Thursday, May 6, 2010

Top Ten Picks: Favorite Love Stories of All Time

Top Ten Picks is a weekly meme hosted by Random Ramblings. Each week there will be a different topic. This week's topic is our favorite love stories from fiction, film, television, plays, etc. My favorites include couples from fiction, movies, and television. 

I hate you, then I love you:

These couples start out hating each other, sometimes because they don't understand each other or because they are so similar that they fight all the time. I love these stories of the strong chemistry between the couple and it makes for a great passionate romance.

Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice

The first time Elizabeth Bennet meets Mr. Darcy, he insults her by saying to a friend that she is not pretty enough to tempt him to ask her for a dance. Her opinion of him grows worse throughout the book to the point that she declares that he is the last man on earth she'd consider marrying.  Fortunately misunderstandings are cleared up and they get their happy ending. While Mr. Darcy is too stuffy for my taste he is a perfect match for Elizabeth and I enjoy the chemistry between them. Their relationship is the inspiration for many modern romance novels.

Princess Leia and Han Solo from Star Wars

Princess Leia's initial bad impression of scruffy and rakish Han Solo is rather hilarious. He also sees her as just a spoiled princess that he is risking his neck to rescue-and he expects to be paid a fortune in return. Gradually they both come to respect each other but continue trading barbs. In this highly charged scene, they finally do something about their attraction to each other but it isn't exactly smooth sailing. Fortunately by the end of Return of the Jedi, all doubts are overcome and they are on their way to happily ever after. I can't help but love Han Solo. He may be rough around the edges but he is courageous and he has a good heart. One of my favorite scenes in The Empire Strikes Back is when Leia tells him she loves him as he is about to be frozen in carbonite. He tells her he loves her too just by saying "I know." She later has the opportunity to say the same thing to him. Cheesy but still romantic.

Beatrice and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing

Beatrice and Benedick are two of my favorite characters in this comedic play by Shakespeare. The quarrelling couple share some of the best lines in the play. One of my favorite scenes involves Benedick saying he'd rather travel far and undertake dangerous missions than speak with "this Harpy". They appear to be unable to stand each other, constantly jabbing each other with words but it is obvious that there is a strong attraction and admiration between them. Thanks to the clever meddling of their friends, Beatrice and Benedick eventually admit their feelings to each other. Although they are not the main hero and heroine of the play, they are definitely the most interesting couple. They have amazing chemistry, especially in the film version with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. I can't help but laugh when I watch them fight and fall in love.

When friendship turns to love:

How sweet it is when two friends fall in love. Often it takes some time for them to recognize their feelings for each other but when they do, the love they share is deep because it is built on friendship and not just attraction.

Emma Woodhouse and Mr. Knightley from Emma

Emma Woodhouse has known Mr. Knightley for years. His younger brother John is married to her older sister Isabella so she sees him as almost an older brother. He is also a number of years older than her and he has played the role of advisor and guide so it takes them both some time to realize that they have come to love each other. This situation is hurried along by the presence of another young man who appears to be interested in Emma himself and the interest that one of Emma's friends shows in Mr. Knightley. Emma is not one of my favorite Jane Austen heroines but I love Mr. Knightley. He is a good influence on Emma, particularly when she behaves like a spoiled brat. He also shows that he is a caring man. Who else would be willing to move into his wife's home so that she wouldn't have to worry about her elderly father? Now that's love.

Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe from the Anne of Green Gables series

Gilbert Blythe and Anne Shirley start out on the wrong foot when he teases her about the color of her hair, calling her "Carrots". As they grow up they become academic rivals and later on very good friends. Gilbert falls in love with Anne first, proposing to her while they are in college but Anne rejects him because he doesn't fit her idea of a romantic hero. Thankfully Anne later comes to her senses before it is too late and they eventually marry. I love this story because Gilbert may not be that "perfect romantic ideal hero" but he is the right guy for Anne and fortunately for her she realizes it in time.

Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter series

When Ron and Hermione first meet on the train to Hogwarts they don't make the best impression on each other. Later on, thanks to an adventure with a dangerous troll, Hermione becomes friends with Ron and Harry. This friendship is tested throughout their school years and there are even times when the two aren't talking which makes things uncomfortable for Harry who tries to serve as an intermediary. This hot and cold friendship grows into the possibility of a relationship that gets derailed by Ron's jealousy. Throughout the ups and downs it is obvious that they care deeply about each other and eventually the do succeed in becoming a couple. What I love about their relationship is the way they balance each other. Hermione is very level headed and rules oriented. Ron helps her to relax and have fun. One of Ron's weaknesses is to rush headlong into things without thinking them through and Hermione helps him to be more rational. They make a really sweet couple.

Lorelai Gilmore and Luke Danes from Gilmore Girls

Gilmore Girls is one of my favorite T.V. shows. Lorelai Gilmore is a single mom raising her teenage daughter Rory in the small town of Stars Hollow. Luke Danes is the gruff owner of the diner where Lorelai and Rory daily eat unhealthy food and drink lots of coffee. Luke and Lorelai often banter with each other and they have a close friendship although it is obvious from season 1 that he has feelings for her. Throughout the years they support each other through failed relationships and other crises but it is not until Rory is in college however that the two finally become a couple. They unfortunately have a bumpy road to happiness but thankfully they eventually overcome the obstacles in their path (such as Lorelai's snobby parents and interfering ex). Lorelai and Luke are my all time favorite T.V. couple. I love how they are there for each other and even when they fight they care about each other enough to mend their relationship.

