Today is National Best Friends Day, so I thought I should write about my favourite literary best friends.
Once upon a time I lived in a really small town that lacked in the most important way… it had no bookstore. So colour me thrilled when a used bookstore FINALLY opened and I could get my hands on books that I was actually allowed to keep. (This was in the days before online shopping, so Amazon was not an option)
On my very first trip I acquired The Oathbound by Mercedes Lackey. It was tattered and yellow but it was mine, and it set in motion an insatiable need to own as many books as possible. But that’s a story for another day…
The Oathbound is about two very different women who have become inextricably bound by their actions and some serious magic. The story begins after Tarma and Kethry have fought together to take out some really awful bad guys who killed everyone in Tarma’s clan (except for her, obviously). The women are on their way back to the plains to ensure her clan isn’t declared dead, but food and money are running low. Although they have been with each other for months, they still don’t know much about each other, so Tarma has no idea why Kethry starts acting weird as they get closer to the next major city along the roadway.
I love these characters for a number of different reasons. First, because they are both strong and capable women who have made lives for themselves outside societal norms. Tarma is a deadly warrior and Kethry is a mage with incredible powers. They are completely self-reliant and don’t need a man to get things done. Girl power!
Second, their friendship isn’t perfect. They are still learning things about each other and are afraid that their secrets will make the other person hate them. It’s real and not one of these made up “omg, we just met but I already totally trust you with every one of my deepest and darkest secrets” type of friendships that we often see in fiction.
And finally, they are different! Tarma is asexual, has a messed up voice, was raised in tents and wagons, and could kill you with her pinky. Kethry is soft, feminine, was raised in a castle in the city, and could probably also kill you with her pinky. Tarma has ghostly warrior teachers who visit her most nights; Kethry went to a mage school. They don’t always understand each other because they grew up in very different settings and their educations are vastly different, but they recognize the similarities in each other and value their differences.
This book cemented my love for pretty much every book ever written by Mercedes Lackey. I’ve carried my yellowed second-hand copy of The Oathbound through many moves, only lending it to those I trust, and can only hope that it never falls apart because it would be like losing my own best friend.
Do you have a favourite literary best friend pair? Tell me about them in a comment!