Lessons We Can Learn From Literary Best Friends
There are only two things in this life of which I am absolutely sure. One, that one where SpongeBob got stuck in Rock Bottom was the most stressful episode of SpongeBob Squarepants ever; and two, main characters would live a longer, safer life if they listened to their best friends more. In fact, we readers could also get ever useful pieces of advice from some of the most memorable literary best friends:
Hermione Granger, The Harry Potter series
“Oh, for heaven’s sake! Listen to me, all of you! You’ve got just as much right as wizards to be unhappy! You’ve got the right to wages and holidays and proper clothes, you don’t have to do everything you’re told—look at Dobby!”
I have reason to believe that a majority of Book Rioters are not house elves. Nonetheless, Hermione’s words still hold true in our sad muggle lives. No matter who we are, what color of skin we have, what we believe in, and whom we choose to love, we have the right to demand others to treat us the way we should be treated—as human beings—and Hermione reminds us to fight for that right.
Ron Weasley, The Harry Potter series
“Don’t let the muggles get you down.”
In this day and age when one’s self-worth is oftentimes perceived through others’ eyes, it’s easy to let what other people think get to us. We believe them when they say that we can’t do it, that we’re lesser than we actually are, that tragedy befalls us through our own doing. But Ron tells us to ignore them. They’re muggles. What do they know anyway?
Samwise Gamgee, The Lord of the Rings
“If you don’t come back, sir, then I shan’t, that’s certain,” said Sam. “Don’t you leave him! they said to me. Leave him! I said. I never mean to. I am going with him, if he climbs to the Moon, and if any of those Black Riders try to stop him, they’ll have Sam Gamgee to reckon with, I said. They laughed.”
There are very few characters in literature who can match Sam’s loyalty. As we can see from this quote, he is willing to go through anything just to remain by Frodo’s side. He is not a powerful being; in fact, he is a hobbit, who probably wants nothing more than to live a long, peaceful life. But he is prepared to abandon that for his friend and master. We may not achieve that level of selflessness, but I hope Sam will inspire us to become the kind of friend we, ourselves, want and deserve to have.
Harold Stein, A Little Life
“Jude, there’s not an expiration date on needing help, or needing people. You don’t get to a certain age and it stops.”
Harold is Jude’s mentor and the one of the only ones who treat Jude like a father would. They meet when Jude is already an adult, and partially because of that, Jude refuses to “burden” his parental figures with his pain. But as Harold says, no matter how old we get, we will never stop needing other people, and other people—acquaintances, friends, and, most of all, family—will continue giving their help and themselves to us. We should never be ashamed of this. Wanting help is not a sign of weakness, nor should it be treated as such.
The Fox, The Little Prince
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
I don’t think most people would think of the fox as the little prince’s “best friend” in this classic tale; in fact, it spends only a small amount of time with the prince. But in that short span, it has taught the little prince valuable lessons about friendship. Before parting ways, the fox tells the little prince a “secret,” that the important things in life cannot be seen. Truly, our friends—our human friends—are no different from the seven billion other humans on this planet, but what makes them special, at least to us, is our memories with them, the time we’ve spent with them. And we must never forget that.