Love that stands the test of time:

There are some loves that are so strong that they withstand anything, even years spent apart. It may seem like the relationship is hopeless or love has died but it endures and overcomes.

Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot from Persuasion

Anne Elliot is persuaded by a well meaning friend and mentor to reject Captain Wentworth's proposal of marriage because he doesn't have a fortune. Now years later he has made a name for himself as well as a fortune. Anne has long since regretted her decision and when circumstances bring them together again she realizes that she still loves him. Unfortunately he is still hurt by her rejection and he believes mistakenly that she has gotten over him. Fortunately Anne is eventually able to persuade him that she still cares and he once again proposes. Persuasion is one of my favorite Jane Austen novels. It is obvious that Anne and Captain Wentworth still love each other and I am glad that they get a second chance at love.

Claire Randall and Jamie Fraser from the Outlander series

Claire Randall meets Jamie Fraser when she accidentally travels back in time to 18th century Scotland. Although in the 20th century Claire has left a husband behind she is forced by circumstances to marry Jamie. She does grow to love Jamie and make a life for herself with him but thanks to the ill fated Battle of Culloden, she eventually returns to the 20th century with a broken heart. Years later she finds out that Jamie didn't die at the Battle of Culloden and she once again time travels to the 18th century to look for him. In spite of the twenty years that have passed and everything they have been through, Claire and Jamie still love each other. I haven't read all of the books in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (they are incredibly long books) but I have enjoyed the books I've read. Jamie Fraser is one of my favorite male characters. He is far from perfect but he is brave and has a good heart.

Aragorn and Arwen from The Lord of the Rings

Aragorn and Arwen's romance has difficulties right from the start. For one thing, she is an elf who is thousands of years older than him and he is just a man albeit descended from kings. They share a common ancestor but he is beneath her since she is the daughter of a powerful elf lord. It takes awhile for her to return his feelings and even then they cannot be together until Sauron is defeated and Aragorn is king. It seems like an impossible situation but they both have faith in each other. Eventually after the defeat of Sauron and Aragorn's coronation, they are finally married after decades of waiting to be together. In the book, their relationship is not central to the story like it is in the films. While I enjoyed the acting of Viggo Mortensen and Liv Tyler I did not like some of the liberties taken with the plot because Arwen doesn't give up on Aragorn in the book. I like how their love survives all the obstacles in its path. They have a lot stacked against them but they are true to each other.

What are your favorite love stories of all time? If you'd like to participate, create a post and link it at Random Ramblings.


  1. Awesome list! I like how you included Hermione and Ron - I love them!

  2. I love Aragorn and Arwen's relationship, love the whole list actually.

  3. I love the Outlander books, and yes, I have read every one of them. I can't get enough of Jamie and Claire.

  4. I love, LOVE this list. I am so impressed you included Wentworth and Anne. Persuasion is one of my favorite books. Of course, Mr. Darcy/Elizabeth and Mr. Knightly/ them as well. But, I'd have to say Gilbert and Ann = my all-time favorite couple. Gilbert Blythe *sigh* Great list, Christina!

  5. Great List! I already had Han Solo and Leia jotted on my scrap of paper for my list as well--I'm not copying, honest! My little boy just watched his first StarWars marathon and I was tickled as ever by the 'I know'-- I just love that!

    I considered Anne and Wentworth too since Persuasion is my fave next to P&P.

    I have Aragon & Arwen jotted down and I considered Anne and Gilbert.

    You have great taste in couples, by the way. ;o)

  6. Great list. I love all of these plot lines as well. Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books-its so cute!

  7. Awesome list with all those wonderful couples. The best Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet and ofcourse Emma and Mr.Knightly. :)

  8. This is a wonderful list! I love that you included Luke and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls!!

  9. OMG!! I really want to read the Outlander series but I have only learned of it a year ago. I must admit I am intimidated with the mass amount of pages and # of books inn the series!

    I do like your list!=) and love the visuals!

  10. I agree with many on your list and have a few of them on my list as well!

  11. So glad to have you with us this week, Christina.

    Now if you've been reading my blog at all I think it's pretty obvious how much of a Harry Potter I am! I am so happy to see Ron and Hermione here. Ever since I read the 3rd book in the series -- where they mostly quarreled a lot -- I knew they were going to end up together. Ahhh.. I miss them!

    I also loved Aragorn and Arwen! I mostly loved Arwen though; she was just such a strong female character.
    And of course, I also loved Luke to bits! He was so awesome -- and I've always liked the idea that he owned that cute little breakfast/coffee shop, haha.


Reading Extensively is now an award free blog. Thanks for stopping by! Please leave a comment. I enjoy receiving feedback! Due to increase in spam, I've enabled comment moderation. Sorry for any inconvenience!