Isn’t it Bro-mantic?

I realized I haven’t composed nearly enough Top 10 lists on The Urge to Write. So what better time to write one than during the Scandal commercial breaks? (It’s arguably more productive than what I did during the commercials of Sunday’s Once Upon A Time, which was to watch the prior week’s episode on my lap top…..) And what could be better than a list of the Top 10 Bromances?

According to Wikipedia. a bromance is a close, non-sexual relationship between at least two men, a form of affectional intimacy. ūüėČ

Women are usually thought of as forming closer bonds than men, but as the following duos show, fictional men, at least,¬†can¬†enjoy powerful, nearly unbreakable bonds with one another¬†(although the occasional girl may come between them, as you will see). My list of the Top 10 Bromances¬†spans decades and¬†includes characters from my all-time favorite books, TV shows and movies of a variety of genres (fantasy, sci-fi, comedy, “dramedy”). And one non-fictional pair, as you will see…

Be sure to share your favorite bromances in the comments!

10. Adam Black and Darroc

This bromance is worth a mention since I recently devoured Karen Moning’s The Immortal Highlander. I¬†enjoyed this back story bromance between the mischievous Adam Black (Puck being one of his many other aliases) and Council Elder Darroc. I loved this idea of two reckless Fae princes conquering Fairy and Earth together:

“Watching Adam with his little human had reminded him [Darroc] of the times long ago when they’d ridden the Wild Hunt together, when they’d hunted like brother-gods, invincible and free, ruled by nothing and no one…Mortals had been nothing more to them than lowly beasts, good for a chase, amusing to play with…”

Unfortunately, by the time the events in the book happen, Adam must stop his now arch-nemesis Darroc from overthrowing Aoibheal and freeing the Unseelie from their icy dark prison. And well, if you’ve read the Fever series, you know how that eventually turns out…

9. Evan and Cappie

Freshman year at the fictional Cyprus-Rhodes University of ABC Family’s Greek, rich playboy Evan Chambers and adorable slacker Cappie were once roommates and bffs. Unfortunately, when this show commenced their friendship had already entered rocky terrain: They’ve joined opposing fraternities, and Evan is dating Cappie’s ex, ZBZ sister Casey. Although I spent most of Greek‘s four seasons waiting for Cappie and Casey to finally get back together (and stay that way), the Evan/Cappie on-again, off-again bromance was another central conflict on the show. Fortunately, by the series finale the two seem to finally make amends, although I’m not sure they could ever¬†truly go back to those early carefree days of freshman year.

8. Shawn and Gus

I haven’t talked about my love for Psych much on this blog, but if you haven’t checked it out yet, this show is seriously awesome and hilarious. Shawn and Gus have been best friends since they were kids and despite the fact that they are polar opposites. Shawn is ridiculously perceptive, which serves him well in his job as a “psychic” consultant to the Santa Barbara PD, but he drifts through life rather aimlessly; on the other hand, Gus has a serious job as a pharmaceutical rep and is more focused and level-headed. Nevertheless, these two are the very definition of best friends forever as they solve mysteries and get into all sorts of mischief (courtesy of Shawn).

7. Howard and Raj probably have one of the most special friendships out of the entire gang on The Big Bang Theory. But seriously, beyond all of the jokes about their “ersatz homosexual relationship,” in the earliest seasons Howard and Raj are two single nerds banding together in search of comic books and, of course, love. Of course, Howard doesn’t completely reform his¬† creepster ways until he meets charming microbiologist Bernadette, but I think this also has a positive influence on his friendship with Raj, making it a little less codependent but¬†still solid.

6. Finn Hudson and Kurt Hummel

This is the first (but not the last) brother duo on this list -well, step-brother duo. Glee’s Finn and Kurt didn’t start off as allies; due to his reputation as the cute, clean-cut jock at McKinley High, Finn was initially wary of the merging of the Hudson-Hummels and of having a gay friend/step-brother. Kurt wasn’t particularly sensitive to Finn’s feelings, either. But by the end of Season 3, Finn has amassed the courage to stand up for Glee Club, Kurt and their friendship. Glee is one of the few shows (if not the only one) at least in the United States that portrays¬†a friendship between a gay teenage boy and a straight one, period,¬†while also doing so¬†with tact and grace.

