Fictional worlds have the power to enchant us, intrigue us, and draw us in. Characters often have a magical ability to make us fall in love with them. However, sometimes, we don’t fall in love with them, but fall in love with them being in love with another character. We all know that feeling, when those two characters’ eyes meet, and you know that you will not be sleeping until they get together. That feeling of a fictional relationship just being so perfect, that you will not rest until you find someone with whom you can reach that level of perfection. Without further ado, these are our fictional #RelationshipGoals.
Howl and Sophie (Howl’s Moving Castle)
From Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, My Neighbour Totoro), Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my favourite animated films. The main reason for this is the romance at the centre of it, between Sophie, a girl cursed to old age by a witch, and Howl, a vain wizard who lives in an enchanted, moving castle. I’m not usually one for romance, but I feel Sophie and Howl capture perfectly what love is meant to look like. Sophie had spent her whole life feeling ugly, inferior to her beautiful sister Lettie, not belonging anywhere, and Howl had never had the courage to face his responsibilities, spending his whole life running from them (he’d be relatable if it wasn’t for his ability to turn into a bird). Through each other’s love and support, both are able to find worth and strength in themselves that they had not been able to alone. In Sophie, Howl finds a reason to be brave, something to protect, and Howl gives Sophie a home, telling her something she had never heard before: that she was “beautiful.” And he can fly; Added bonus!
words by Sophie Jones
Ned and Catelyn Stark (Game of Thrones)
The marriage of Ned and Catelyn Stark is one of the most tragic relationships on Game of Thrones. But despite the brief time we got to see them together, it was clear that what started as an arranged marriage was forged into one of the strongest relationships of the series, culminating in seventeen years and five children together. From their first scene, it was clear that these two people loved each other deeply and completely, and what makes this relationship so special is the emphasis on taking time to get to know your partner. When their son, Robb, challenges his own arranged marriage, Catelyn reminds him that:
‘Love didn’t just happen to us. We built it slowly, stone by stone […] It’s not as exciting as secret passion in the woods but it is stronger. It lasts longer.’
Today there is such an emphasis on dating and rushing into things so it’s lovely to see a relationship like Ned and Catelyn’s to remind us that love doesn’t have to happen all at once. It can take time and if you’re with the right person it’s worth it.
words by Laura Woodhouse
Miranda and Gary (Miranda)
There is only one relationship we can all aspire too: Miranda and Gary off Miranda Hart’s hit BBC Show, Miranda. Their slapstick, on-and-off relationship is so perfect. Firstly, their relationship is such great fun. Miranda, for example, tries to allure Gary by claiming she is an Olympic gymnast in the “big and busty section”, which is less televised… “only on widescreen”. Other examples that spring to mind include a picnic ending in a goose chase and and their slapstick efforts to be spontaneous.
At the same time, though, their relationship just feels so honest. There are ups and downs, funny moments, she obsesses, he obsesses and while, okay, I’m not tempted to make a hoover version of my boyfriend, that insecurity is what everyone has and their relationship exposes it in a honest but comical way. They match together perfectly and make each other happy: what more could you ask for!
words by Bruno Russell
Carey and Killian (The Adventure Zone)
I absolutely adore The Adventure Zone. That said, even I acknowledge that ‘please listen to this comedy podcast where three brothers and their dad play Dungeons & Dragons’ is a pretty hard sell. What’s never hard to get people on board with, though, is how DM and primary storyteller Griffin McElroy makes sure to include (quite literally) fantastic representation within the show.
Killian is an orc with a crossbow, Carey is a dragonborn rogue who does cool backflips, and they’re GFs.
The ways in Carey and Killian’s relationship is casually yet meaningfully presented epitomises a lot about The Adventure Zone, and the ways in which creating a progressive story improves it for the better. As in their other ventures, the McElroys care about their audience, and improve the way that creators approach their content with a sincerity and awareness in a way I’ve never before gotten to experience. The introduction of explicitly trans and same-gender attracted characters sits right alongside careful considerations of race, mortality …and countless goofy jokes about everything up to and including to one character’s talking dirty to a plant.
These girls are significant in their insignificance, their relationship sweet and special and just one part of a wider, magical universe. That’s what love is, you know? Truly, they are #relationshipgoals. Everyone wants a cool, strong girlfriend who can breathe fire at your enemies.
words by Millie Cassidy
Ben and Leslie (Parks and Recreation)
You wouldn’t think one of televisions most romantic love stories would begin with government budget cuts in the small fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana. Yet this is exactly how the story of Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt begins. Juggling career ambitions and a relationship, they regularly had to choose between the two. Yet every time their priority was the same: each other. Ben and Leslie are ultimate couple goals. Peak goal moments include: working out who’s the Barack and whose the Michelle in their relationship (Leslie is Barack, obviously); Defying government policy that forbids employees from being romantically involved; Even when apart they’re incredible, sabotaging a high school UN with their post-break up pettiness! Yet all this peak coupleness comes to an epic climax in the most delightful wedding featuring arguably the most romantic line ever said on television: “I love you and I like you”.
