Friendship in Fiction

As you know, Squiders, I am a giant, tribble-carrying Trekkie, and occasionally I get lost on Trek-related tumblrs that then eat half of my morning. (Let us not talk about this morning.) But today I learned something about my very favorite fictional friendship, that of the trio of Kirk, Spock, and Bones.

It was a quote from Gene Roddenberry that basically said that since, unlike a novel where you have access to a character’s internal thoughts, everything on TV has to be visible, he took one perfect person, and split him into three parts: the authoritative, the logical, and the humanistic. So apparently Kirk, Spock, and Bones seem like one whole because they are, which is kind of poetic, really.

I’m a giant sucker for the nakama or found family trope, which is where a group of people basically becomes so close they’re willing to fight for and die for one another. Trek does this all the time, as do a lot of other scifi/fantasy television series. I feel like it’s easy to do it on TV–easy to put characters into situations, stretched out over seasons at a time, where they can grow into such camaraderie.

But here’s the thing. I fell in love with Kirk, Spock, and Bones from the Trek novels, not the show. (Though I do love the show. I just didn’t have a lot of access to it as a kid. Now it is free everywhere.) Part of this was because the novels assumed you already knew the relationship and just jumped right into it. But the fact is that it’s such a strong friendship that a lot of the plots directly flowed from it, proving time and again that these men truly cared for each other and the rest of the command crew.

And that got me thinking. You do see it in books too, though it seems to be more common in older fantasy than more recent novels. (This, I suspect, reflects the changing tide of the genre. Most fantasy used to be high epic fantasy–now we get a lot more urban fantasy where the conflicts are personal instead of world-changing.) Lord of the Rings is an obvious example. Harry Potter. Pretty much any series with a large, ensemble cast. I feel like it’s harder to do in an individual book, because it’s hard to reflect the necessary growth of the characters becoming a cohesive unit, though I’m sure it’s been done.

What’s your favorite fictional friendship, Squiders? Any recommendations for me (books or other media) with good examples of this trope?

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