“In Glee Club whenever two of us got together we got a nickname. Rachel and I are Finchel. Rachel and Puck were Puckleberry. And today a new union is formed: Furt. You and I, man. We‚Äôre brothers from another mother.”

5. David Bowie and Iggy Pop

And yet again, I manage to include my two favorite people! In fact, the only reason they’re not higher up on the list is because they’re real people. I know I should have probably kept this focused -confined to fictional characters -but I can’t resist. There’s just something epic about picturing these two musicians collaborating together in Berlin -writing songs, performing, and being generally awesome. They’re even making a movie about those creative years in Berlin. (I’m not getting paid to endorse the movie or anything like that, I’m just orgasmically excited about it-so much so that I’m making up words.)

4. The Salvatore Brothers

Although many differences exist between The Vampire Diaries TV series and the original L. J. Smith books, one steadfast theme is the bond between Stefan and Damon Salvatore.¬†Sure, they’ve fallen twice fallen for the same girl -the enticing vampire Katherine and later for her doppelg√§nger Elena. This show is now in its fourth tumultuous season, and it’s becoming harder and harder to see Stefan as just the “good brother” and Damon as the bad guy. Stefan’s relapsed into his dark side, the notorious Ripper, and we’ve seen Damon let his guard down as far as Elena’s concerned as well as caught glimpses of a more selfless Damon. Even through their ups and downs, Stefan and Damon know they can depend on each other and trust the other to keep Elena safe.

(Damon:) “I was hoping we could hang. You know a little brother bonding. I know we don‚Äôt actually ‚Äúhang out‚ÄĚ. We team up, we join forces, we activate our Wonder twin powers.”

3. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley

Of course, part of the true magic of J. K. Rowling’s epic series lies in the dynamic of the main trio -Harry, Ron and Hermoine -but since tonight’s focus is on bromances, we will¬†consider Harry/Ron. These two are a team from their start at Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and remain friends well into adulthood, as is evident in the epilogue of The Deathly Hallows. They follow in the footsteps of James Potter and Sirius Black, getting wrapped up in all sorts of mischief and shenanigans (or rather, the mayhem finds them, Harry being the Chose One and all). Throughout all of their adventures in and out of Hogwarts, Harry and Ron fight for goodness and peace in both the wizard and Muggle worlds.

2. Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee

If this list only contained book bromances, Frodo and Sam would be number one. I mean, come on –theirs is the quintessential bromance. They leave their cozy shire to go on the ultimate adventure with a company of dwarves, elves and humans. Although they find true friends in their new allies, only Sam can help Frodo overcome his obsession with the One Ring in order to destroy it at the very end. Sam’s loyalty to Frodo is¬† unwavering.

(Frodo:) ‚ÄúI am glad you are here with me. Here at the end of all things, Sam.‚ÄĚ

1. Captain James T. Kirk and Mr. Spock

Another classic example of two best friends having epic adventures, only this time exploring space, that final frontier.¬†Although its special effects¬†are quite outdated now,¬†the themes of¬†friendship and the exploration of the unknown (I can’t seem to say what I want¬†to say without it sounding like I’m talking about something else…)¬†¬†in The Original Series are timeless. Wikipedia tells me that the Kirk/Spock dynamic also¬†inspired a lot of sexy fanfic back in the day and has greatly influenced the development of these communities as we know them today. I¬†am also a fan of J. J. Abram’s reinvention of the franchise (I’ve watched it so many times I’ve lost count), in which we saw Kirk and Spock’s¬†mutual animosity blossom into the bromance we know and love.

