While I am an avid Fantasy Romance reader (and writer, LOL) I do still appreciate a good bromance. Unfortunately, platonic friendships between men and women in fiction can be hard to find sometimes. There are a few great examples, but they are in the minority.
Part of my appreciation for this trope is thanks to the related “found family” trope, but it’s also because there was a long period in my life where social anxiety kept me from making my own friends, so I kind of just appropriated my brother’s. Therefore, all my college friends are guys.
Because of this, I love Fantasy books with platonic male/female friendships and wanted to share some of my favorites. I decided to do this on hard mode, so limited my selections to heterosexual characters who never have a romantic entanglement with each other throughout their respective series.
Kaladin Stormblessed and Shallan Davar (The Stormlight Archive)
Kaladin and Shallan have a great relationship. Though there is some hint that they might become a couple in the beginning, Brandon Sanderson gave them a positive (if teasing) relationship that I love. They go through trials and massive dangers together, have each other’s backs, and have a good working dynamic.
Regis and Cattie-Brie (Legend of Drizzt)
A college professor introduced me to the Legend of Drizzt. I binged the books while running for hours at a time during the early days of lockdown. While the series focuses on Drizzt (as the name implies), I loved Regis and Cattie-brie. Despite a large age gap, Cattie-brie has the stronger personality by far and that evens things between them. Willing to die for each other with plenty of banter in between, their relationship is adorable.
Lan and Moiraine (The Wheel of Time)
When I read The Wheel of Time, I felt like Moiraine and Lan were supposed to be a couple, but I appreciated that they weren’t. Lan’s loyalty to Moiraine and the depth of their bond really helped humanize both characters for me. Moiraine is technically the superior of the two of them, but they interact much more as equals. I truly appreciate their friendship in the books. Though there are lots of hook-ups in the series, The Wheel of Time in general are a great choice for Fantasy books with platonic male/female friendships.
Geralt of Rivia and Mylva (The Witcher)
Over the course of the series, Geralt has lots of relationships with women varying from antagonistic to amorous and sometimes both at the same time. His relationship with Mylva in the later books, however, stood apart for me. Mylva and Geralt have an almost older brother/younger sister way of interacting. They are both there for each other in the darkest moments of the other’s life and there’s a tragic beauty to their friendship. Definitely one of the highlights of the series.
Caprion and Sora (The Cat’s Eye Chronicles)
I didn’t know what to make of Caprion when we first met him (before I read his novella), but I really liked how he and Sora became friends. Even though someone in particular might have gotten jealous, Caption and Sora had a solid friendship that was sweet and innocent.
Harry Potter and Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
Harry Potter and Hermoine Granger are perhaps the most famous pair on this list. Lots of people thought Harry should end up with Hermoine, but I am solidly with J.K. Rowling on this one. Hermoine and Harry go on solo adventures, brave terrors, and stick together when things get rough. At the same time, that doesn’t compromise either of their romantic relationships in the end. J.K. is a legend for a reason.
Eragon and Nasuada (The Inheritance Cycle)
I’m excited to see how this one plays out in the upcoming TV series from Disney! Eragon and Nasuada have a good friendship over their shared goal to see Galbatorix ousted from power. While it’s clear that Nasuada will do what she needs to do to achieve her goals, I liked how Paolini wrote them as a team.
Risyn and Lopen (The Stormlight Archive)
We primarily see this in Dawnshard, but I loved their friendship to bits. Risyn is a young woman who has been dealing with a disability following an accident and Lopen (or the Lopen, as he calls himself) has experienced the loss of an arm. With an esoteric and in some ways bizarre manner, Lopen helps Risyn think about how to manage other people’s expectations/assumptions and how to think about herself. It was incredibly sweet and often hilarious and yet another example of why Brando Sando is the GOAT.
Gilsazi and Talitha (Warlords of the Sandsea)
Gilsazi and Talitha met when he was her brother’s slave. She rescued him, freed him, and because her natural brother was a literal sociopath, Gilsazi in many ways became the brother she never had. When they are older, he becomes one of the few people she can trust. I also love that she is such good friends with his wife, Kasrei. They’re one of my favorite dynamics in the Sandsea!