Many moons ago, Molli, Shae and I had a discussion about the glory of slow-burn couples. While I don't remember the impetus of this discussion, we did all decide to write posts about why we love the slow burn. So make sure to check out their blogs today and see what they wrote on the subject!
In a lot of YA series, the destined romantic couple get together in the first book. This is often... okay, but imagine how much more satisfying the eventual coupling would be if the author had waited. This is why my favorite type of literary romance is the slow-burn, where the tension builds between two people for ages. Where you get a hundred little moments that make your heart skip. Where you just want to reach into the pages and knock the character's mouths together.
Where you sob into your pillow about how life would be perfect if they could only SEE how much they should be together. Where you curse every obstacle in their path as slowly, inevitably, they make their ways towards each other. And when they finally kiss... it is magic.
TV does this so well. Maybe it's because everybody is terrified of the Moonlighting Curse (though not anymore... thank you, Castle and New Girl and Bones), but TV shows like to keep their TV couples apart for ages and ages, tossing you a few tantalizing morsels of goodness every now and then to make you die a little. Obviously you don't want to drag out the tension TOO long, so that the chemistry fizzles, but when you have a long history of push-pull-almost-almost, that moment where they come together will be all the sweeter. It will be earned. The couple will have taken their slow, delicious time. Not from zero to a million in thirty pages flat. No, no, no.
These are the kinds of ships I love. These are the ships that make me go a little crazy.
These are also the ships that are given time to develop and never rely on inta-love, which is often used in the place of development. If the characters just know they love each other, then we don't have to spend all this time explaining why, right? But I think a bookish couple that waits will love each other more in a million more ways. Why? Because they'll get to learn about each other. And we get to watch. There's nothing more fun.
Related: Insta-Love: An Insta-Turn Off
Sometimes, when the couple gets together so early, it feels like a wasted opportunity. I mean, if Castle and Beckett had gotten together in Season One, would their first (real) kiss have made me scream and (quite literally) topple off my couch in ecstasy? If Ron and Hermione hadn't been bantering and bickering for seven years, but had instead decided they were Meant to Be 4everz back in their first year, would we have loved them as much? No. Because we wouldn't have gotten to see all the moments of normalcy between the two characters. Those are the moments that make me really love a ship. The everyday chemistry. The under-the-surface love coming through in the little things. In Castle bringing Beckett coffee. Daine from The Immortals bemoaning the fact that Numair talks all fancy. Ron making fun of Hermione being a teacher's pet.
I'm just going to leave this here for no reason whatsoever.
|I really love Castle, okay?|
You've all experienced the moments. Things look like they're going southward for our beautiful, stubborn, non-canon OTP. Maybe they're fighting, or there's a battle, or one of the characters is dating somebody else. But then something HAPPENS, there's a MOMENT, and...
HAAAAAALLELUJAH! THE GREATEST FEELING THERE EVER WAS. Tell me you have never screamed or clasped a book to your heart or danced around the room when your couple finally coupled? Twelve-year-old Gillian practically had a seizure when Daine and Numair kissed in the last book int The Immortals quartet by Tamora Pierce. These moments of finally coming together feel... well, momentous. Life-changing. Earned. The author has put in the hard work and the patience, and so have I. All those years of investing have paid of big time. The more feels you invest in a couple, the more feels you get out. It's simple shipping math.
Here are some of my favorite slow-burn TV couples with some of the BEST "Eureka!" moments around.
Castle and Becket from Castle
Chandler and Monica from Friends
Luke and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls
Rory and Jess from Gilmore Girls
Nick and Jess from New Girl
Elena and Damon from The Vampire Diaries
And here are some of my favorite slow-burn YA couples (this was a harder list to put together)
Alek and Deryn from Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Ron and Hermione from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Daine and Numair from The Immortals by Tamora Pierce
Elisa and Hector from The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Anna and Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Persis and Justen from Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund
Blue and Gansey from The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
(not actually a couple but I SHIP THEM SO CAN'T YOU FEEL THE TENSION)
Michael and Mia from The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot
(SHIPPED THEM WITH ALL MY SOUL AS A YOUNG TEENAGER)
Georgie and Dave the Laugh from the Georgia Nicolson series
(THE ORIGINAL OTP AND IF YOU DON'T THINK THEY'RE PERFECT FOR EACH OTHER THEN YOU FAIL TO COMPREHEND ROMANCE)
Make me wait for it, authors. I may die in the short run with impatience, but in the long run... well, if you play the long run, you may make it onto my shipping hall of fame.
What about you? How do you feel about slow-burn romances? Do you have any favorites?