I know, I know, my previous lists are "Writing Wednesday", so why the change? Well, because this one is more media commentary. I've noticed my favorite heroes and stories getting shredded for the most inane reasons by feminists, most recently from actors like Kristin Bell and Keiara Knightly. Primarily because of the way women are treated, subjects of consent and empowerment, so I understand. Don't get me wrong, consent matters, but innocent kisses and coming to the ladies' rescues don't seem that bad to me. It almost seems like feminists would prefer abusive behavior over gentleness and sweetness.
The latest victims are Princes in the Disney Princess films. Their crime? Snow White's Prince (his name's Florian) and Prince Philip kissing their unconscious sweethearts and Cinderella's Prince's crime of wanting to rescue her from her abusive step-family. Okay... yeah, I can see why this would be a problem (!) Many of these same people then praise couples like Harley Quinn and the Joker or Christian Grey and Ana from "50 Shades of Grey" for their progressive ideas. You call this progress?!
And this is Mild compared to some other incidents in the animated cartoons and comics. Harley has been thrown from windows, forced to hide her own child from the Joker, and has other, more horrible things happen to her. "Suicide Squad" shows a Joker committed to Harley's rescue, but my question is "why?" Joker always has an ace up his sleeve, does this Joker really love Harley? But the actions of one version of the Joker doesn't undo years of Joker abusing Harley.
Here's a hot tip: DON'T go for a guy who pushes you around and makes you feel bad about yourself. Go for a guy who treats you like this:
And makes you feel like this:
Don't settle for Joker when you could find a Thor, a Ten, a Howl, a Bog King, or an Aragorn. Wait until you find a man who will treat you like the lady-princess you are.
Enough of T.K.'s free advice corner, on to the list!
15: Genie and Eden, from Aladdin the Series
Introduced in the episode "Some Enchanted Genie", Eden, Genie of the Bottle is the servant of a young homeless girl named Dandi. Genie meets Eden while he's searching for his own lamp, which was stolen by Abis Mal, an inept criminal mastermind. Exuberant and bubbly Eden is the perfect match for Genie, and even little Dandi sees it and sets them up on a date. On their date, Genie sweeps Eden off her feet and makes her very happy. A carelessly spoken wish ruins their happiness for now, but Genie and Eden are immortals. They have time.
In Disney's Descendants, we're introduced to Jordan, Genie's daughter, and we can assume that she's Eden's child too. Inheriting the best traits of her parents, Eden's wit and Genie's zest for life, Jordan is one of the more enjoyable characters in the franchise. She loves planning parties and making clothes and jewelry for her friends at Auradon Prep.
14: Aladdin and Jasmine, from Disney's Aladdin
My all- time favorite Disney couple is Aladdin and Jasmine. Since I've talked about my love for Aladdin before, I won't say much. I love their dynamic most of all. Aladdin is able to offer Jasmine someone who will take care of her in many ways, and he will make a good king because he knows what it's like on the mean streets. Jasmine is good for Aladdin because she smooths off his rough edges and gives him the impetus to be a better man than he was before.
13: Tie- Tigatron and Airrazor and Silverbolt and Blackarachnia from Beast Wars Transformers
Though a very odd choice, these two couples were my first introduction to sci-fi romance.
Tigatron and Airrazor are opposites. He's a cat, she's a bird, he's tall, she's short, she's gregarious, he's a loner. As the first of the good characters to arrive on Earth with no memory of the Transformer homeworld, Tigatron and Airrazor are connected first and foremost to the planet and understand it more than their comrades. Convincing stoic Tigatron to be her friend was a tall order for Airrazor, but she succeeds admirably. Despite their differences, the two are rarely apart, together until the end.
Blackarachnia was kidnapped from the good guys while unconscious and forcibly reprogrammed. She doesn't know another way to get on besides by her wits and using her feminine wiles when she has to (Yeah... A little uncomfortable for a cartoon, LOL). When Silverbolt arrives on the scene, and acts so different from everyone else, (refusing to fight or harm a female, treating her with respect and kindness) she can't help but be attracted to him. It seems doomed since they are from two different factions; but they make it work, overcoming any and every roadblock in their path to be together.
12: Batman and Wonder Woman from Justice League
The writers of "Justice League" never meant for Batman and Wonder Woman to be a thing at all. This peck on the cheek was never meant to be an indicator of a relationship. But the fans took this thing and ran with it, and the writers said "This isn't a half bad idea! Let's do it!" It wasn't a big thing in the cartoon, but it was there. Wonder Woman is very sweet, and tries to pry Batman out of his shell, which Batman resists mightily. But he can't resist, not really. This accidental relationship has even bled into the live action universe, with hints at a "WonderBat" relationship there too.