I Actually Do Read Thought-Provoking Books Sometimes (I Swear)

I know that on this blog I often review “blockbuster” books (I’ve reviewed all three Fifty Shades books) and go off on tangents about YA books I love, usually of the paranormal romance genre. But I have, and do, read books for the fantastical and sometimes disturbing worlds they explore, to understand their dynamic, flawed characters and to absorb their insights about the universe and humanity. I’m particularly fond of science fiction novels (and movies, and TV shows, but we’ll save those lists for another time), so here is a list of my Top Five Six Science Fiction Books:

5. George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four

Yes, this book has spawned some pretty cringe-worthy pop culture phenomena, like the name of CBS’s reality show Big Brother. And although the year 1984 was nothing like the dystopia created in Orwell’s book, its themes of privacy, freedom and rebellion are timeless. Orwell also had great foresight, such as the fictional language of Newspeak which basically involves smooshing¬†English words together. Minus the sinister agenda of controlling thought and communication part, this definitely reminds me of how technology is influencing our language and communication today. #deepthoughts

4. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

This is one of those classics you’re required to read in high school -and you should read it, because it’s awesome. Bradbury is another visionary science fiction writer: In a future in which firemen start fires and burn books, people are glued to their wall-sized TVs and drift off to sleep listening to little shell-like music players in their ears. It’s been awhile since I’ve read this book, but those images have stuck with me. Fahrenheit 451 in part speaks to a fear that technology may threaten our ability and desire to think and communicate and learn, an idea that I don’t really agree with except when shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Honey Boo Boo become popular. It’s also a book that comes to my mind, at least, whenever I hear about a book being banned, such as in a school, or any whisperings of censorship.

3. Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World

This book is kind of crazy and is written in a style that suggests Huxley pounded it out after an overdose of coffee (or speed). But I love it. The future that Huxley predicts is absolutely terrifying. Everyone is created especially for their specific station in life, everyone knows their place, and most of the characters are fine with it. Many spend their days popping soma and participating in orgies. Although the novel focuses on Bernard and Lenina in the beginning, it really becomes about the “savage” John and how he confronts the strange world outside of his Reservation. “O! brave new world, That has such people in’t.”

2. Orson¬†Scott Card’s Ender’s Game and Speaker for the Dead

And my top five became my top six, because I couldn’t leave out either of these books. I’m not even sure how to classify Ender’s Game…it’s not quite a children’s book, but not quite a YA book either, reading-level wise. And yet it appeals to older readers as well. It’s both an entertaining book about the trials of a very young, talented boy at the Battle School and an exploration of Ender’s character, who for a young boy is startlingly¬†ambitious and uncompassionate. There’s even a bit of a twist ending.

Ender is a very different man in the sequel, in which he has become the Speaker for the Dead; at funerals, he is tasked with speaking honestly, no sugar-coating, about the life of the deceased. In this book, Ender has an appreciation and empathy for life, both human and alien. Although there are many intriguing characters and subplots in Speaker for the Dead, the main story line is of the mystery of the Pequeninos, the native pig-like but intelligent species of the planet Lusitania, which humans have colonized. (The Pequeninos deliver some surprises at the end.) Card successfully writes another page-turner while also conveying some pretty profound ideas and creating imperfect but (mostly) still likeable characters.

1. Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land

I’m going to throw around the word “profound” again, but seriously, Stranger in a Strang Land is a must-read sci-fi classic. Similar to John in Brave New World, Heinlein thrusts Valentine, who was raised by Martians and only knows of Martian customs and culture, into our society. I like that aspect of both books – writing about our world through the eyes of an outsider. And Valentine’s transformation throughout the book is stunning and perhaps somewhat outlandish. He starts out as this man-boy discovering Earth and what it means to be human, but by the end of the book (spoiler alert?) his Martian “ways” have spread and he’s become the Jesus-like figurehead of a new religion or spirituality. There’s also a fair amount of sex sprinkled throughout the book. Unconventional sex always seems to be a part of our looming dystopian future.

What are your favorite sci-fi/dystopian novels?