Any avid reader knows that books are full of Best Friends. Some people find their best friends THROUGH a mutual love of books, some people find that their best friends ARE books, and sometimes people who feel they are alone in the world are inspired to open their hearts to friendship through a friendship they read about IN books.
Here are a few of the best friendships we’ve seen in literature:
1. Calvin and Hobbes
These two beloved characters from Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes comics are the ultimate best friends. Opposites in many ways, they nevertheless are always there for each other, to share in the good times, save each other from trouble, and to make the scary times a little less scary. And to those who say that Hobbes is imaginary, only animate when Calvin is there to believe in him, my response would be: Isn’t it true that most of us only feel truly alive when our best friend is there to believe in us?
2. Frodo and Sam
Without these two brave and selfless souls from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings we would have lost Middle-Earth to Sauron long ago. Frodo and Sam show us the meaning of sacrifice in friendship. Being a best friend isn’t always about fun and laughter, sometimes being a best friend means being there for the other through the darkest of times. And sometimes the fate of the world can hang in the balance.
3. Peter Pan and Tinkerbell
J.M. Barrie’s Peter and Tinkerbell are volatile best friends. They fight, they scoff at each other, they make each other angry and jealous… but when it comes right down to it, they would each die for the other. Our best friends aren’t always perfect, and sometimes they drive us crazy, but it’s those very characteristics that make us crazy that also often make us love them so much.
4. Dorothy and Toto
Dorothy and Toto from L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz show us that sometimes dogs (or cats, or birds, or horses, etc.) ARE a man’s (or in this case a girl’s) best friend. At those times in our lives when our human companions let us down, it’s often our animal friends to whom we turn for comfort and solace.
5. Pooh and Piglet
A.A. Milne knew what he was doing when he introduced Winnie the Pooh and Piglet to each other. For every blustery, outgoing, no-inhibitions extrovert there is often a shy, thoughtful, lovingly introverted best buddy to balance them out.
6. Charlotte and Wilbur
Who can read E.B.White’s Charlotte’s Web without coming away feeling that the book taught them the true meaning of friendship? Charlotte works to save Wilbur’s life for no reason whatsoever except love and friendship. Wilbur loves Charlotte’s intelligence and kindness, and Charlotte loves Wilbur’s innocence and enthusiasm. A solid foundation for any true friendship.
7. Sherlock Holmes and John Watson
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes and Watson are such a perfectly balanced pair that one could hardly exist without the other! The yin of one balances the yang of the other in such a way as to create a perfect whole.
8. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn
These two brain-children of Mark Twain are an unlikely pairing, and perhaps don’t meet the traditional definition of “best friends”, but I’m including them anyway because when it comes down to it, there are no guidelines for best-friendship. Sometimes in our lives we meet a person who is there for one specific time and purpose, and without that one person the whole course of our lives would have gone in a completely different direction. Tom and Huck are this for each other.
9. Rat and Mole
The main characters of Kenneth Grahame’s Wind in the Willows have the kind of friendship most people envision when they think of “best friends”. Going off on adventures, teaching each other to see the world in new ways, serving as the foundational friendship of a larger group of friends– Rat and Mole exemplify the simple, easy friendship of two people who simply love to be in each other’s company.
10. Harry, Ron and Hermione
Best friends doesn’t always mean a pair. Sometimes the perfect best friendship is the melding of three distinct personalities, such as Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, and Hermione Granger; and nothing proves this better than how they each use their very different talents to get into the Chamber of Secrets in book two of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Harry, Ron and Hermione have fun together, get in trouble together, fight, laugh, cry, keep secrets together, support each other… and eventually save the world together.
Which of these literary friendships best describes the relationship YOU have with YOUR best friend? And are there any others I’ve left off? Please leave a comment and let us know your thoughts!
As the Reading Rainbow Mom, Jenni Buchanan enjoys encouraging readers of ALL ages to believe that they can “go anywhere, be anything.” See more of Jenni’s blogs and tips for parents about children’s reading by subscribing to the Reading Rainbow Blog, or follow her on Twitter.