Love is in the air. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner. Time to snuggle with your sweetie, eat some chocolate…and…
Hey, this is a blog that features Stephen King, a man who is not shy about including (in sometimes salacious detail) descriptions on the human condition, but geez, let’s leave something to the imagination, ok? Some things are better left to the imagination, in fact…
Yes, most King books contain some kind of love story, in some form. Wizard and Glass, the fourth book in the Dark Tower series, actually contains one of the most epic love stories of all time, in my opinion. And it is one of the most tragic love stories of all time. Often times, in King’s work, people are thrown together due to circumstances beyond their control (Insomnia is a great example of this, along with It) and they fall in love. Sometimes it ends well and there is a happily ever after. However, more often than not, all does not end well, and one or both parts of a couple must face an unhappy ending. And sometimes, the dead half of a couple does not stay dead, but comes back from beyond the grave for one last hurrah. And you thought navigating the perils of online dating was bad!
And in the spirit of Valentine’s Day, I have devoted this post to my favorite couples in the Stephen King universe. So, without further ado, here are my seven favorite Stephen King couples:
7) Wolf and Jack (The Talisman)
Ah, the bromance…. Seth Rogen and James Franco are a great example. LeBron James and his (former) Miami Heat teammates are another great example. You can say that bromance is just in the air these days…
But long before Seth Rogen and James Franco, and a really long time before LeBron James and co, you had…Wolf and Jack! Yes, a twelve year old boy and his werewolf buddy have made it onto this list about Stephen King couples. And yes, there is basis for this, so just stick with me on it, ok?
All kidding about bromances aside, there is something so inherently sweet about Wolf and Jack. Of course, they are not a couple in the traditional sense (a twelve year old boy and a werewolf? Ick much?) However, Wolf and Jack are pulled together by circumstances beyond their control. Wolf is dragged into Jack’s world and is not happy about it. Everyday objects, like vehicles, movie screens and so forth terrify him, and rightly so. But Wolf does his best and his devotion to his “herd” (which is what Jack has become to him) knows no bounds. He literally carries Jack on his back without complaint. He will sacrifice anything for Jack. And he pays the ultimate price, as Wolf dies protecting Jack, which allows Jack to escape his captors and continue his quest. Wolf’s loyalty knows no bounds, and Jack feels that part of his heart is missing once Wolf is gone. Loyalty to one another is part of what makes a relationship great. Jack and Wolf were both incredibly loyal to each other and are deserving of a spot on this list about great Stephen King couples.
6) Billy Nolan and Chris Hargensen (Carrie)
Some things are just so bad, they are actually good. Kind of like the Adam West Batman tv series. Or Killer Klowns from Outer Space (although I think that one is just so terrible that it veers into awesome territory).
Billy Nolan and Chris Hargensen, the next couple on this list, are definitely in the “bad” category. Although I don’t really think I can find anything good about these two…they are just rotten to the core! King often writes about terrible human beings and portrays people in a non flattering light. And there is nothing flattering about either one of these two characters. Chris bullies those different from herself. And when anyone tries to discipline her, she schemes to get revenge on those who would get in her way. She bullies Carrie White and faces disciplinary action. And whose fault is this? Not hers…Carrie’s, of course! And how do you seek revenge on a poor, defenseless, outcast girl? Why, get your equally rotten boyfriend Billy Nolan to dump pig’s blood on her in front of EVERYONE at the prom! Oh, the things some guys will do for love…
Actually, I don’t think love ever played a factor with Billy (or Chris, for that matter). Billy is a misogynist who sees women as sex objects for his pleasure. He is even planning to leave town, but will not take Chris with him. There is a kind of devotion present in this relationship, but it is not based on love in any way at all. Both Chris and Billy use each for their own agendas: Billy for sexual gratification and Chris for someone to commit a cruel act upon a classmate. Both feed upon each other’s hate. Their souls are so dark that they are really deserving of each other, and make up the hateful counterpart to each other. In other words, a match made in Hell and hence the inclusion on this list.
5) Ralph Roberts and Lois Chasse (Insomnia)
As I stated before, characters in King novels are often thrown together by circumstances out of their control. Often times, otherword-ly forces are responsible for this. Ralph and Lois (Insomnia), the next couple on this list, are prime examples of this. As the title suggests, both characters suffer from sleeplessness. They discover that the sleepless is part of the plan of a higher being who has designs on both Ralph and Lois. Ralph and Lois then band together to save the life of someone who will become important to The Dark Tower series. And in the process, they fall in love.
The “twist” on Ralph and Lois is that they are elderly. Ralph is a widower and Lois is a widow. All of their friends are also elderly. So the story has a slightly different “flavor” than most of King’s other work. The story is told from the perspective of someone who has lived most of his life and in his “twilight years.” However, this does not make the love story any less sweet or any less poignant. The fact that Ralph and Lois are elderly may even make their love more poignant, as they probably will not have another 30+ years together. However, Ralph and Lois get married after they complete their quest. And they do have a few more years together. However, in typical King fashion, the end comes all too fast, as we learn Ralph has sacrificed a few years of his life so that a child may not meet a premature death. Even though Ralph is an old man, he brings to mind a noble knight of old who sacrifices himself in battle, with Lois being his lady. However, Lois loves Ralph no less for his efforts, and will continue to love him even after he is gone. Ralph and Lois are one of the most endearing couples in any of King’s books and have earned their place on this list.
