Tough Traveling is an interesting and thought-provoking meme started by Nathan @ Fantasy Review Barn: each week Nathan chooses a topic from The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, by Diana Wynn Jones, and challenges everyone to come up with a list of books featuring that trope.
This week’s topic is: To Blathe
Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the world. Except for a nice MLT, a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky, I love that. But that’s not what he said! He distinctly said “to blave.” (Thanks to Wendy again. Let’s find those examples of True Love!)
I have to confess that I was quite puzzled when I first read the above, not only because of my abysmal ignorance concerning The Princess Bride, from which the quote comes, but because it took me a while to get my bearings (thanks, Google!). Thankfully, the last sentence contained all the guidance I needed… So here we go with True Love!
Cordelia Naismith & Aral Vorkosigan
This couple is one of the best fictional examples of attraction of the opposites, and of the osmosis that can happen when two people are on the same wavelength. Cordelia is the captain of a Betan cartographic survey ship and comes from a liberal culture, while Aral is quite the son of Barrayar’s militaristic and war-mongering society: when he captures her on a newly discovered world they go through some hardships that help them discover the real person behind their respective worlds’ propaganda and they fall in love. Cordelia admires Aral’s integrity and deep-seated sense of honor, and Aral enjoys Cordelia’s strong, uncompromising attitude: what makes them so great together, so believable as a couple, is the true partnership standing at the basis of their relationship, a partnership that will help them present a united front first against both their governments, that look with suspicion on their marriage, and against the blows destiny deals them, especially when their only son, Miles, is born crippled due to an attempt on their lives. Love, willingness to understand each other and a strong bond that transcends cultural heritage are the ingredients that make them who they are.
Paul Atreides & Chani
When Paul Atreides, on the run from the Harkonnens who have killed his father and want to wipe out the whole Atreides line, meets Chani for the first time he understands she’s the woman he’s often seen in his prescient dreams. She’s the daughter of Arrakis’ imperial ecologist, a man who choose to ally himself with the desert-dwelling Fremen, and she’s the person tasked with showing Paul the ropes of life in the unforgiving Arrakis desert. That they were predestined to fall in love is clear from Paul’s dreams and they share a strong understanding of what it means to be a Fremen, and to cherish the harsh beauty of Arrakis. Even though politics will prevent Chani from becoming Paul’s true wife, she is the only one who holds the keys to his heart.
Wall-E & E.V.E.
To me, this is one of the most delightful love stories to have ever graced the big screen: Wall-E is a small robot tasked with the compacting of the huge amounts of trash piled on Earth, long since abandoned by its inhabitants. E.V.E. (Extraterrestrial Vegetative Evaluator) is one of the robot probes periodically sent to Earth to ascertain if life is still possible among the tall trash heaps. Where Eve is all business and robotic efficiency, Wall-E is capable of feelings and animated by strong curiosity about the long-gone planet dwellers: when they meet, they change each other profoundly and at the same time they trigger humanity’s drive to return to their ancestral home. Even though they are both mechanical constructs, Wall-E and Eve are a tender and enchanting couple, and rooting for them – and the inevitable happy ending – is far from difficult.