"One: dating within the team always leads to disaster. Two: you're a princess from a society of immortal warriors; I'm a rich kid with issues... lots of issues. And three: if my enemies knew I had someone special, they wouldn't rest until they'd gotten to me, through her." (Wonder Woman smashes a gargoyle in her hand) "Next?"- Wonder Woman and Batman (Courtesy of Warner Brothers)
11: Chuck and Sarah from Chuck
Chuck Bartowski feels like a looser. He's working a dead end job in a dead end town. His college sweetheart left him for a rival and he's still living with his sister in their family home. All that changes when an old buddy sends him a message containing the Intersect, a computer program for the human brain that instantly identifies targets and what they've done. The Government knows this has happened and sends Sarah (who works with the CIA) and John (FBI) to keep an eye on him. Throughout the series, Sarah and Chuck get closer and fall in love. They fight obstacles, face death, and take on the US Government to be together, with a smile on their faces and martial arts under their belts.
10: Odd and Stormy from Dean Koontz's Odd Thomas
Odd Thomas and Stormy Llewellyn are high-school sweethearts who believe they are destined to be together. They both live and work in their hometown of Pico Mundo, California, among the town characters and ghosts of the town. Ghosts are drawn to Odd, as he is the only one who can see them and help them move on or get justice. Stormy is one of the few who knows about Odd's gift, and helps him whenever she can. They are well matched, devoted to one another, and even after tragedy strikes, Odd is true to Stormy.
9: Sophie Hatter and Howl Jenkins from Howl's Moving Castle
Sophie Hatter is the oldest daughter of the Hatter family, and because she is the eldest daughter in a family living in a place where fairy tale tropes are real, the best she can hope for is to own her father's hat shop. She considers herself very plain, so she dedicates herself to making the very best hats in the land and not worrying about an adventure that will never come for her. She's wrong, the adventure of a lifetime awaits! The Wizard Howl has long loved and searched for Sophie and throughout their adventure together, Howl makes it his mission to build Sophie up. He fights for her, calls her beautiful, and treats her like a queen. As Howl helps her, she helps Howl break down the shell of callousness and selfishness he's built up around himself, making him a better man.
8: Thor and Jane Foster from Marvel's Thor
Prince Thor of Asgard is sent to earth to learn humility after his rash actions lead to war on his homeworld. Once he arrives he meets the curious and beautiful Jane Foster, an astrophysicist investigating phenomena in the New Mexico desert. Showering Jane with all the courtesies he has been taught since birth, Thor wins her heart and with it the compassion and nobility that makes him worthy to wield his hammer once more.
In Thor: The Dark World, Thor rushes to save Jane when she becomes a living host for the Aether, a cosmic substance. He continuously risks everything to keep Jane alive and safe, his throne, his father's wrath, and his life, all for her. For Jane's part in both movies, she keeps Thor tethered firmly to the ground, her frail humanity giving Thor something to fight for and protect.
7: Tie- Nine and Rose Tyler and Eleven and Clara Oswald from Doctor Who
Rose Tyler is a normal, innocent shop-girl in London, the Ninth Doctor is a war-torn and bitter man. They meet when the Doctor rescues her from a stampeding herd of mannequins (this is Doctor Who, crazy stuff happens all the time!) and destroys the shop where she works. Intrigued by this man, Rose can't resist when he invites her to come with him on adventures. Together, they race around the cosmos, hand in hand in one predicament or another. Rose's light and warmth reaches the icy Nine and pulls him away from the brink and to the sun.
Clara is much the same, though Eleven is more sad than angry. Eleven has lost everyone he cares about by this point, when Clara floats like Mary Poppins into his life. She floats in and out, always just out of reach until the Doctor catches her and never really lets her go. His Impossible Girl makes him so happy, and she is happy to be with him.
"Do you wanna come with me? 'Cos if you do, then I should warn you — you're gonna see all sorts of things. Ghosts from the past. Aliens from the future. The day the Earth died in a ball of flame. It won't be quiet, it won't be safe, and it won't be calm. But I'll tell you what it will be: the trip of a lifetime!"- Nine (Courtesy of the BBC)
6: Barda and Scott Free from Kirby's Fourth World
Barda and Scott Free were created by comics great Jack Kirby in the late 1960s. Barda was one of villain Granny Goodness's Female Furies, while Scott was a freedom fighter on the planet Apokolips. The unlikely pair fell in love and escaped to Earth where they set up shop as show-people, showcasing Scott's escape artistry, and occasionally assisting Superman against the forces of Apokolips, but seeking only to be a normal couple on Earth. Fat chance!
Easily one of the most stable couples in the DC continuum, Scott and Barda really love each other and despite pressure within and without, they are determined to make it through. Barda's personality is actually based on Jack's wife Roz, so like Tolkien's Luthien is a love-letter to his beloved that has stood the test of time.
