Secondary Characters in Love

I realized something recently.

There are lot of books, movies, television series, and so on about people falling in love, or whose main characters end up in a relationship. (No, that’s not the thing I realized.) Mulder and Scully. Lizzie and Darcy. Aragorn and Arwen. For a lot of people, these pairings are a big deal. Fans of these works love watching the characters fall in love (or arguing endlessly on the internet about it) and creators tease us with will-they-or-won’t-they flirtation and big payoff wedding days.

All of this is perfectly fine, but it’s not for me. I don’t mind that Mulder and Scully end up together, but that was never what I watched X Files for. I love Pride and Prejudice for the witty dialogue, expertly crafted story, and deliciously wicked satires of social pretension, not for the Darcy-Bennet nuptials.

Now here’s the thing I realized: even though I have no investment in main character romances, I adore secondary character romances. I love watching side and background characters fall in love and get down to happily-ever-after-ing. I don’t care one way or another if Phryne Fisher and Jack Robinson end up together, but I’m all in for Dot and Hugh. To me, the climax of Pride and Prejudice is not when Mr. Darcy proposes (for the second time) to Elizabeth Bennet, but when Mr. Bingley proposes to Jane Bennet.

I think there are some reasons for this. Side characters’ romances are not generally made to carry the same dramatic weight as main characters’. That means they don’t usually get saddled with tedious will-they-or-won’t-they teases or artificial roadblocks to “build drama.” More often they get to be sweet, silly, stories of love. In longer-form works, like television series, secondary characters also often get to make progress in their romance, moving on from flirtation to dating to marriage to wedded life while main characters tend to get stuck in stasis.

Then again, maybe I just love secondary characters.

Anybody else feel this way? Or am I just peculiar?

Image: Jane and Charles via Giphy

In Character is an occasional feature looking at some of our favorite characters from written works and media to see what drives them, what makes them work, and what makes us love them so much.


8 thoughts on “Secondary Characters in Love

    • Erik October 20, 2017 / 09:01

      Wow, it’s not just me!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Much ado about Little Women October 21, 2017 / 05:34

    I really wish Austen had written the dialogue for when Bingley proposed to Jane…! I hope that’s in a brilliant spin off somewhere…


    • Erik October 21, 2017 / 08:48

      Oh, how delightful that would be!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Princess of the Mists October 22, 2017 / 07:15

    Sam and Rosie in the Lord of the Rings! That one gets me every time I watch it ^^ very little screen time but so cute!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Erik October 22, 2017 / 10:16

      Oh, yes, I love that one, too!


  3. Eppu October 22, 2017 / 14:19

    Oh, yes. Zoe and Wash in Firefly. Sam and Rosie in LotR. Hugh and Dot in Miss Fisher. Rory (if not Amy so much, or at least not as believably as Rory) in Doctor Who. Angela and Jack in Bones. (Oh, the “romance” of Bones and Booth almost makes me want to vomit.)

    Incidentally, even though it isn’t a romantic relationship, I so would like Jane Austen to have written out Mr. Collins’s proposal to Charlotte Lucas. That would’ve been something to see; she’s such an incredibly skilled writer.

    Liked by 1 person

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