Andy and Sean got the ball rolling on this idea, the writers talk and, obviously, write about their favourite romantic couples and I didn’t even have to think about it.
Books have always been one of my favourite escapes. I’m not alone in that, I know that now, but (wow) fourteen years ago, awkward teenage me was struggling and alone and looking for answers.
I found comfort in books but never answers until I read His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.
I watched as two adolescents came together and against the armies of man and Heaven found their place in the world but more importantly I found out who I was and what it could mean. I’ve written extensively on the impact my sexuality has had on my life as a geek and how being a geek has impacted on my sexuality. What I’ve never talked about is what it made me realize not just about myself, but about love.
I learned that love is not easy. Love is one of the greatest and most terrifying feelings in the world. I learned that it means sharing your life with the person you love and sacrificing everything to keep that love safe. I learned that lesson from Balthamos and Baruch, two lower angels who appeared in The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass books in the trilogy. They turn their backs on the lives they know, they abandon the armies of heaven and survive only because they have each other to fall back on. I learned that two men, angels or not, could share a love so powerful it gave them the courage to stand up against their peers; to fight and even die for it(spoilers).
I realize that today there is no shortage of romantic couples to choose from, straight or gay. I love and cherish these romantic icons and hold their love (jeez this is smooshy stuff) dear whether it’s canon or fan-fiction shipping (okay maybe not fan ships!). What I’m trying to say is that fourteen years later I am sitting at my laptop and I can still recall those feelings as clearly as I could back then. I am still enamoured and moved by these two angels but more importantly I still appreciate and am grateful to them and Philip Pullman for showing a frightened and confused teenager that what he was feeling and wanting was perfectly normal and for teaching that boy that love is worth fighting for, no matter who you love.
Editor-in-Chief, part-time super villain and hoarder of cats. If you can’t find me writing, I’m probably in the kitchen!