“Vail and Azael sort of meet-cute. If you count Azael staggering through the gates of the monastery with a knife in his gut and asking for sanctuary as meet-cuteing.” ~ Mini Me
Mini Me and I were discussing various ways that potential fictional characters meet each other and so I taught her the term “meet-cute”. And I thought, what better way to figure out a meet-cute than studying some great ones from fiction?
Of course the first ones that popped into my head were three disastrous ones:
• Elizabeth Bennet overhearing Mr. Darcy insult her as “tolerable” and basically not good enough to dance with, in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice
• Edward Cullen basically trying NOT to murder Bella Swan in front of a classroom of ‘children’ in Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight
• And, because it was I was currently reading when we started this topic, from Tahereh Mafi’s A Very Large Expanse of Sea, Ocean helping Shirin pick up her books in the hallway after he crashes into her, and her not giving him the time of day or a second glance.
They’re not exactly meet-cutes, but there’s definite chemistry in all three examples.
I also asked for other examples of memorable or favorite meet-cutes in fiction from my community.
[Of course, when I mentioned meet-cutes to my SIL, her first thought was also Twilight.]
I love the beginning of what is Edward and Bella. ❤️
When Bella first sees Edward in the lunch room she is pretty much enamored with his unique beauty, he was “devastatingly, inhumanly beautiful.”
After pretty much gawking at him after lunch she is seated next to him in her next class, science. As a reader, this is exciting, right? However, he is completely cold and silent to her the whole time, instantly jumping up and leaving when the bell rings.
Well! Isn’t that just so familiar and painful because, hello!? Unrequited infatuation...which I think most of us have suffered through at least once in life. It stings a bit.
Needless to say we find out later his reasoning for that behavior, and it all works out, but this hurts to read at first.
I think the ultimate meet cute has to belong to Rainbow Rowell and Eleanor and Park. Two characters sharing a bus seat and bonding over the best 80s music of all time--what could be better? I'm not sure if I like it so much because it reminds me of my own growing up in the '80s or if it's the writing or both, but I just love it! It's been awhile since I've actually read it, so I'm unsure of all the little details, but it was the first book that popped in my head after I read your email.
From Mini Me:
Speaking of disastrous meetings . . . in Victoria Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, the two main characters, Kell Maresh and Lilia Bard, first meet in a dark alley (red flag right there) while he’s too drunk to stand up on his own (another red flag) and also happens to be carrying an extremely dangerous magical artifact with powers that he isn’t quite sure have any limitations at all (serious red flag). Also he’s covered in blood.
So she comes over to see if he’s okay, offers him her handkerchief to wipe off the blood, and promptly steals said magical artifact with zero remorse, then runs off into the night. He teleports to her room to retrieve the artifact . . . and she knocks him out and ties him to her bed, then holds a knife to his throat the second he comes to and threatens to kill him. (That escalated quickly, huh?)
Pretty sure I just blew all the other examples out of the water. Although I like to think that my Azael/Vail (would their ship name be Avail?) example is pretty good, too, but I’m trying not to be narcissistic here.
Basically what we’ve established is that the most memorable meet-cutes are the disastrous ones. All right. Let’s get writing.
P.S. Tim Power's The Anubis Gates does not contain a meet-cute, I don’t think. I’d have to re-read it further in case I’m mistaken. (I can think of a good example of a meet-cute disaster from there, but not without horribly spoiling a huge plot point.)
I had Little Lion take the above picture because I like to joke around that my high school English teacher (Mr. Brendan Powers, yes the main character is named after him) inadvertently introduced me to my husband. Because Mr. Powers introduced me to sci-fi/fantasy writing and his brother’s books. And when I started at UCLA, Mr. Bookworm would come over to borrow all my Tim Powers books. Supposedly. Not because he had a crush on me. Well, we started dating a month after we met and have been together ever since….that counts as a sort-of meet-cute, right?
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
What’s your favorite fictional meet-cute? Are they as disastrous as the ones that I’ve listed? Or is there something else that sparks the chemistry?