Blunt Talk’s Walter and Harry Inspires Our Literary Bromance Picks

How does Walter Blunt do it? How does the loud, pompous British newscaster (played by Sir Patrick Stewart in the new Starz comedy Blunt Talk, premiering Saturday, August 22) juggle his career, his wake of failed marriages, his continuing sexual indiscretions and his ongoing drug and alcohol abuse?

Clearly, it’s too much for one man to handle. Blunt can only get by with the assistance of his ever-loyal manservant Harry, who is so utterly devoted to his boss that he tests the coke before Blunt snorts it (“What would I ever do without you, Harry?” Blunt asks. “What would I do without you, Major?” is Harry’s answer).

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Harry (Adrian Scarborough, l.) and Walter (Patrick Stewart) in Blunt Talk.

Ah, the bromance—the iron-clad bond between one man and another that goes past friendship, beyond brotherhood, and into “one for all, and all for one” territory. And as it does on television, the bromance has a long and illustrious history in literature. So in honor of Walter and Harry, here’s a look at some of our favorite literary bromances.

Darcy and Bingley (Pride and Prejudice, 1813)

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2005 Pride and Prejudice‘s Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen, l.) and Bingley (Simon Woods)

Sure, Darcy is a total buzzkill, and he gives Bingley bad advice (“What’s that, Darcy? I shouldn’t marry Jane?”), but their bromance is strong enough to survive all of that. PLUS they wind up marrying sisters, which means—bromance-in-law!

Phileas Fogg and Passepartout (Around the World in 80 Days, 1873)

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2004 Around the World in 80 Days‘ Passepartout (Jackie Chan, l.) and Phileas (Steve Coogan)

The manservant’s manservant, Passepartout not only gets Fogg around the world in the 19th century, mind-boggling time of 80 days, but is also the one who uncovers the plot device that allows the two to cross the finish line in time. Vive le fraternité!

Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn (Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 1876)

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1995 Tom and Huck‘s Huck (Brad Renfro, l.) and Tom (Jonathan Taylor Thomas)

American literature’s favorite mischief-makers appeared in the Mark Twain classics The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Whether they were hunting for buried treasure, exploring caves or tricking other kids into whitewashing picket fences, Tom and Huck were one of our first bromaces.

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson (A Study in Scarlet, 1887)

Sherlock Season 3 Sundays January 19 - February 2, 2014 10pm ET on MASTERPIECE on PBS Sherlock Holmes stalks again in a third season of the hit modern version of the Arthur Conan Doyle classic, starring Benedict Cumberbatch (War Horse) as the go-to consulting detective in 21st-century London and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) as his loyal friend, Dr. John Watson. Shown from left to right: Martin Freeman as Dr. John Watson and Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes (C)Robert Viglasky/Hartswood Films for MASTERPIECE This image may be used only in the direct promotion of MASTERPIECE. No other rights are granted. All rights are reserved. Editorial use only.
2010 Sherlock‘s Watson (Martin Freeman, l.) and Holmes (Benedict Cumberbatch)

How could Holmes even exist without Watson? Who else would ever listen to Holmes meticulously unravel every clue to each mystery—for that matter, who else could stand Holmes’ company? Was he truly one of literature’s most faithful companions? Elementary. (Sorry, I had to say it.)

Lennie and George (Of Mice and Men, 1937)

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1992 Of Mice and Men‘s George (Gary Sinise, l.) and Lennie (John Malkovich)

A bittersweet bromance to be sure, and one that comes to a tragic end, this story of companionship amidst the pain and hardship of the Great Depression shows the extent to which one true friend will go for another. Steinbeck at his bromantic best.

Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 1954)

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2001 The Lord of the Rings‘ Frodo (Elijah Wood, l.) and Sam (Sean Astin)

Perhaps the closest and most intense of all of literature’s bromances, the relationship between Frodo and Sam in the Lord of the Rings trilogy withstands mortal danger itself. Frodo may have been the ring-bearer, but he would never have even come close to the fiery mountains of Mordor without the support (both figurative and literal) of his best bud Sam.

Harry Potter and Ron Weasley (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 1997)

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2007 Harry Potter‘s Harry (Daniel Radcliffe, l.) and Ron (Rupert Grint)

Harry and Ron’s friendship goes far beyond that of a couple of buds hanging out on the Hogwart’s Express on their way to school. They laugh over fun times, cry over wizarding babes, fight like any close pair of brothers would, and face peril over and over again. Like any great hero, Harry can only get as far as his best friend will accompany him.

Which of these is your favorite literary bromance? And which ones did we leave out? Tell us in the comment section below!

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Michael Ruscoe is a writer, teacher, and musician living in Southern Connecticut. He is the author of the novel, “From the Stray Cat Files: You’ll Do Anything,” the anthology, “Baseball: A Treasury of Art and Literature,” and numerous educational texts. An instructor at Southern Connecticut State University, Ruscoe is also lead singer and songwriter for the indie band Save the Androids! In his spare time he earns karma for his next life by ardently following the New York Mets. The proud father of two children, Ruscoe also cares for and supports a pair of goldfish, who, in all honesty, are not very good conversationalists.