Don’t ask me what it is–that’s a whole nother tangent for some other day–but there’s something about the dynamic between brothers that I find really compelling.
With that thought in mind, I thought I’d do a rundown of some of my favorite fictional brothers.
10. Phineas and Gene (A Separate Peace, John Knowles)
To be fair, this is one of the more troubled relationships on my list. To amp the fairness up a notch, that was probably the understatement of the year. But I digress.
Whatever went down between them, there’s no denying that Finny and Gene had a special bond. Granted, part of that’s because Finny was a special person, but I’d also argue that they were brothers: Gene loved Finny and hated him, was jealous of him and idolized him. At the end of the day, isn’t that what being a brother’s all about?
9. Thor and Loki
Let it be known: I’m not the world’s biggest Thor fan. Actually, I mildly loathe him, because he doesn’t bring much to the table and he strikes me as kind of bland. But I do love Loki, and I adore the side of brotherhood that their strained little relationship explores. Really, what does it mean to be a brother?
Brothers fight–and it makes sense that superhuman brothers have super-scaled fights. Again, we see jealousy and betrayal come into play here. But when they put everything aside and work together, they actually make a pretty inspiring team.
8. Frasier and Niles
Part of me thinks I’m insane to rank the Crane brothers above Loki and Thor, but really, there’s something to be said for a brother relationship that manages to be entertaining without resorting to the drama and angst that typically come with the package.
Growing up, the Crane brothers’ dad didn’t understand them. He was a cop, big on sports and greasy food, and his sons’ refined tastes. No worries, though. Even as adults, they’re still the perfect kindred spirits–wine snobs and opera buddies. And when Niles needed help avoiding a biking marathon with his fiancée because he didn’t know how to ride a bike, Frasier was right there to help him sabotage his bike.
That, my friends, is true brotherhood.
7. Xavier and Magneto
Nothing can make me hang my head and gnash my teeth quite like what Fox has done to the X-Men movies, but if they’ve done one thing I can appreciate, it’s the dynamic between these two in First Class. Back before they were Professor X and Magneto, they were Charles and Erik–two bright-eyed young mutants looking to change the world. Their closeness early on in their journey only makes their later strained relationship that much better.
6. Fred and George Weasley
I’m pretty sure this one doesn’t need any explanation. The only bond cooler than brothers is twin brothers, and the Weasleys were the best twins ever.
5. Lex and Clark (early Smallville)
I’ve only worked my way to the third season of Smallville, but I think we all know what eventually happens here. The fact that I know what they become makes me appreciate the early days of their relationship so much more, and dread what’s going to happen. But really, it makes sense. The dynamic between hero and definitive arch nemesis is a complex one, and it’s just like brothers–can’t live with him, can’t live without him.
4. Finn and Keiro (Incarceron, Catherine Fisher)
Technically, Finn and Keiro are oathbrothers. In the harsh environment of Incarceron, a sentient prison full of convicts banished from the real world, picking an oathbrother is like forming a business partnership, but deeper. An oathbrother is someone who has your back–together, you make sure you each stay alive.
Even when everyone tells Finn he shouldn’t trust Keiro, and even when Keiro doesn’t give Finn much reason to, Finn somehow has faith in him. And even though he’s wild and selfish and unpredictable, Keiro always comes through. These two are fun to read because you never quite know what scrapes they’ll get into or how they’ll get along, but you know their complex dynamic will shine.
3. The Raven Boys (The Raven Boys, Maggie Stiefvater)
Aglionby Academy, a private school for boys. On the surface, that’s all they should have in common. Gansey’s the rich, spoiled pretty boy; Adam’s the scholarship student working to clip his Virginian accent and make something of himself; Ronan’s the troubled bad boy with family issues; and Noah is…well, Noah. But the four of them end up becoming a group, and they work well as a unit or broken down into smaller subgroups. Out of all the boarding school books I’ve ever read, the raven boys make this one the coolest.
2. Norb and Dag (The Angry Beavers)
Years ago, when my sister and I rediscovered The Angry Beavers, we came to a weird realization: If you swap Norb’s vanity with Dag’s socially clueless outlook, the beaver brothers are eerily accurate mirrors for us. Even when Norb’s being manipulative and Dag’s being annoying, or their rivalry comes between them for the millionth time, they’ve still got just enough bizarre common interests to bring them back together again.
Plus, they come up with some of the best nicknames ever.
1. Sam and Dean Winchester (Supernatural)
Obviously, a post about brothers isn’t complete without the Winchesters.
When I think of compelling bonds, Sam and Dean always rise to the forefront. Time and time again, they’ve proven what brotherhood really means. They’ve been through just about everything together, saved the world way more times than should be strictly necessary, and sacrificed everything for each other—without hesitation.
The show’s currently filming its tenth season, and through all the years, the bond between Sam and Dean has always been its cornerstone. Everyone and everything else comes and goes, but at the end of it all, Sam and Dean will always be there for each other. Just…no chick flick moments.
Your turn. Any favorite fictional brothers? Any book or TV show I’ll have to look up?