This Valentine’s Day, as all Valentine’s Days, will not succeed in bringing our city down. This Valentine’s Day, as all Valentine’s Days, will soon recede into painful memory, fading with time, until another foul Valentine’s Day is upon us again.
—Welcome to Night Vale, “Valentine”
It’s that time of year again, nerd friends. That awful time of year known as Valentine’s Day. Once a year, before Valentine’s Day, our authors nominate and then vote on ships for our Top 20 Romantic Couples in Geekdom (10 Canon/10 Fanon) list. It is during this time that the LGG&F writers go from peaceful coexistence straight into full-blown anarchy as each writer battles for their favorite ships to make the list.
The Canon List:
1. Mulan/Shang (Mulan)
Rin: If you don’t love Shang’s awkward attempts at romance or Mulan’s badassery, well, I’m sorry you have poor taste. Everyone knows how cute these two are already, but with recent readings of Mulan’s character being genderfluid, their relationship and the characters themselves have become more complex. We here at LGG&F are huge fans of meta, especially when adding more diversity is involved, so these new insights into both of these couple’s characters just adds to the joy they already bring us.
2. Cecil/Carlos (Welcome to Night Vale)
Saika: Who doesn’t love Carlos and his perfect hair, or Cecil’s schoolboy crush on Night Vale’s newest scientist? I’ve been burned so often by queerbaiting that I listened to Cecil waxing rhapsodic about Carlos without ever expecting a relationship to develop there, but in “One Year Later”, beneath the mysterious lights that float above the Arby’s, this ship finally got canon-ized. There’s a lot that’s cool about Cecil and Carlos being together, but most importantly, in a town where everything is off-the-wall weird, Cecil and Carlos’s queer interracial relationship is the one really normal thing. And that’s, well, neat.
3. Raleigh/Mako (Pacific Rim)
Luce: Come on, guys, they’re so Drift compatible it physically hurts. From the moment Raleigh first laid eyes on Mako, he was transformed from Angsty White Hero into Desperately-In-Love Swooning Man. And for Mako, Raleigh symbolizes the hope of a new family in a new world. The only questionable thing about this pairing is its place on the canon list: the two have never expressed romantic interest in each other in canon, although director Guillermo del Toro did specifically say he shot their fight scene as if it were a sex scene. Call it a tragic sign of the heteroromantic times in which we live, but that counts in my book.
4. Xena/Gabrielle (Xena: Warrior Princess)
Lady Geek Girl: This classic 90’s show gave us Lucy Lawless as the warrior princess Xena, who travels the world trying to help others in order to repent for her evil deeds as a brutal conqueror. With her is her best friend and eventual lover, Gabrielle, the beautiful blonde staff-wielding pacifist. In the show they have kissed, bathed together, and defeated monsters and gods. It’s basically one of the best lesbian pairings out there.
5. Danny/Ethan (Teen Wolf)
Lady Geek Girl: While Danny and Ethan are still only minor characters on Teen Wolf, who doesn’t love their adorable interracial love? Danny is the popular Hawaiian lacrosse player that everybody likes; Ethan is a werewolf with a dark, tortured, dangerous past—together they fall in love. Ethan’s looking for redemption and seems to find it in Danny, but alas, Danny doesn’t even know Ethan’s a werewolf yet! Let’s hope this canonical pairing will get some more screentime so we can see how their story plays out.
6. (tie) Anna/Kristoff (Frozen)
Ace: Well, just because some of us weren’t too happy that Frozen still incorporated a romantic pairing into the narrative, doesn’t mean that that relationship isn’t realistic and healthy—and if we truly had to have a romance, this was probably the way to do it. Anna and Kristoff are on equal terms with one another; she’s independent and he’s not threatened by her independence or outgoing ways. Instead of jumping into a relationship right away, the two of them get to know each other first. And let’s face it, for a kids’ movie, this relationship is incredibly realistic. Sure, they may only have met a few days ago, but in that time, all they’ve done is kiss. It’s not like they’re getting married. After all, you can’t marry a man you just met.
