Power Couples

So I’ve been keeping a list of tropes I like in fiction, so I can figure out what sort of book I might like to write. (I may or may not be having a writing crisis. Carry on.) Anyway, here’s a sample of my likings.

  • Awesome, meaningful death scenes
  • Life-ruining secrets
  • Amnesia
  • Power couples

What are power couples? Well, I’m glad you asked!

Given the above list, it shouldn’t surprise any of you that my writing isn’t exactly, um…fluffy. So if my definition of power couples is a bit disturbing, I’m sure you’ll understand. (Probably. Hopefully. Right?)

Okay. So a Power Couple is a romantic pairing that…

  1. Has equal power dynamics (surprisingly rare, actually)
  2. Has amazing chemistry (prerequisite to romance, really)
  3. Always has the other’s back (nice, right?)
  4. Kicks amazing butt together (this is really everyone’s fav, I think)
  5. Is usually evil.

Alright, fine. FINE. The “usually evil” part is my preference. Why? I don’t know. Perhaps I like to explore my dark side? There are nice, law-abiding Power Couples out there, but let’s start with my fan favorite, shall we?

Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett.

These two are my fav. Not an OTP, really, because they do deserve to crash and burn. But they’re still my fav. And let’s discuss equal power dynamics, shall we? This is 19th century London. Women can’t do squat. Unless they’re motivating a sociopathic barber to take revenge on an evil judge, of course. Mrs. Lovett does at least as much for this plot as Sweeney does, and if it hadn’t been for her, he would never have gone back to barbering in the first place.

Nothing says love like making people into pies, right?    Photo not mine.

And besides, what’s not to love about a pair of cannibals who constantly make puns about their victims? They bounce off each other and THE MUSIC IS AMAZING and I’m fangirling now.

Pro tip: When designing cannibals, include music.

Speaking of the Dark Side, let’s talk about a few evil couples that didn’t make the list. Joker and Harley Quinn are one. Although both of these characters are awesome, I think it’s pretty clear that Harley is nowhere near as in control of the relationship as Joker is. Maybe Suicide Squad changed this; I don’t know. I didn’t watch it.

Another diabolical duo that doesn’t make the list is (drumroll)…Anakin and Padme. And why does it fail? (Is that a question?) IT’S NOT ACTUALLY DIABOLICAL. Yes. I would like it better if Padme were evil. And here’s why.

Reason One. People constantly blame Padme for Anakin’s fall to the Dark Side, and I’m tired of it, okay? It wasn’t her fault! He did everything Dark-Side about this! The only thing she did was stick around when she should have left! So it would give me great pleasure if she actually had taken an active role in this Dark Side.

Reason Two. I like Padme’s character. I would have liked to see her do more (especially in Episode III) even if it were evil.

Reason Three. I want more morally grey Dark Side users. I want Sith Lords who can banter wittily together and maybe realize it’d be a good idea to have more than two of them alive at a time. I WANT A DARK SIDE REVOLUTION! But that’s a post for another day.

I kind of just want this to happen. Drawing not mine.

But Padme’s lack of involvement brings up a good point. Perhaps the most important element of Power Couples is that both members are equally important to the flow of the story. It’s not enough for them both to be necessary to the plot. They both have to be protagonists, in a way. One of them might have a bit of an edge — Sweeney Todd is named after the titular character, after all — but in the end, they both have to have gone on a transformative journey, for better or for worse.

Take, for example, Tony Stark and Pepper Potts. I love this couple. Pepper is amazing. Personality wise, she’s just as strong as Tony. But there’s no doubt that Tony is the star of the show. He has all the powers, all the cool gadgets, all the attention…heck, the movies are even called Iron Man! Pepper Potts, awesome as she is, is really just a side character.

So what’s an example of a morally good Power Couple? Well, here’s my favorite…Mr. and Mrs. Incredible! Again, the story line tilts toward Mr. Incredible’s journey, but Elastigirl’s struggles are just as important. And you had better watch out if you get both of these supers teamed up against you.

Forget Power Couples…we need more Power Families! Pixar outdid itself on this one.

I’d really appreciate it if y’all would let me know your favorite Power Couples in the comments. Did I miss anyone? Are any of you currently writing a Power Couple, good or bad?

Stay crazy, guys. I’ll see you on Monday.