Bookish Details That Deserve More Love // a meander through the fandoms

Before you say anything, no, this is not a discussion about tropes. The internet has enough posts about “Top Ten Tropes That Are Totally Original!!” without me adding to the pile with my controversial opinion that enemies-to-lovers is a toxic model for relationships. I want to talk about something more fine-tuned. The small, specific story details we’re secretly in love with.

We all have at least one – that random thing with the power to awaken our inner middle-school girl and make us flail like beached belugas.

For Anna, it’s explosions

If you want to make my sister happy, blow something up in your book.

For me, well, I have a lot of things. Little moments or situations I look for religiously in fiction but rarely ever find, soft glances between characters and gentle conversations and that one time Arthum Wingfeather cried on Sara Cobbler’s shoulder. (Making the rest of us cry by extension.) These are the things I live for as a reader, things I wish authors included more often.

You’re about to witness sheer randomness and a startling amount of fandoms.

Welcome to my crusade.

Platonic Relationships Taking Center Stage

One day I will stop preaching from my soap-box about the superior power of platonic relationships in comparison to romance, but friends, it is not this day. If you don’t see my point, please refer to the Lord of the Rings and Captain America trilogies. Does romance exist within these stories? Absolutely. Is romance what draws us to these stories?

I think not.

Alas, in most stories, once the love-interest is introduced, it’s game over for all other characters within a twenty-mile radius of the protagonist.

Please do not do this.

This is the #1 cause of Sarah throwing things across the room.

Bromance

This is a sub-topic of the last point because fictional male friendships are Better. I put together a small reference sheet to prove my point.

(An alternative way to look at this is female friendships are sorely lacking in fiction and we need more of them. Please and thank you.)

Reformed Villains Surviving the Climax

JUST LET THEM LIVE, DANGIT.

I’M LOOKING AT YOU, STAR WARS.

RIP KYLO REN.

Romance Between Side-Characters

Eowyn and Faramir? To die for. Han and Leia? Iconic. I was more invested in the two chapters of Murtagh and Nasuada than I was in the entire four books of Eragon and Arya. Good grief, the tension between Anakin and sand was more dynamic than his marriage to Padme.

Characters Who Are Legitimately Ugly

Not even passably unattractive until they discover their Inner Beauty which transforms them into a radiant queen whom all the popular boys fight over.

Nope.

Girl needs the face of a toad.

Look, I have enough Inner Beauty to sink the Titanic, but you’ll never see crowds of suitors at my door. I think it’s unrealistic (and counterproductive) to try and convince young girls that looks don’t matter by handing them “normal” protagonists, only to contradict themselves ten pages later when she takes off her glasses and this one act is somehow the key step in unleashing Inner Beauty and thus making the class jock fall in love with her.

Inner Beauty is great. But it’s not always going to attract the hotties of this world. In fact, sometimes it repels them.

Villain to Tentative Ally to Friend

If you’re going to be technical, this is just a fancy name for a redemption-arc. But I want found-family feeeeelings, man. All the ups and downs and comical in-betweens of characters who were previously at each others’ throats (literally) coming to realize they actually almost sort of maybe like each other – and not only that, but oh heavens, they actually almost sort of maybe trust each other, and oh no, this is their sworn enemy, cue the identity crisis.

Found Family Who Stick Together After the Climax

I did not read a ten-book series of these people realizing they would die for one another just for them to go their separate ways once the main conflict is finished. Either they all move into a cabin in the woods and spend the rest of their days in chaotic domesticity, or I’m out.

Scenes On Rooftops

There’s no particular reason this setting makes me weak in the knees, but here we are.

Interesting Parents

I’m especially confused by authors who are parents themselves and write books for children about other parents being stupid and untrustworthy. (Example A: Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes.)

I mean.

Are you trying to convince your kid to not listen to you?

The Pre-Battle Soft Moment

Every battle scene has one. They’re the single reason I’m emotionally unstable.

