My favorite friendship: Locke and Jean

My answer to the 2015 Love Fest Question of the Day
What is your favorite literary friendship?

Locke & Jean, from Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series

Gentleman Bastard series by Scott Lynch

They support each other through any difficulty. They work beautifully as a team. They pick up on and adapt to each other without the need for words. They understand each others’ strengths and weaknesses, and are always there to fill in the gap. They are absolutely loyal. But when one of them needs a kick in the pants to get their life back on track, they don’t hesitate to drag the other person kicking and screaming to where they want to be.

I can think of a lot of book friendships that I love, but Locke and Jean are number one on my list because of their emotional connection and the way they’ve been there for each other. Most male friendships don’t show the emotions much, and I feel Scott Lynch does a better job than most at showing not just the absolute loyalty, but also the depth of feeling between Locke and Jean. When they lose people, they grieve together. When an old obsession shows up and throws one of them into chaos, they talk about it and figure out how it changes things. When one falls in love, the other can acknowledge their happiness and fight to help them keep it.

But the emotional depth and honest communication between them doesn’t mean they’re all talk either. They show their bond through action, whether that’s adapting to a con on the fly, having each others’ back in battle, or knocking some sense into Locke when he needs it.

In book 3, Locke goes through a period of deep depression, and Jean’s reactions to it are what make them my number one friendship. At first, Jean gives him the space to grieve. He takes over all the day to day tasks to keeps things running. He listens, when Locke needs to talk. He’s patient, when Locke withdraws. But as the grieving process turns to deep depression, he does everything he can to shake Locke out of it. Jean drags him out into public. He forces him to get dressed in the morning. He tells him the harsh truth and doesn’t let Locke get away with moping forever. When Locke loses himself in the bottle, Jean dumps them out. And when all else fails, he gives Locke the one thing that’s always been enough to drag him out of whatever dark pit he’s lost himself in: a challenging con.

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