So the other week I started a new series of posts called ‘Five of the Best’. The premise is pretty simple: I’ll pick five books that I think are amongst the best books going in a particular category/area and give a brief explanation of why I like them so much. The previous post was all about prologues, and you can find it here if you want to read it.
Today, I’ll be talking about friendships and which books I think show great platonic relationships between characters. Everyone loves reading about friendships – it’s one of the things I often see people saying they saw more of in books – and I totally know why. Reading about a good friendship, full of loyalty or banter and caring, etc, always makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside! Well, it does for me, anyway.
So, if you want to get that feeling from a pair (or more) of charcaters in your next SFF read, then maybe think about picking up one of these…
Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Let’s get this one out of the way first. It’s the obvious one, isn’t it? Everyone knows Tolkien wrote great male friendships. Bilbo, Gandalf and Thorin’s company of dwarves; Legolas and Gimli; Frodo and Sam; Merry and Pippin. The list goes on and for good reason! A lot of people credit the strength of his friendships to the bonds he witnessed between soldiers on the Western Front in WWI, and while I can’t say if that is right or wrong, it makes sense to me. Through the movies, these friendships have become almost iconic in pop culture and, while the actors of course deserve credit, the foundation was lain in these books!
Skyward by Brandon Sanderson
For me, friendship and learning to feel welcome within a group of people is one of the real key themes in this book, so of course the friendships are done well here. The best thing about these friendships for me is the way they develop over the course of the book, and then Starsight after that. Spensa starts off as a very prickly character (understatement, right there) but is accepted by the other members of her flight crew and it is just done brilliantly. I loved the natural way the friendships changed her for the better, with her learning to care for others and see things from their POVs, while still keeping the spiky edge to her character – leading to some absolutely hilarious lines!
The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French
People don’t always think orcs and friendships. But you know what, that is one of the best bits of The Grey Bastards and the Lot Lands series. About a small warband of half-orcs living in a land that resembles the Wild West, you expect some strong friendships as these Bastards can’t afford to not trust those at their backs… And that is exactly what you get! Especially with the closeness and banter between our three main protagonists: Jackal, Oats and Fetching. Even the worst of the Lot Lands can’t break them apart!
Trollslayer by William King
Warhammer books are definitely best known for their action scenes, and this book and the other Slayer books certainly have that, but what really makes these books a classic with the fans is the friendship between Gotrex, the aforementioned dwarfen Trollslayer of the title, and his human companion, and expelled-student and poet, Felix. Trollslayer, as the first book in the series, is where it all begins and King really brings their friendship to life throughout the series of short stories that make up this book. By the end, while he may hide it behind a gruff exterior, it is clear that Gotrex has a certain affection and respect for Felix. He just won’t really admit it because the manling would let it get to his head!
The Boneships by RJ Barker
Joron Twiner is a man at his lowest ebb. But it is the trust and confidence, and eventual friendship of Lucky Meas Gilbryn – possibly the most celebrated Shipwife in history – that brings him back frim the brink. This is a story of personal redemption in many ways, and friendship is at the core of that! Barker really captures the importance of friendship to a person here and how it can bring the best out of you.
So there you have it, my ‘Five of the Best’ for friendships! What do you think of my choices? Do you agree? Are there any ones I ddn’t put down that you think I should have? Let me know in the comments!
Have a great day!