6. (tie) Rose/Kanaya (Homestuck)
Saika: Internet romance at its best. Rose and Kanaya get to know each other online and meet up later, you know, after the world had been destroyed by a computer game and their parallel universes were able to collide. Rose is a super-intelligent young lesbian lady with a bucketful of mommy issues, and Kanaya is the female-presenting pangender alien of her dreams. It’s hard out there for teenage gays floating through a post-apocalyptic space wasteland, but they really do care about each other, and hopefully this is one ship Homestuck author and evil mastermind, Andrew Hussie, won’t sink.
7. Utena/Anthy (Revolutionary Girl Utena)
Rin: The anime lesbian relationship, the alpha and omega—okay, so I may be getting a bit dramatic. Utena fights in duels at Ohtori Academy to win the “power to revolutionize the world” via the Rose Bride, Anthy. As Utena fights, she discovers that the duels are wrong because Anthy is not an object to be won or used. Aside from the deep relationships between the two, Utena also can be considered genderqueer as she’s clearly uncomfortable with dressing as a girl and her life’s goal is to become a prince—more specifically, Anthy’s prince. Their relationship is full of struggles from the very beginning, but seeing them work through them to reach mutual understanding and love is one of the most satisfying conclusions to a manga ever.
8. Admiral Adama/President Roslin (Battlestar Galactica)
Stinekey: Laura Roslin and William Adama couldn’t be more different. When an alien invasion threatens to destroy humanity, Secretary of Education Roslin finds herself the unlikely President of the Twelve Colonies. At the same time, Commander William Adama was a moment away from retirement when he becomes the head of the military, the de facto guardian of what’s left of humanity. Roslin is a pure humanitarian; Adama prefers cold, risky military strategy. But when forced to work together, they discover that they’re the yin to the other’s yang, and in pursuit of a new Earth, they fall in love.
9. Robin/Leslie (Shortpacked!)
Dom: Hyperactive womanchild Robin and snark champ Leslie are awesome together—they balance each other out! Not only are they a loving couple, they often help each other grow. They’ve suffered both fantastic and mundane hardships, but always come out on the other side better and more fleshed out. It’s excellent to see a lesbian relationship that doesn’t focus solely on the lesbian aspect of it. Plus, they have a baby on the way!
10. Madame Vastra/Jenny (Doctor Who)
Syng: How dare you accuse them of impropriety! They’re married! Though misunderstood during their own era, these two make a wonderful crime-fighting team that provided the “real” inspiration for Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. They’re always there when the Doctor needs them, and they supported him during a dark time in his life. And props to them for putting up with Strax, too.
The Fanon List:
1. Abbie/Ichabod (Sleepy Hollow)
Luce: A time-traveling soldier from the Revolution and a modern-day cop are brought together by George Washington’s Bible to fight the oncoming Apocalypse. That doesn’t sound like an epic pairing to you?! Abbie and Ichabod are perfect for each other—he’s posh and hopelessly outdated; she’s down-to-earth and needs something to believe in. Together, they literally fight zombies. It’s just too bad Ichabod is married.
2. Zuko/Katara (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Syng: Last year we featured Zuko/Honor for laughs. But this year we couldn’t ignore the call of a hugely popular ship that has stood the test of time: Zutara. Dante Basco and Mae Whitman, the voice actors for Zuko and Katara, ship it. There are hints that the creators toyed with the idea too, but changed their mind for some reason. It would just be a much more interesting ship than Kataang and Maiko are. With Aang, Katara is always in a supporting role. We never see her grow in relation to him. Whereas with Zuko, she needed to get over her anger and prejudice at him (and by analogy, anger and prejudice against the Fire Nation in general). It gave her more of an opportunity to be a complete character. Same with Zuko. In order to truly prove his growth and worth as a person, and to be truly accepted as a full member of the Gaang, he had to prove himself to Katara. In contrast, Mai didn’t play much of a role in Zuko’s Hero’s Journey, as she was in the background most of the time. Plus with Zutara, there’s a total fire/water sexual tension thing!
3. Kim/Shego (Kim Possible)
Dom: These two are fantastic enemies and have the tension to match, which stands to reason. They’re physical equals with similar fighting styles; they’re both hyper competent and enjoy a challenging battle. But more importantly, who doesn’t love their banter during fights? From the cutesy-name calling, to the fact that they rarely severely injure each other, to the fact that Shego has saved Kim’s life on multiple occasions just to be the one to finally finish her, it’s very clear that they have chemistry. We get a tease of it one episode where Shego turned good and they were the best of friends. Let’s just pretend that never got erased.