4) Ben Hanscom and Beverly Marsh (It)
Everyone remembers their first crush growing up. I certainly do remember mine, although I will keep his name out of this blog (Heaven forbid someone actually reads this, haha). Those feelings are some of the most intense feelings I have ever experienced. I remember that my face would flush when I saw him, and I would alternate between feeling flushed and feeling icy cold. Even the mere mention of his name would make my hear skip a beat. I was too shy (and probably too young) to really express my feelings, but I did ache for him, and often imagined what could be. In other words, that first crush was just wonderful. And for the record, I am happily married and would not change it for the world. But I will never forget those feelings. Apparently, neither did Stephen King, as the first crush (along with many others) was a topic explored in detail in his book It.
Ben Hanscom is the fat, lonely kid in love with the beautiful girl that he will never obtain (so he thinks). Beverly Marsh is the beautiful girl, but suffers from serious self doubt, due to verbal and physical abuse at the hands of her father. She is also bullied by her peers as her parents are poor. Ben and Beverly are brought together the summer before they enter 6th grade to battle an evil being that has held their town captive for centuries. Ben, Beverly and the rest of their friends band together to form The Losers Club. The children spend the summer devising ways to rid the town of evil, and finally do battle with the monster. They then go their separate ways and become successful adults. Ben remains single, unable to settle down with anyone. Beverly marries a man who is abusive in the same way her father was abusive. The adult Losers then band together in adulthood one last time to vanquish the monster in their home town, as the first attempt was unsuccessful. In the process, Ben falls in love with Beverly all over again. This time, the Losers are successful and defeat the monster. Somewhere along the way, Beverly also begins to reciprocate Ben’s feelings for her and falls in love with him. Unlike many King characters, Ben and Beverly receive a happy ending, as it is implied that they become a couple.
Even though the romance between Ben and Beverly is practically an epilogue, they are still one of King’s most memorable couples. How often is it that someone like Ben gets to reunite with his first crush and make his feelings known? How often is that two people who called themselves Losers as children wind up successful and then find the love of their lives? Unfortunately, rarely…which is what makes Ben Hanscom and Beverly Marsh an endearing couple worthy of this list.
3) Roland Deschain and Susan Delgado (Wizard and Glass)
As stated before, King often explores the topic of first love, and writes extensively about childhood. The book Wizard and Glass (book 4 of the Dark Tower series), is a flashback to Roland Deschain’s childhood. King provides us with a detailed account of Roland’s coming of age, when he passes his test several years early and becomes a gunslinger at the unheard of age of 14. However, Roland truly comes of age when he is sent, along with his friends Cuthbert and Alain, to Meijis for his supposed protection. Roland’s father believes that Meijis is not subject to the upheaval that Gilead is currently experiencing and sends Roland and his friends there, with assumed names and assumed jobs. However, this move backfires, and Roland and his friends are placed in even more danger. Along the way, Roland also meets and falls in love with Susan Delgado, a young woman living in Meijis, who will become Roland’s first and only true love.
When Roland and Susan meet, Susan is promised to the elderly mayor of Meijis by her greedy aunt Cordelia. However, that promise is soon broken, as Roland and Susan are attracted to each other and quickly consummate their relationship. They surrender completely to each other, in both body and soul. Although their courtship is brief, Susan quickly becomes pregnant with Roland’s child. In the meantime, Roland and his friends uncover a plot by Eldred Jonas and the Big Coffin Hunters (a corrupt band of failed gunslingers) to surrender Meijis to an entity known as the Good Man, whose intentions are anything but good. Eldred Jonas befriends Susan’s greedy aunt Cordelia, and is able to turn Cordelia against her own niece. Eldred also has Roland and his friends framed for murder, in an attempt to keep Roland from foiling their plans. Susan then breaks Roland and his friends out of jail. However, Susan pays the ultimate price for this move. She is literally burned alive by the townspeople for the crime of treason. Her aunt Cordelia is also part of the mob. Roland witnesses Susan being burned at the stake through a magical crystal, but is only able to watch helplessly as Susan and his unborn child perish in flames. Roland and friends able to foil the plans of Eldred Jonas and his friends but the victory is hollow. The young gunslingers head back to Gilead but return as men and are no longer boys. The events in Meijis have matured Roland in particular, and we see him begin to turn into the cold, ruthless man we meet in the later books.
Wizard and Glass, like It, is another book that deals with childhood and first love. King gives a vivid description of Roland and Susan’s feelings for each other, stating that they kissed so hard her lips bled. He also shows a sweet, tender side of Roland, when his feelings for Susan are revealed. However, unlike Beverly Marsh and Ben Hanscom, Roland and Susan do not have a happy ending. In fact, the death of Susan Delgado is a major turning point in Roland’s life, making him into someone who will stop at nothing to achieve his goal of saving the Dark Tower. Even though their courtship is all too brief and bittersweet, Roland and Susan still have a love that most would envy. Susan’s last words are her declaration of love for Roland. A couple whom experiences a love this intense deserves a spot on this list, no matter how brief their courtship.