The Secondary Love Interest Gets the Girl

I need a psychology nerd to explain to me why the sweetest, most heartfelt romances in literary history are not enough to prevent me from shipping the other guy whom I know will inevitably have his heart broken in the end. (Breaking mine by extension.) This is some twisted form of reverse psychology. Second-Lead Syndrome is a real thing. Writers should take advantage of it. Please spare my heart.

Enemies to Friends

Forget enemies-to-lovers. Legolas & Gimli beat that trope out of the water. I will take Sam & Bucky over a toxic romance any day. Remember when Kaladin seized every opportunity to call Adolin Kholin nasty insults, only to jump armorless into a ring of Shardbearers to defend him?

That’s the real deal.

Hugs

Am I still bitter about the ending of Thor: Ragnarok? Quite possibly.

All that potential. Wasted.

I cannot accept emotional catharsis in the form of two characters gawping teary-eyed at each other only for the director/author to cut away at the last possible minute and deny us our rights.

LET THEM HUG, DANGIT.

Meanwhile, enjoy this brief compilation of Star Wars showing us how it’s done.

The Accidental Dad

You know – that one tired guy who never deserved any of this and is only moderately more responsible than the rest but was still somehow unanimously voted the honorary frazzled parent of all characters involved.

Bonus points if he adopts strays.

Double bonus points if he adopts strays while simultaneously being an actual dad.


The main takeaway of this post is villains deserve rights and Sarah feels strongly about the neglected power of friendship.

What are some random tiny details you’d like to see more of in fiction? And please, if you have book-recs for stories that include these elements, I will gladly pay in love and respect to hear ’em.

Have a glorious Thursday, and I’ll see you next week!

~Sarah

74 thoughts on “Bookish Details That Deserve More Love // a meander through the fandoms

  1. I love it when there’s a sarcastic old mentor who has to low-key parent the MC in order to shape the young naive hero into a better character for their journey.
    Like Helmer and Picket from the Green Ember.
    Either that or a child who tags along with the protagonists and gives them all child-like insights. 😉

    I love your list! I feel like it’s writing advice I didn’t know I needed. 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ALL OF THESE!! I love the wholesome SW hug gifs, and I might have said “YES!” out loud a couple times while reading your descriptions.
    I would love to see more of the YA/teen characters having relationships with the older, wiser people in their life. I’m mostly thinking of the Karate Kid, and the old Spider-Man movies which do that pretty well. 😄 (…and all those YA books where there’s just a bunch teens running around unchecked and basically ruling their own little world, and kind of destroying my will to live in the process. 😝)
    Anyway, love this post. I’m taking notes for things to include in my own stories. 😉

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes! We need more mentor characters who *don’t*. *die*. And whom the main characters *respect* and *listen to*, on top of it. Pleaseeee.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. YES TO ALL OF THESE THINGS!! Wholesome relationships between young and old characters are so underrated. One of my least favorite things about YA is how teenagers are pretty much glorified for no other reason than they’re teenagers. Which makes no sense. I was a teenager once. It wasn’t fun.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I will now proceed to write an entire book including all of these.

    (Actually…I kinda think I already did.)

    YES REST IN PEACE KYLO WE LOVE YOU

    And seriously, Sarah, if you knew how many times I have BEGGED people to hug, you’d be amazed. Hugs are the best. thing. ever. Hug deficiency is literally all that’s wrong with society these days.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I WILL. YOU’RE WELCOME.

        S A M E. I know, girl. I know. *gives you a hug to make up for your fictional deficiency*

        Like

  4. PLATONIC RELATIONSHIPS WIN EVERY TIME. Every single Marvel friendship combination absolutely destroys me… LOTR too. Yeesh. (Also what is it about Star Wars hugs?? They’re just so pure 🤌) I do relish a side-character romance though, and OH NO THE PRE BATTLE SCENE SOFT MOMENTS I think they’ve taken a year off my life. Also anytime a normally strong or stoic character cries, I’m just done. I cease to exist. I can’t. Goodbye.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OH YES, I forgot the crying. Tears—ONLY if not overdone—are the best. Most especially in rare instances, from the strong and stoic characters. (And only, ONLY if they’re done by superb actors when in movies, actors who know how to make it real grief, otherwise…nope. Don’t count.) Ugh. Just yes. Thank you, @alaynagrace06, for the reminder. 😂

      Ohhh and on that note, breakdowns. Not *necessarily* involving tears, but definitely can. Just, nervous breakdowns from usually stoic-and/or-cheerful characters. I live for them. But they have to occur seldom too, or they lose their appeal.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Star Wars hugs feel like home.

