Why are there so few space explorers, superheroes, and fantasy champions who are happily married? Sure, it's a tough life fighting monsters and braving the unknown, but everybody knows that it's better with a steadfast companion at your side.
Especially now that — minor spoiler — there's a married couple traveling in the TARDIS on Doctor Who for the first time ever, we wanted to celebrate the great marriages of science fiction and fantasy heroes. Here are 10 couples who are like the Nick and Nora Charles of other-worldly adventure.
So yeah, it's hard to stay in a happy marriage if you're a legendary hero. Life is stressful and confusing, and things get out of control. Sometimes, you have to make a deal with the devil to undo your marriage. Sometimes, your wife keeps leaving you for other men, then finally dies only to come back as a big red female version of you. Because of the requirements of serialized drama, it's hard for any marriage to stay happy.
But here are 10 couples who beat the odds — at least, till death did them part, in some cases.
10) Jim and Angelina diGriz
Seriously, you wouldn't think one of the galaxy's most notorious rogues would make such a good husband. But the Stainless Steel Rat is just an old softy at heart, and Harry Harrison's book series is basically very good-natured. "Slippery" Jim Di Griz is a criminal mastermind, who meets his match in Angelina, who is willing to forsake her more homicidal tendencies for Jim's sake — except if he looks at another woman, at which point all bets are off. They're sort of the archetypal "bad-ass meets his match" couple, in that she's just as formidable a crook as he is.
9) Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl
Part of the point of The Incredibles is to fuse family drama with superhero tropes, so it's not too surprising to see this couple on this list. At the begining of the film, Bob and Helen Parr, aka "Mr. Incredible" and "Elastigirl," are former superheroes now living discontented normal lives in the suburbs. While the movie itself tells the tale of the Parr family saving the world from Syndrome and finding fulfillment as their costumed selves, there is rarely any doubt that Bob and Helen really love each other.
8) Ralph and Sue Dibny
Sure, there's that other more famous stretchy guy who's married to a woman named Sue. But we're still kind of pissed at Reed Richards for being such a jerk to his wife during Civil War. And honestly, the marriage of the Dibnys was one of the quiet constants of the DC Universe for decades, and it worked because they were both lovably flawed in different ways, and they always worked together. Ralph is a wannabe detective, who insists on trying to hog the spotlight but often saves the day, while his wife is the genuinely smart one who helped him solve cases. She also kept Justice League Europe running single-handed, and made a major contribution to the satellite-era JLA. And even though the Dibnys both perish, they're reunited as ghost detectives, investigating the paranormal together.
7) Remus and Tonks
It's not that there aren't other great married couples in the Harry Potter series, it's that these two spend the most time kicking ass. Tonks is a Metamorphmagus and Auror. She fights dark wizards as her day job, and fights them some more in her capacity as a member of the Order of the Phoenix. In Book 7, she does this while being pregnant. Lupin is a werewolf, and probably the best Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher in the whole series. Minus some angst about age differences and possibly lycanthropic children, Lupin and Tonks end the series as a strong couple, who go down fighting. Art by Leanne Hannah.
6) Belgarion and Ce'Nedra
From the Belgariad and Malloreon books by David Eddings about the hero Belgarion and his bride, the beautiful Ce'Nedra. Their relationship includes him being a secret king and the avatar of light. Meanwhile, she's an imperial princess and part dryad. They end up falling in love before discovering that they're also part of an arranged marriage. He defeats an evil god and she leads an army against his followers. The second series partly revolves around the mission to get their kidnapped son back.
5) Phaedre and Joscelin
The hero and heroine of Jacqueline Carey's Kushiel's Dart books may not be legally married, but Joscelin becomes Phaedre's consort and they're married in every way that counts. He starts out as a stuck-up monk who disapproves of Phaedre's "sacred prostitute" ways, but he becomes her devoted protector who sticks by her, even though he's forced to choose, again and again. The enduring love between a super-masochist and her entirely vanilla beau is one of the strangest, most romantic love stories in all fantasy. Phaedre/Joscelin cosplay from Ad Astra, via Cosplay.com
4) Lois and Clark
We pretty much had to include these two — they're such an iconic couple, they even had a TV show named after their pairing. Back when they got married on television, the idea that Superman and "Superman's Girlfriend" would actually tie the knot seemed new and strange, but when the comic book followed suit, it just felt right. And now it's hard to think of them any other way, because they make such a great team and have such respect for each other. Lois is the one person who can always keep Clark on his toes, and he always trusts her to do the right thing and take care of herself.
3) MacKenzie Calhoun and Elizabeth Shelby
Star Trek has its share of married couples. There's the Rikers. There's Worf and Jadzia Dax (who sadly did not last long enough.) There's Tom Paris and B'Elanna Torres. But for the coolest married couple in Trek, there's really only one choice: the hero of Peter David's Star Trek: The New Frontier book series and his wife, the Admiral. Elizabeth Shelby actually comes from the TNG two-parter "The Best of Both Worlds," where she's a temporary First Officer on the Enterprise. Calhoun, meanwhile, was a warlord who liberated his entire planet at the age of nineteen and then joined Starfleet. Calhoun and Shelby were engaged before, but broke it off before the start of the book series — only after Calhoun is presumed dead and finally returns alive does he propose once more. Their relationship can probably be best summarized by this exchange in Gateways 6: Cold Wars:
"I know where your mind is. We still haven't had a proper honeymoon."
"Ohhh, now, Eppy... we had fun on Xenex."
"I almost died, Mac. So did you."
"But we didn't. That was the fun part."
Their actual honeymoon includes Calhoun having a lot of bad-ass moments, including a swordfight to the death on a collapsing planet, but Shelby gets to be his equal in both physical prowess and snark. Once married, Calhoun and Shelby manage to uncover a plot to psychically manipulate the Federation by the Selelvians, serve with distinction in the ensuing war, and prevent an invasion from an extra-dimensional race. All while maintaining their sense of humor.
2) Wash and Zoe
This is one of those "'till death did them part" couples. Even though Wash's mustache originally gave Zoe some pause, she got over it and learned to love the snarky pilot. What's great about these two is they feel like a real couple — with all the affection, lust and drama that goes with it. Wash gets jealous of Zoe's affection and loyalty for Mal, and she's maybe a bit too protective of her man. It all makes it that much more heartbreaking when Wash makes the ultimate sacrifice.
1) Leia Organa and Han Solo
In the Star Wars movies, they're a couple made immortal by the lines "I love you" and "I know." But in the Expanded Universe, they're an awesome married couple. He's a general who runs off saving the galaxy, she's a Jedi knight and a powerful New Republic diplomat. Their actual path to marriage is detailed in The Courtship
of Princess Leia," a grade-A cracktastic book featuring Han abducting Leia, Force-wielding witches riding rancors, and an arranged marriage between Leia and a wealthy prince. Despite all of those obstacles, the two do manage to get married at the end of the book, a marriage which stands throughout the rest of the EU. But the true test of how awesome their marriage is comes not from how many times they have prevented death and destruction (and it's a lot), but the fact that their relationship manages to survive the death of one son and the turning of another to the Dark Side.