2) Scott and Lisey Landon (Lisey’s Story)
Some people say that when you marry someone, you also marry that person’s demons. In other words, your spouse’s troubles become your troubles. King’s book Lisey’s Story takes this concept to a new level. A literal level, actually. When Lisey falls in love with Scott, she gets much more than she bargained for. She discovers some interesting information about her husband, and not all of it is good. Scott is also a gifted writer and is on his way to becoming wildly successful. However, she still marries Scott, and literally gets the ride of a lifetime in return.
Lisey notices that her intended is a bit “unusual” even in the early stages of dating. Scott seems to have the ability to disappear and reappear. He also has the ability to heal himself from terrible injuries. Lisey later learns that Scott can teleport himself to a parallel world he calls Boo’ya Moon. This world gives Scott the ability to heal himself from terrible injuries, such as a bullet wound from a shot fired by a deranged fan. However, this world also comes with its demons. One of these creatures is responsible for Scott’s premature death. And Lisey eventually catches the eye of that creature as well. She must call upon her dead husband to do battle with the supernatural creatures of Boo’ya Moon, along with another deranged fan who has been harassing her. While Lisey is figuring out how to combat these evils, we are told the story of Scott and Lisey’s marriage. We also learn of Scott’s childhood, which was truly horrific. We learn of just what considerable sacrifices that Lisey made when she fell in love with Scott and chose to spend her life with him. Lisey has done a lot for Scott in his lifetime. And in his death, Scott does a lot a for Lisey, showing her how to rid herself of both the earthly menace and the supernatural menace. Scott also leads her to one last story that he has written just for her that is not for publication, but is for Lisey to read upon his death.
“Til death do us part” is included in most wedding vows. However, the love that Scott and Lisey have for each other even transcends death, making them worthy of their spot on this list.
And now, for my number 1 Stephen King couple…
1) Eddie and Susannah Dean (The Dark Tower series)
Its no secret that any character in a Stephen King book is often put through grueling tests that are usually not of their own choosing. And the same goes for couples in the Stephen King universe (as evidenced by this post). However, no couple (in my humble opinion) has been subjected to as many trials and tribulations as Eddie and Susannah Dean (of The Dark Tower series).
On the surface, Eddie and Susannah are as different as could be. For starters, there is the obvious. Eddie is white and Susannah is black. And they are not even from the same time period, although they are both from New York City. Eddie is drawn as a young man from 1980’s New York. Susannah is drawn as a slightly older woman from 19060’s New York. It is revealed that she was heavily involved in the civil rights movement. Eddie’s pursuits were far less noble, as we learn that he was employed as a drug runner by a mobster. Eddie also suffers from an addiction to heroin. Susannah is not without her demons, however. When she is drawn, she is suffering from multiple personality disorder. One personality is known as Odetta Susannah Dean. Odetta is mild mannered and educated. The other personality, Detta Susannah Walker, is everything Odetta is not: rude, crass and paranoid. The Detta personality even tries to kill Roland and Eddie.
However, despite of, or perhaps because of their respective demons, Eddie and Susannah fall in love. With Eddie’s love, Susannah is able to merge both the Detta and Odetta personalities into one powerful woman who becomes known as Susannah Dean. And with Susannah’s love, Eddie is able to kick his heroin addiction and put his focus on other pursuits, such as becoming a deadly gunslinger. Both Eddie and Susannah are thrown into a strange world together, and have had choices made for them, as opposed to making their own choices. But their love is enough to see them through the trials they will be subjected to. And those trials are numerous.
Along with Jake Chambers, Eddie and Susannah train with Roland Deschain to become gunslingers. Eddie, Susannah, Oy the billy bumbler and Roland form a tight bond. However, this bond was never meant to last forever. Eddie is the first member of the group to die. Jake then follows. Susannah is forced to continue the remainder of the quest without Eddie. Despite the fact of feeling like she is just going through the motions without Eddie, Susannah continues on the quest with Roland. However, she is offered a reprieve. Even better, she is able to reunite with a parallel reality version of her husband. So, unlike many couples on this list, Eddie and Susannah do have a somewhat happy ending.
Relationships are often about trial and hardship. People may love each other, but as the saying goes, sometimes love is just not enough. In order for a relationship to last, it must weather whatever difficulties are thrown its way. The best relationships are those that have withstood whatever hardship that has been thrown their way, and are all the better for it. Eddie and Susannah’s Dean’s relationship had almost every kind of hardship I could think of thrown its way (even death), but their love was never diminished. In other words, nothing could part them. Therefore, they are deserving the honor of being Stephen King’s best couple.
So next time you have a fight with your sweetie and are lamenting the status of your relationship, just remember…it could be worse. Much worse…you could be one of the couples on this list and therefore a victim to the whims of Stephen King! So grab your sweetie, give him or her a kiss and thank your lucky stars that you live in this universe and not the Stephen King universe!