      But honestly, yes, all of these stories have fabulous relationships. My one complaint against Marvel though is they violated the Found Family Sticking Together rule and I can never completely forgive them for it.

      Like

  5. Seeing that you’d posted made me happy and then seeing the post made me happier. I agree with almost all of these and wholeheartedly support found families sticking together!

    Like

  6. SARAH BARAN I’m literally dying. I’m half convinced you wrote this post just to send me into fatal paroxysms of agreed geekery and righteous indignation.

    HELP ME

    Oh help. 🤣 Just everything. All of it. Especially about platonic relationships and male friendships (like a million billion times, but you know that), and found family staying together, and accidental dads (Hawkeyyyye), and male friendships, and villain-to-tentative-ally-to-friend (looking at you, Lord Gair and Denholm, -ish) (except you never got to read that far *black sorrow and grief*), and male friendships, and hUGS YES, THE ENDING OF RAGNAROK?!?!?! THANK YOU FOR POINTING THAT OUT. I WAS VEXED ABOUT THAT FOR *WEEKS* AFTER SEEING IT. >_< JUST…SENSELESS FOOLISHNESS. WHY. WHYYYYYY.

    I'm glad you care about the hugs, even if it's a betrayal of your entire identity. 😏 And soft glances and gentle conversations. Significant Looks are so my thing (along with like, my billion other things). The Significant Look is so important to me it may even take the cake for "top need in fiction." 😂 Just…ugh. Significant Looks of all stripes. Need 'em. (AND THEY'RE TRUE TO LIFE. People do that all the time. So put it in your fiction, people.)

    Just all of it. I was dying. And then I died more when I got to the tags. (No words to explain how appreciative I am of the Hornblower gif and its intent. I died, but thank you very much. 😆)

    Ugh. Such a good post. You have good taste. Thank you for articulating these things. I knew there must be a reason I liked you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. When I was brainstorming points for this, I will admit there were several times where I asked myself what YOU would want and just went with that. The entire bromance thing is the result of our many, MANY conversations on the subject. XD So look! The fatal paroxysms are actually YOUR fault.

      I will never forgive Marvel for Ragnarok. Never. It’s my villain origin story.

      LISTEN FRIENDO FICTIONAL HUGS ARE THE SOLE REASON I EXIST AND I WILL NEVER STOP DEFENDING THEM. They’re just… so… pure… And the significant looks. Yes. Agreed. I think the reason we like them so much is because it’s show-don’t-tell. The characters are proving their own closeness just by the fact that they can have nonverbal communication, and it’s so so so special to me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have never been more honored for something to be my fault. *dies*

        UGH YES. Marvelous breakdown of the matter. 100%.

        Like

  7. THIS IS ALL PERFECT.
    Every.
    Single.
    GIPHY.
    Bit.
    And YES. KYLO DESERVED TO LIVE. *glares at LucasFilm* And DOUBLE YES. The Sandakin ship had more potential to sail than him and Padme. XD
    But the bromaaaance!!! Pretty sure my soul depends on more of that. Honestly, after reading this post, I’m 10000x more motivated to include ALL of these in my writing so THANK YOU for the inspiration! ;P I must say though…I…I’m actually quite proud of the Villian To Tentative Ally To Friend relationship I already have in one of my WIPs. XD (Plus I’m pretty sure my Villain has some *grumpy* Accidental Dad vibes going on there too somewhere lol)
    Oh…and will someone please tell me what movie that last bromance GIF with the sailor-lookin’ dudes came from? I seriously think I need that in my life. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SANDAKIN

