Last month, we ran a post on TV characters who would likely befriend each other in real life. Today we thought we’d try out the literary version of this game with characters that span cities, and even eras. Who do you think, dear readers, would take the next step and form an alliance if time and place were not an issue? Take a look at our humble list of literary unions, and please suggest your own pairings in the comments section below.
Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye and Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series
At one point, Caulfield was the paradigmatic teenager, but now his star has fallen as kids munch on antidepressants and try to be absorbed by, rather than rebel against, the growing ranks of other-directed kids in the lonely crowd. Which is why he would probably get along with another unloved character, Draco Malfoy. If Holden and Draco were friends, however, Draco probably would have already failed out of Hogwarts and ended up somewhere in the bowels of London, smoking cigarette after cigarette and drinking out of of a pocket flask as they discussed their stupid classmates and even more ignorant parents. Phonies! The lot of ’em.
Why would a teenager from Little Women get along with one from the Hunger Games? It’s simple. Both are from families of modest means and both are 15-year-old tomboys at the beginning of the novels. They are also equally hot-tempered and against the idea of being tied down by marriage or a serious relationship.
Captain Ahab from Moby Dick and Kurtz in Heart of Darkness
Two tyrants driven by their desires who are absolutely fixated on a place — for Captain Ahab, it is the sea, and for Kurtz, it is his outpost deep in the Congo. While Ahab is killed by his own harpoon, Kurtz ultimately sees that his reckless quest was for naught and yells that famous line (“the horror, the horror!”) before he expires. Perhaps if they had met earlier their egos would have clashed and they would have had to concede that their harsh managerial methods are ultimately not good ways to run a business. Or they would have become an unstoppable force of evil by land and by sea. It’s a coin toss, really.
Margo Crane in Once Upon a River and Huck Finn
Margo Crane is 16 years old when her father is killed and her mother is nowhere to be found. What else could she possibly do but take a trip downriver? Margo heads out with a book, some supplies, and an instinct for survival. If she met Huck Finn during this journey, she could have taught him a thing or two about the world, and would have probably helped him to more convincingly cross-dress when he went into town that first time. Plus, we imagine she would’ve had a much better plan for getting Jim to freedom, and would have little of the racist baggage that Huck came to the table with at the start of the novel.
Last week, Entertainment Weekly tipped us off to Alice Childress’s book Like One of the Family, which is a great reading option for fans of The Help. In the novel, Mildred is a housekeeper based in New York who sees and tells all, which means that Minny from The Help would have to make her way up north if she wanted to get a real friendship started. The sharp-tongued duo would probably start a labor movement and get all the housekeepers to rise up against their privileged overlords.
These two unusual sibling duos could get together and create some serious hijinks if the Fangs could just make it down to the Florida swamplands where the Bigtrees have their alligator-themed amusement park.
No literary friend team-up would be complete without a nod to fantasy and science fiction novels, right? Well, the good-natured but faint-hearted Sams of both George R.R. Martin’s first book in the series A Song of Ice and Fire and J.R.R. Tolkien’s first book in the LOTR trilogy should unite. Samwise would teach Samwell about gardening and hobbit-y things, and Samwell would teach Samwise about slaying Others. The rotund duo could go on adventures beyond the wall and never have to deal with bullying again.
We all know that Lisbeth Salander has been through a whole hell of a lot in her life, but despite her sunny-sounding name, Libby Day has seen enough horrible things by the age of seven to last a lifetime. Libby’s parents were brutally murdered by her older brother when she was a child, and she was the only survivor of the massacre. In the novel, she says, “I have a meanness inside me, real as an organ…Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.” Can’t you see these two saboteurs working together to take down rapists, murderers, and thugs?