5: Samurai Jack and Ashi from Samurai Jack
I wasn't too pleased when I heard about Samurai Jack Season 5. When everyone boasted about the more adult aspects of the new show, I said to myself, "Why mess with a great formula?" I was pleasantly surprised.
In this miniseries, Jack has spent 50 years wandering the world without aging and is no closer to getting home. Just when he is at his lowest, seven cultists called the Daughters of Aku attack him. Jack is horrified to realize that he must now shed human blood to escape them. Most of the women fall to their deaths, only one, Ashi surviving. Jack, determined to regain his honor takes care of Ashi, despite her protests and screams. Ashi comes to realize that she's been lied to her entire life, the Samurai is good and Aku is pure evil. With this realization, Ashi turns her back on her old life and after making herself a new dress from flowers and leaves, joins Jack on his quest. Jack and Ashi become a team, then a couple, working together to "get back to the past" and end Aku once and for all.
4: Sherlock Holmes and Molly Hooper from BBC's Sherlock
In BBC's modern Sherlock, the famed detective is often assisted by pathologist Molly Hooper. A quiet, girl, Molly has a huge crush on Sherlock, but he rarely notices her in any capacity other than professionally. Of course, Sherlock fans being what they are, they can't let that stand. Sherlock and Molly have evolved into a will they-won't they situation, leaving fans guessing whether they'll become a couple. I am personally in the Sherlock-Molly camp and hope Molly's patience pays off!
3: Gawain and Lady Ragnell from the Legends of King Arthur
I couldn't leave my boy Gawain off this list! When Sir Gomer Somer Jore (Don't ask me, it's Medieval literature) sets an impossible riddle to King Arthur, Gawain sets out to solve it. The riddle is "What do women truly desire?" Of course, everyone has a different answer. Just before he has to answer, Gawain meets an ugly hag in the forest who offers the answer in exchange for a boon which she will as for when they return. The answer, "to have their own way" is the correct one, and Sir Gomer is defeated. And what does the hag want for her boon? To marry Gawain! Gawain, being who he is consents and marries her. When they're alone, the hag, Ragnell asks Gawain a question, would he rather her be beautiful in the day and ugly at night, or ugly in the day and beautiful at night? He can't bring himself to say, because it's she who would bare the brunt of people's stares, so he gives her the choice. In giving up his will, the curse on Ragnell is broken, giving her back her true beauty once and for all.
2: Tie- Aragorn and Arwen and Faramir and Eowyn from Lord of the Rings
Both Arwen and Eowyn are maligned by feminists for the ultimate crime of "giving it all for a man". Arwen of course gives up her immortality for Aragorn, and Eowyn her life as a shieldmaiden for Faramir. But this reduces these women to only one aspect of their characters and makes their noble spouses out to be the bad guys. It's more complex than that. There are people who have defended these couples far better than I ever could, so I will only say that what Arwen and Eowyn wasn't in vain. On the contrary, what they gave up was for the good of all Middle Earth.
1: Beauty and the Beast, pretty much any combination.
Image Credits: Center- Rebecca Leveille. Smaller Pictures, from upper left- Belle and Beast- Disney, Bog King and Marianne- Lucasfilm, Goliath and Elisa- Disney, Hank McCoy and Carly-Disney/Marvel, Martian Manhunter and Rose-Warner Brothers/DC, Jadzia Dax and Worf-Paramount Pictures, Kira Nerys and Odo- Paramount Pictures, Vision and Wanda Maximoff- Disney/Marvel, Beauty and Lord Argus- Megan Kearney, Vincent Wells and Catherine Chandler- CBS
By far though, my favorite couple is almost any combination of Beauty and the Beast. For whatever reason, I have always loved the image of physical power matched with physical weakness. That's not to say that my favorite Beauties are weak! No, they are often the strongest among heroines, choosing danger over safety for the sake of people they love. But I have rules that govern this story, the Beast must be a genuinely good man, never abusive or using his power for ill. The Beauty must also have a spine, and not put up with nonsense from anyone. She must be able to stand on her own two feet against what ever is thrown in her path, not just swoon prettily over random bits of furniture. The breaking of these rules is why I can't stand "Twilight" (stalking is abuse), "50 Shades of Grey" (Abuse is abuse) or "The Ancient Magus Bride" (what the heck, Japan!?). Victim-hood is not sexy, ladies. In most versions, Beauty is offered two versions of manhood, one who uses his power for ill (like Gaston in the Disney version) and one who is ugly, but virtuous. When she chooses virtue, Beauty receives her reward, a virtuous partner.
I'm T.K. Wilson, Read my blog for great information and stories about dolls, toy restoration, Christian Fantasy and so much more! Blog updates Mondays and Fridays.