      I CANNOT 😂😂😂

      I’m definitely seeing a trend here about the bromance. I think everyone unanimously agrees it’s Better. I think I approve of your story and I haven’t even read it. XD

      But ooooh, my friend, let me enlighten you about the sailor lookin’ dudes. It’s an old mini-series called Horatio Hornblower about the British navy during the Napoleonic wars, and while the plots themselves can be a little meh, the CHARACTERS. The RELATIONSHIPS. The emotional CATHARSIS. The VIBES. The MUSIC. Everything is immaculate. The friendship/brotherhood between the main character and his junior officer is genuinely my favorite fictional relationship of all time. It hits every spot.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. Ack, I think I agree with you on pretty much everything here. One of my favorites is when a stressed young person who’s used to surviving on his/her own in the world has the responsibility of a child thrust upon him or her and eventually softens. Another favorite is the friend who won’t stand up for himself, but if someone threatens his friend…that person’s going down. All that to say, I loved the nerd post. And i think it would be awesome if you did a post (or series of posts, lol) on The Silmarillion, highlighting your favorite characters and moments in it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. (Yes to this, esp. overdefensive friends who stand up for everyone but themselves. Also love it when main characters realize the extent to which those loyal, don’t-stand-up-for-themselves friends help them, and give them due appreciation and support for themselves. I can’t actually think of any instance of this at the moment, but it needs to happen. 😅)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Explosions? Scenes on rooftops? More hugs? *files away to put in future book* Lol.
    This was such fun to read! Now I have been inspired. I love all of these, especially where the villain survives, or there’s bromance or a platonic relationship (which I find easier to incorporate in MG stories.) Thanks so much for these ideas; I hope to find more stories with these elements now (or I’ll probably just write them XD). And leave it to Star Wars to give the best hug scenes (I love those clips you shared *sighs happily*)

    P.S Oh, I read a story that had a rooftop chase, if that’s what you’re into; it’s Enola Holmes #3 Case of The Bizarre Bouquets (some language).

    Like

  10. Oh my goodness, I agree 100% with every single one of these. Especially bromance, villain-to-tentative-ally-to-friend, and hugs.
    Something that I personally love is tears. From men. When they are actually warranted. I commented to my sister that every single remotely important male character (to my memory, at least) in LOTR has teared up AT LEAST once, and I love it.
    Two series you might enjoy reading are Ranger’s Apprentice and The Brotherband Chronicles, both by John Flanagan! A couple of the tropes they contain from your list are Accidental Dad (looking at you, Halt), Romance Between Side Characters, and Bromance!!! (Pretty much the entirety of Brotherband lol.)
    And I’m very curious, what ten-book series were you referencing under Family that Sticks Together?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. *casually takes notes for the sequel post* YES. Male tears. Especially from strong characters. Aragorn and Sam weeping hits HARD.

      I desperately need to read John Flanagan’s books. They’ve been on my TBR for years and I never manage to get to them. Your comment may or may not have moved them up on the priority list. 😏

      Like

  11. Mark of the Lion, a series by Francine Rivers!!! 10/10. I can’t recommend her enough for all the feellssss and typically unique plots. Also Julie Cantrel always has unique plots. Losing Brave is a fantastic one for something different. So many good ones out there ‼️

    Like

  12. What did I do before I discovered this blog…(Grateful shoutout to Grace Johnson for the link😉)

    I CANNOT AGREE WITH YOU MORE ABOUT THE HUGS, BROMANCE, AND PLATONIC RELATIONSHIPS, SARAH! Why there are so few bromantic (aha, I have invented a word, I see) hugs in books, I don’t know, but they are one of my favorite things ever.
    And I cannot believe Marvel did that… That is cruel beyond words.

