The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is a freebie. So I was trying to think of an interesting list, and I came up with twins. Twins are all over literature. They’re definitely an interesting device to explore character. I thought this would be a fun one.
1. Alanna & Thom, The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce
Alanna is supposed to study magic, and her twin brother to a warrior, but each of them wants what the other has. So Alanna pretends to be Alan, and Thom goes off in her place to become a sorcerer. Thom eventually goes evil (or is just used by evil? I can’t quite remember) and dies.
2. Tobin/Tamir & Brother, the Tamir Triad by Lynn Flewelling
Skala is supposed to be ruled by queens, but the throne has been taken by a usurper king, and all of his female relatives, save for the little sister he dotes on, have turned up dead. Now the land is suffering under drought and famine. The only hope for Skala’s future is the princess’s soon-to-be-born daughter, but her uncle would make no compunction about killing her. When the princess gives birth to male and female twins, the wizard Iya makes a terrible choice, kills the boy twin, and then switches their bodies so that the living twin appears to be the boy and the dead twin the girl. But Brother is not a quiet spirit, especially when his mother, who goes mad after discovering the murder, digs up his bones and sews them into a doll.
3. Cersei & Jaime Lannister, A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
Talk about a twisted relationship. Perhaps the most famous twins in fantasy, Cersei and Jaime are lovers and conspirators. But it isn’t all sunshine and roses for these two. Jaime is faithful to his sister in all things, but Cersei will do anything for the power she thinks she deserves, including having sex with pretty much anyone. When things go really wrong for Cersei in book four, she begs Jaime to come for her, but he seems to finally have reached a point were he won’t do it.
4. Cath & Wren Avery, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Cath & Wren are sisters growing up and growing apart. Cath wants to hold on to the things they used to enjoy together, Wren wants to party and find new friends. I love how Fangirl charts their ups and downs as well as lets Cath blossom into her own character
5. Marion & Shiva Stone, Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
The sons of an Indian nun and an English surgeon growing up in Ethiopia, Marion and Shiva start life conjoined, spend most of their early life speaking with one voice, and then have a fight over the stupidest thing in the world and separate. They have very different personalities and take very different paths, but when one twin needs the other, they become ShivaMarion again.
6. Greta & Felix Wells, The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Scott Greer
Greta Wells’ journey through time is spurred on by the death of her twin, Felix, from AIDs in 1985. She finds two other versions of Felix, and struggles with the knowledge that neither of them will ever be quite the same as the brother she lost.
7. Nick & Go Dunne, Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Go keeps Nick grounded and keeps him from being a complete and total asshole. They have a fascinating twin relationship.
8. Antipholous & Dromio of Syracuse and Antipholous & Dromio of Ephesus, The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare uses twins a few times in his plays, but my favorite is in The Comedy of Errors which features not one but two sets of twins, each of whom shares the same name! The play is all about mistaken identity, and it is hysterical (and not as confusing as you might think once you get the hang of it.)
9. Viola & Sebastian, Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare
More Shakespeare twins, with bonus cross-dressing.
10. Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield, Sweet Valley Twins by Francine Pascal. I was not as into the Sweet Valley Twins as some girls. In fact, I only remember reading two stories, one where they switched bodies because of a wishing well (what is the point of body switching magic when you are an identical twin? A question of logic that did not occur to me at the time), and a trilogy where they and the rest of the senior class were shipwrecked on a deserted island a la Lord of the Flies (every semester, the Honor Roll students at my school would be given a prize of a lunchtime cruise in the Gulf of Mexico…thanks to that series I was so ready should we ever find ourselves shipwrecked). But anyway. The Sweet Valley Twins are archetypal twins. Even if you’ve never read them, you probably know a lot about them. Jessica–her very name sounds harloty– is the Bad Girl. Elizabeth, she of the old-fashioned name and style, is demure and studious. Conflicts ensue.