You know the type. They bicker, banter, and battle every step of the way to their inevitable, epic love match, and watching them do it is a delight to everyone but them. Here are eight will-they-won’t-they couples from sci-fi and fantasy literature (and comics, and film) that we can’t help but adore.
Tony and Pepper – Iron Man
Yes, I’m talking about the fiery Robert Downey Jr.-Gwyneth Paltrow combination brought to life by Marvel on the big screen. These two have elevated banter to an art form, it being their primary means of communication, and boy are they good at it. Tony would be—literally—lost without Pepper, and the surprising thing is that she would likely be just as lost without him. Now that they’re finally canon, let’s just hope that Iron Man 3 doesn’t go with the comics and sink this ship completely.
Ron and Hermione – Harry Potter
It took this pair seven years and seven books to figure out why they were always infuriated with each other. Fans waited just as long for them to finally acknowledge the feelings that had been made quite clear from the moment Ron snapped off the arm of his Viktor Krum figurine. When the moment came, it was as perfect and satisfying as any first kiss has a right to be—Harry’s interruption and all.
Han and Leia – Star Wars
One might go so far as to call them the originals – Han and Leia argued their way through A New Hope and much of The Empire Strikes Back before finally succumbing to their inescapable sexual tension and giving us the classic: “I love you.” “I know.” Luke was never really a rival—I mean, who can compete with Harrison Ford?
Trip and T’Pol – Star Trek Enterprise
These officers on the original Starship Enterprise were mutually incomprehensible, and not much less so even after T’Pol started experimenting with human activities such as emotions and mating rituals. They almost had each other figured out when Trip was forced to watch T’Pol to marry a fellow Vulcan, but their reunion following the death of their firstborn test-tube baby was promising, indeed. (Shh, the finale? What finale? Didn’t happen. Holodeck, remember?)
Percy and Annabeth – Percy Jackson and the Olympians
Seaweed Brain and Wise Girl had their ups and downs over the course of their stormy, five-year friendship – made more complicated by the frequent interventions of both well- and ill-meaning Greek gods. Despite their differences, these demigods always knew they could count on each other when it mattered, whether it was a knife in the back or a refused offer of immortality. Now separated by forces beyond their control, fans have been waiting for two books to see what happens next. Whether their relationship continues to be rosy upon their reunion remains to be seen in September’s The Mark of Athena.
Indy and Marion – Raiders of the Lost Ark
Like I said: who can resist Harrison Ford? Marion was undoubtedly the most memorable—and most meaningful—of Indiana Jones’ consorts, as the film creators proved when he married her several decades later at the end of the ridiculously cheesy Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls. The duo’s mysterious past gave a depth to their antagonistic relationship, and Marion’s I-can-take-care-of-myself attitude was more than a match for Indy’s swagger.
Jaime and Brienne – A Song of Ice and Fire
Their story has not yet run its course, but it’s another of pure loathing and seeming opposites growing into what could be the best bro-team Westeros has seen since Dunk and Egg—and perhaps a little more? Brienne makes Jaime want to be a better man—and he in turn is the only man who believes in her. A happy ending might be too much to ask from the notorious George R.R. Martin, but a shipper’s heart can hope for a good, dramatic fight-to-the-death, at least.
Roslin and Adama – Battlestar Galactica
From the beginning, these two clashed fiercely as the president and general, respectively, of the ragtag remnants of the human race fleeing their robot foes. Their arguments were no light banter but genuine frustration as the fate of precious lives hung on their every decision. Watching these formidable foes develop a grudging respect, dependence, and eventual love for each other is easily one of the most honest and heartbreaking stories I’ve seen put to screen.
Fiery, feisty, and always fun, there are many more irresistibly argumentative couples that could make the list – who would you add?