New York leaving her alone.
Their different views on what it meant to be an alien in a foreign land, to be an immigrant, to have agency was a wonderful dance and never stopped them being there for each other, once they had met.
Achilles and Patroclus, The Silence of the Girls / The Iliad
The relationship and love between these two in both Barker’s feminist retelling and Homer’s brutally masculine original is deeply touching.
Achilles himself was a fantastic creation – utterly terrifying whilst also utterly childlike and vulnerable in many way. And his grief and rage at Patroclus’ death was fantastically crafted.
Charlie and Lola, I Am Not Sleepy and I Will Not Go To Bed and others
Everyone deserves a big brother like Charlie! Whether he is helping to put his sister to bed or getting her to eat her vegetables, he is kind, caring but never overly saccharine. And Lola – who likes to stay up colouring and scribbling … and most of all chattering – is a charming delight!
I adore these two!
Calvin and Hobbes
In relation to Calvin and Hobbes – a little boy and his stuffed tiger – there is more joy, pathos and philosophy and humanity in these comic strips than in many novels!
I shall leave you with their final comic strip
So there we have a number of duos, hopefully dynamic even where they may slide into a romantic relationship as well.
Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes
March 1: Books I Enjoyed, but Have Never Mentioned On My Blog
March 8: Books With Your Favorite Trope/Theme (Submitted by Raincheckandread.com)
March 15: Books On My Spring 2022 TBR
March 22: Books With an Adjective In the Title (Submitted by Nicole @ How to Train a Book Dragon)
March 29: 21st Century Books I Think Will Become Classics (Submitted by Lisa of Hopewell)