December 13, 2015
I’ve been thinking about weddings and marriage recently. And, since I’m me, about fiction. Specifically speculative fiction, i.e., fantasy and science fiction.
Now dramatic narrative, even in speculative fiction, often leads to a wedding between characters. But it seems that characters — main characters, at least — seldom begin a story in a state of matrimony. Singles dominate the rosters of main characters. Why is that?
A couple of answers come to mind. First, as I mentioned, a wedding is a common narrative culmination. So the characters must, perforce, enter the story single. Second, is matrimony is linked with domesticity. Domesticity connotes peaceful routine. Whether that is true or not is irrelevant. The point is that a writer after action, conflict, drama, war, explosions, adventure, intrigue, etc. doesn’t gravitate naturally to the stable institution of marriage. And the marriage itself could stand in the way of all the choices the writer wants to place before the protagonist. William B. Blastoff is unlikely to explore the stellar reaches of the BEM Nebula if he and Mrs. Blastoff are busy perusing color samples at the Home Depot.
I’m trying to think of examples of married couples in fantasy or SF novels. Not characters who end up married by the end of the book or series. That is common enough. But I’m having trouble coming up with any. Steven Brust provides a good example of a couple meeting, getting married, and divorcing over the course of a few books in one of his series. (I’m trying to avoid spoilers here, otherwise I’d mention the series and characters, as well as bring up some rather prominent personages in one of Glen Cook’s series.) Secondary characters do enter the stage married, e.g., Celeborn and Galadriel. But what about our protagonists?
Help me out, readers. My memory isn’t what it used to be. I’m sure I’m missing some good examples.