Friday, February 17, 2012

My Favorite Quad-Couple

I've been pretty busy today, but wanted to drop off a fun little post before I head out for the weekend. Earlier in the week, on Valentine's Day, author Nathan Bransford posted an article asking: Who is your favorite fictional couple?

Taken at face value, this can be a pretty simple question. I mean, everyone has a favorite, right? But I wanted to go somewhere non-traditional with it. I thought about my opinions on what makes a solid relationship and what I like to read, and I came up with my favorite.

The issue is... it's not a couple. And we're not talking a love triangle, either. More like a love square, but again, not in the traditional sense.

You see, I'm a big Wheel of Time fan. (AMOL is tentatively slotted to come out Jan 8!!). For those that aren't familiar with the series, it's a pretty standard epic fantasy. That is, it has magic, adventure, touches of romance, and spans a whole bunch of books (14 to be exact). One of the original dynamics that hooked me from the start was how successfully author Robert Jordan constructed an effective matriarchal society. Women are the only ones that can wield power in the novels (and retain their sanity), and that fact makes them the stronger of the sexes. It's interesting to see how it percolates into pretty much every corner of the world.

So when I mention that my favorite relationship is a man with three wives, you should keep in mind that this isn't your typical polygamy. One could argue that the women really had the power and choice here. Readers of the series will know that I'm talking about Rand Al'thor, Elayne Trakand, Min Farshaw, and Aviendha of the Nine Valleys sept of the Taardad Aiel.

To me, the relationship is simply fascinating. Now, there's a whole lot of other stuff going on, so it would be fair to say that the circumstances are extreme. I suppose I just enjoy how non-traditional it is. I've not read a whole lot of books where polygamy is dealt with, especially not in a favorable manner. The characters in the relationship really all want to make it work. Communication and boundaries are key, but they all share a deep love that comes through in how they handle the complicated situation.

Like I mentioned above, the final book in the series is set to come out January 8th of next year. A long ways away, to be sure, but I anticipate it with mixed emotions. It can always be a bit sad when you end on of your favorite series and have to part with characters you've grown close to. Still, I'm completely anxious to see how this relationship is resolved. Will they all live happily ever after? How will it work?

I wanted to share this route because I think its important to remember that love has many forms and doesn't always fit cleanly within boundaries society tries to create for it. Yet love, in any form, is quite beautiful to witness. I've been around a lot of what would be considered "atypical" relationships in my life so far (not all mine, mind you), and I can honestly say I'm a better, more complete person for having seen the many faces of love. I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's Day and, even if you didn't, you can remember to keep an open heart. Because love is pretty darned cool when you think about it (or read about it).


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