4. Scott/Allison/Isaac (Teen Wolf)
Saika: If you ask me, a lot of the Teen Drama inherent in Scott’s friend Isaac dating Scott’s ex-girlfriend Allison could be easily removed if Scott were to just realize he was into both of them. Allison and Isaac seem to be suffering from the same “I’m kind of into both of them” problem, and the solution is clearly invoking the powers of the OT3. And I mean, maybe it’s just me, but what part of a loving interracial bisexual polyamorous threesome sounds like a bad thing?
5. Jamie/Brienne (Game of Thrones)
Ace: Yeah, these two start off hating each other. He’s arrogant and has no honor, and she’s ugly—beauty matters, damn it! Also, they’re both on opposing sides of a war, but when have little things like bloodshed and massive destruction ever gotten in the way of love? These two were meant for each other.
6. Enjolras/Grantaire (Les Misérables)
Saika: “Grantaire admired, loved, and venerated Enjolras.” Those are words from Hugo’s mouth, people, not a fanfic. Grantaire spends most of his time with Enjolras pining for the Revolution’s prettiest leader, but Enjolras resents him for his apparent lack of dedication to The Cause. In what is easily the most romantic scene in the book—don’t talk to me about Marius and Cosette, okay—Grantaire appears as Enjolras is cornered by soldiers and about to die. Although he probably could have escaped death—the soldiers had passed him by—he approaches Enjolras and asks if Enjolras will permit him to stand at his side for the first and last time to die with him. Enjolras finally accepts him, and they go down together. (Massive kudos to the movie for including a similar scene, as there’s no set choreography to that end in the stage show.) So yeah, this pairing is a tragic one, but well, what did you expect from a story whose title literally translates to “The Miserable Ones”?
7. Sansa/Margaery (Game of Thrones)
Rin: On their own, both these girls know how to survive in the dangerous world of Game of Thrones. However, Margaery has already been shown to care for the slightly less sly Sansa and works to protect her from the shitwad Joffrey. Even better, Margaery has already spoken up in defense of gay rights in the presence of Sansa—and the scene itself could be taken as a confession of a crush.
8. Sherlock/Mary/John (BBC Sherlock)
Stinekey: It seemed like it wasn’t possible to make BBC Sherlock‘s dynamic duo of John Watson and Sherlock Holmes any better. The chemistry (and sexual tension) between the two men was flawless. But into their lives walks Mary Morstan, and what was too good to be true just got even better. Mary gives John some much needed stability and constancy in his life that he doesn’t get from Sherlock. And while she might not be his intellectual equal, Mary has a very keen understanding of how Sherlock’s mind works and doesn’t put up with his tricks and exaggerations like John does. In a fantastic pre-wedding scene, Mary plays both men in order to get them to rekindle their relationship. The addition of Mary not only makes Johnlock more interesting, but reveals a new layer of complexity in each of these three characters.
9. (tie) Meenah/Aranea (Homestuck)
Rin: A would-be empress of the universe and the bookish blabbermouth she loves. The two create a dangerous power couple, with Aranea having the knowledge of thousands of years behind her and Meenah having the power to put almost any plan in action. They’re best friends and bring out both the best and worst in each other, but are totally accepting of everything, flaws and all.
9. (tie) Sif/Jane (Marvel Comics)
Lady Geek Girl: Thor is hot and all muscled, but let’s face it, Jane and Sif are totally eyeing each other up and quickly forgetting about silly ol’ Thor. Maybe some of you thought Sif was jealous of Jane when she saw her and Thor together, but you’d be wrong. She was totally jealous of Thor! And Jane, for her part, was maybe a little too curious about Sif than Thor would have liked. What’s better than a lady scientist dating a Norse god? Answer: A lady scientist dating a Norse goddess.
10. Harry/Hermione (Harry Potter)
Pisces: Harry and Hermione… when we first started reading, I think we all thought they would end up together. This coupling is just so natural, instinctive; it just makes sense. Ron and Hermione always felt like a consolation prize, a way to show that sometimes the Best Friend does end up with the Girl. Now even J.K. has voiced her opinion, re-kindling a spark of hope in Harmony fans everywhere.