words by Alice Johannesen
Marcus Kane and Abby Griffin (The 100)
Building slowly over three seasons, the relationship between Kane and Abby (Kabby) is special because it feels totally right and natural, making it one of the most satisfying relationships on The 100. However, it isn’t without controversies. In the pilot, Kane tried to float Abby and arrests her multiple times, then has her shock-lashed. Ordinarily, the very idea of a woman falling in love with the man who tried to have her executed, arrested and publicly whipped would be attacked for its negative messages. However, given their relationship is built on mutual admiration and affection, The 100 gets away with it by exploring love on a post-apocalyptic world with tenderness and respect. When Kane is trapped beneath a crumbling building it is Abby who risks her life to save him and when a gun is put to Abby’s head it is Kane who makes the sacrifice to save her. The 100 challenges conventional ideals of love and has always been open to exploring love in all its forms but by far the most satisfying relationship is Kabby as it encourages us to look beyond the apocalypse and what may or may not be possible to live in the moment.
words by Laura Woodhouse
Jake and Amy (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Anyone who has ever spoken to me for more than an hour will know what a fangirl I am about these two. Man… Jake Peralta and Amy Santiago give me all the feelz. Feelz with a z. This wonderful pair with their romantic stylez are the perfect example in my opinion of a TV couple done well. These guys were all about the slow burn. Even though the audience were probably already shipping them from the pilot (including moments like Jake telling Amy that she looks great in the middle of a police bust, and Amy gloating with her table of whose let more criminals go), it was two whole seasons before they finally got over themselves, deciding to ‘screw light and breezy’ and officially becoming Peraltiago.
Such is the case with a lot of my favourite couples, the thing that makes them so great are the ways in which they balance each other. Jake helps Amy loosen up, Amy helps Jake… ya know… not die! They are very different people, and it would have been easy to have pit them against each other as opposites from the beginning, but the writers of Brooklyn Nine-Nine never do that. Instead, these guys have such a genuine friendship from the start, and as their feelings slowly develop into something more, it’s not a case of immediately dropping everything and being together. Jake has to mature and deal with the fact that actually, Amy is with someone else, and that’s okay because he didn’t make a move at the right time. Amy, once her and Teddy have broken up, has to learn to understand the fact that she does in fact have feelings for Jake, and then deal with the fact that he is with someone for a while.
When they eventually get together, it’s well worth the wait, this couple are so natural and great and cute and I could go on an on all day… “I could go on and on all day- name of your sex tape!”
words by Rehana Nurmahi
Draka and Durotan (World of Warcraft)
Draka and Durotan from World of Warcraft are the best and I refuse to hear any arguments against them. Both orcs, Durotan was the chieftain of the Frostwolf Clan and Draka a… I want to say ‘a believer in their values’ but honestly, orcish history is complicated. Regardless, when they met Durotan offered courtship via hunting (classic orc) because he was instantly smitten and couldn’t believe she was in their clan, but she refused because she was too young for him. They went for hunts, “nothing more”, and after killing a wolf that was attacking them she told Durotan she was of age and they had a super romantic kiss.
You might be wondering why they’re my relationship goals, and the reason isn’t just because I’ve played too much World of Warcraft. It’s because they loved each other and they had a baby, Thrall, but just got caught up in wars. The Horde had turned on themselves so Durotan and his clan were exiled. They thought they were in a safe place but some spies had followed them and killed them both, which is just the saddest thing. They were the cutest orcs and just wanted to you know, kill some wolves and have some orc babies, but instead, they got caught up in a war and died. Honestly, they’re goals because can you even imagine a smitten orc?! Neither could I, until Durotan and Draka.
words by Carly-May Kavanagh
Barney and Robin (How I Met Your Mother)
It started off as a harmless game of “Haaaaavve you met Ted?”, but what Barney didn’t realise, is that the random girl he’d just introduced to his best friend would change his life forever. A serial dater, many of How I Met Your Mother’s gags relied on Barney’s womanising exploits making him an idol of single-manhood to the point the studio released his ‘legen-wait-for-it-dary’ Bro Code in mass market paperback. But Robin changed all of that when she and Barney finally became an item in the show’s fifth season. For me, Barney and Robin was the best relationship on the show because they liked each other before they loved each other and they respected each other enough to take a step back when it wasn’t working out. Despite his Playbook causing a lot of strife, ‘The Final Page’ proved that Barney was more than just a glorified sex gag as he finally proposed to Robin, making him one of the most well-rounded characters on the show. When they tied the knot you just knew the scotch-drinking, cigar-smoking, cheating-at-battle-ship couple was meant to be. Even if it was just for a little while…
words by Laura Woodhouse
Ron and Hermione (Harry Potter)
Would any list of fictional #relationshipgoals be complete without Romione? Harry Potter’s two best friends were young, and vastly different and drove each insane, but in the seven years that the series spans, their relationship develops into something that has you curling up in a ball of contentment. There are genuinely few literary couples that I get defensive over, but I will defend Romione to the death. A lot of people use their frequent arguing and contrasting characters as reasons why they wouldn’t work; but I don’t think that these things are big enough to invalidate this great couple. Yeah they fight, but they’re hormonal teenagers who think in very different ways. I think that their differences help balance them though: Hermione is the one who helps Ron pull himself together and do what needs to be done, whilst Ron helps Hermione to think creatively and not take herself (and everything else) too seriously.
The thing with Ron and Hermione that is seen consistently throughout the series is that they care for each other deeply and are loyal to the other without limits. Ron is the first to defend Hermione when Malfoy calls her a mudblood. Hermione will happily use a confundus charm on Cormac so that Ron can get on the Quidditch team. They are both ridiculously loving, and the way in which they both care for Harry so selflessly demonstrates this.
Ron and Hermione are both very flawed human beings, but they never let that hold them back from being the best that they can be, for themselves and for each other. They grow up together and they learn and grow together and it makes my heart hurt in all the best ways.
words by Rehana Nurmahi