Jan 31, 2012

Platonic Progationist Relationships

I remember having a conversation with someone about how they wished there were more books where opposite gendered protagonists were just friends and not involved romantically in any sort of way. They didn't want one-sided relationships, or triangles, just straight up platonic friendship. Was that really too much to ask?

The idea was fascinating, my NaNo novel has such a thing, but maybe I find it so attractive because it is a rarity for two leads to be 'just friends', especially in YA and above.

And then I came across this video:



So I had to wonder, are such relationships rare in books because they're rare in life? I mean, most of my guys friends are gay, and I'm pretty sure the one who isn't wouldn't mind a snogging session.

I've been racking my brain and bookshelf for a few days for a platonic example and can't really find one. Maybe Doctor Who (not that it's a book), with the Doctor and Amy, but Amy totally had a thing for him in the beginning so it doesn't quite work. I really quite curious now, so does anyone know of any books where the male and female protagonist are only friends, and stay friends if it's part of a series?

13 comments:

  1. When Harry Met Sally, Gwen. It's a classic, and so very true.
    The only book(s) I can think of where this doesn't apply is in Harry Potter. Harry and Hermione are close, but not romantically involved. I suppose you could say it doesn't count because Hermione and Ron hook up in the end, but Harry and Hermione are alone a lot through the final book and nothing happens. Doesn't that count?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was gonna bring up the Harry/Hermione example too, which I love! Once of my cp's has a book where the relationship is purely plutonic and it's my favorite relationship of the book! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I feel very stupid now, becuase of course Harry and Hermione count and how many times have I read that? *headdesk* x10

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have a lot of platonic relationships. I was trying to think, however, whether I had any in my own writing, and apart from flatmates in one, I don't think I do. Although as I mostly write short stories only the very important relationships can feature.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Aside from Harry Potter, there's only one other book I can think of on my shelf that has a platonic relationship. Intertwined by Gena Showalter. It has romance in it at one point, but two of the characters that meet, you think at first they will probably hook up but only end up being friends.
    I have an old story I wrote a few years ago where my MC meets a boy and they are only friends. Been thinking of seeing if I can edit it and maybe publish it one day. Not too sure, might have unfixable plot holes. ^^;;

    ReplyDelete
  6. Interesting post! I can't think of very many either. I think the platonic relationships lack the tension and conflict of romantic ones. Not quite as fun to read.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Most men are hard-wired NOT to be capable of platonic relationships with women. That said - my best friend is a happily married psychologist. When we met, she owned a store in the mall right next to mine. It was mall run by a harsh, unstable manager.

    We grew into best friends from sharing similar woes, similar backgrounds (I have a Master's in Psychology), and similar senses of humor. No sex. Just friends. Her mother died and no one in her family understood her anguish -- she had always been the strong one. Her tears made them uncomfortable. I understood. She felt saft to cry in my presence.

    When my own mother died the next year, she was there for me. Most do not understand our friendship. We don't explain. Fellow comrades-in-arms don't feel the need to. Roland

    ReplyDelete
  8. Roland's relationship sounds really supportive. Personally I've always found that males can't or don't want to be platonic friends. I was going to suggest Lyra in Pullman's Dark Materials but I just googled her and it looks like I'm wrong. I'm sitting here tapping my fingers and thinking so I guess the answer is 'no' apart from Harry and Hermione mentioned above.

    ReplyDelete
  9. The Doctor with the red headed comedian, theirs was a purely platonic relationship.

    I think crime novels are good for male / female friendships, probably because the stakes are too high, they never get any time for romance?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, that's a good one, Rebecca. I've been trying to think of one. I think she was one of the best conpanions, just because there wasn't any romance!

      Delete
  10. Great post, Gwen, and something to think about for sure. Yep, Harry & Hermione are the only ones that come to mind right now, and I agree with Angela that the reason they're so non-prevalent in fiction (real life... we'll talk about that in a minute) is because the sexual tension between two people adds to the conflict of the story, drives the plot, makes for interesting motivation and sub-plots even when the story isn't a romantic one per se. I do think, though, that it's a very interesting idea to explore. The tension of attraction can be there, not in any "he/she's the one" way, but just as part of human nature, and that tension can contribute its bit to the story without the protags ending up in bed (or kissing or holding hands, whatever the genre demands). I think such a story would have a powerful undercurrent of human experience--why is true friendship so difficult between the two sexes?

    P.S. -- So happy you signed up for A2Z :) Looking forward to it!

    ReplyDelete
  11. My thinking cap is on. There must be some good ones out there. The challenge will be to find one where both are heterosexual (or both homosexual for that matter). Writers need to usually justify WHY they are platonic. And the justification must be convincing espeically if they have good chemistry or are two great people.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Well, I'm a little late to the party, and I can't think of anymore books... but I was friends with a guy for over five years before the idea of dating occurred to either of us!

    ReplyDelete