    Like

    1. Languished in the existential void of sarcasm-deficiency, obviously. 😉 Glad to meet you!

      YEAAAAH!! I’m starting to realize how much everyone here wants the same thing. It’s funny that there are so many stories out there and yet we’re STILL dying for lack of hugs and bromance. 😅

      Like

  13. I love all of these, really.

    One that I would add would be the quiet, almost hermit (usually male) character who is gruff and doesn’t seem to like anyone, come out as actually a really thoughtful behind the scenes guy who has been looking out for everyone the whole time and who actually has some really good words of advice if anyone actually listens. Combine that with him crying at a highly emotional scene and you can make me cry and swoon every time. (It may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I married one of these kind of characters in real life. XD)

    Loved this post! Definitely keeping it in mind when I need a bit of inspiration of things I can add to my stories!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Movie/book hugs are my lifeblood! Can we talk about Spider-Man: No Way Home?!?! Broke my heart but gave me all the hugs I didn’t know I needed. I’ll never forgive them for Ragnorok. I was so mad. *fumes*

    Enjoyed this muchly and it felt so very nostalgic! *cries* *takes notes for wip*

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I feel like you went through the plot of my book. Like more than half of the things in my book that exist are on this list 😱
    I have now sworn to myself to add everything else on this list into my own book 😂 I’m already getting ideas for rooftop fights.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hugs… *whispers brokenly*
    Sarah, I have never liked you as much as I do now 🙂

    I can’t even begin to explain how important hugs in stories are to me… they’re so much better than other forms of affection, (this from someone whose love language is definitely NOT physical touch btw)
    There are more than a few stories I can think of where the ONLY THING THAT WAS NEEDED WAS A SIMPLE HUG!!!! IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK!?!?!
    Also several where a hug would have been just as good or (in most cases) BETTER than a kiss… In my humble opinion 🙂

    OK, I’m done, thanks Sarah :}

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve just now decided that you’re going to henceforth be my fake brother because seriously YES. THIS.

      THE CHARACTERS WANT TO HUG, DANGIT! WHY CAN’T WE LET THEM HUG???

      I 100% agree with you. I think gentle intimacy in the long run is much more powerful than romantic intimacy, because it symbolizes trust instead of emotions. I will forever be pleased with how Rogue One handled Jyn and Cassian in that department; the nature of their relationship is up for debate, but you never ever, not once, question whether they trust each other mind body and soul.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. YES 🙂 Normally I’m not a fan of fake stuff but I’ll gladly be your fake brother 😄
        Rogue One is an absolute MASTERPIECE when it comes to relationships and Cassian & Jyn are the perfect example of when a hug is 1000 better than a kiss… A kiss just wouldn’t cut it after all they’d been through (nor would it have sent me into tears like that lol)
        Probably unpopular opinion here but Rogue One is the best Star Wars movie… Just saying… 😁

        Liked by 2 people

  17. Please please write more unashamedly nerdy posts. They make me very happy.

    Also it is (sadly) true that male friendships are just better. I don’t know why. (Case in point: the movies Tolkien and Dead Poets Society would *not* have worked with girls. There’s something about classics and poetry and Oxford that screams “brotherhood” to me.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I will. 😄

      And YES, I agree. Same with the Fellowship. I’m still trying to figure out exactly WHAT makes their dynamic superior, but so far answers are eluding me. They’re just Better.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I love this post! I just discovered your blog, and all your posts make me laugh so much! Thank you, Sarah!

    Btw, my whole book series I’m writing revolves around bromances.

    And found family.

    And platonic relationships taking centre stage. Not that there isn’t romance — but it isn’t cheesy. I promise. No spoilers, but anyone in my books who end up together have known each other as friends first for at least a year.

    I also love hugs.

    And enemies to friends.

    Both of which are in my books.

    I LOVED THIS POST!!!!

    Like

  19. *SMASHES THE KEYBOARD* I AGREE WITH EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THESE.

    (Also that scene with Kaladin going to help Adolin fight was PURE GOLD. One of my favorite scenes EVER!).

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Duely seconding all of this. 🙂

    Although – I also have I weird weakness for whacking the hero over the head/otherwise incapacitating him.

    Like

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