I was originally going to call this the Greatest Love Stories of all time, but then realized that most of the top stories end in death. Romeo and Juliet kill themselves. Cleopatra winds up dead. Guinevere and Lancelot don’t really have a happy ending, and besides, she was cheating on Arthur, which isn’t really a good example! Tristan and Isolde? Both die. Paris and Helena? Lots of people died for that love story. Doesn’t make for a cheery Valentine’s Day post, now does it? Besides, there are a million articles out there with the greatest love stories of all time, but I couldn’t find a list like this. So instead, here are my top 8 greatest love stories that don’t end in the main characters or everyone around them dying a miserable death.
1. Marianne Dashwood and Colonel Brandon (Sense and Sensibility)- Jane Austen may have put her characters through the ringer on their way to happily ever after, but at least they eventually get there. The love story between Marianne and the Colonel is the best one in the story because it’s so pure and simple. Marianne is madly in love with another throughout the book, but he turns out to be a total womanizing prat. The Colonel, on the other hand, waits patiently for her to notice him. In the end, she realizes that the nice guy really is the best guy for her.
2. Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley (Harry Potter series)- I remember back in the first book, I thought Harry would wind up with Hermione by the end of the series. I’m so happy I was wrong, because Hermione and Ron just make the cutest couple. His goofiness is the perfect balance to her seriousness, and her brains help keep him out of trouble.
3. Buttercup and Wesley (The Princess Bride)- Okay, so Wesley was presumed dead for a while, and died just a little bit towards the end of the movie, but in the end, the Princess and her beloved stable-boy-turned-dread-pirate end up living happily ever after.
4. Shrek and Fiona – How can I have a list of great love stories that don’t end in death without mentioning these two charming ogres. Okay, so charm may not be a word to describe Shrek, but hey, Fiona is pretty classy! Plus, she gave up being human and choose to be an ogre just to remain with her true love. Donkey and the Dragon deserve an honorable mention, too, for the greatest love story between completely different species.
5. Wall-E and EVE – Seriously, they’re robots that fall in love, what could be sweeter than that? Tell me your heart didn’t melt a bit when Wall-E and EVE first held hands?
6. Melanie and Jake (Sweet Home Alabama)- This is one of my favorite chick flicks of all time. When I first saw it, I found Melanie a bit annoying because she was trying so hard to be someone she wasn’t, but her character grew on me after a while. By the end, I was caught up in the love story and thrilled when it all worked out the way it was supposed to.
7. Allie Hamilton and Noah Calhoun (The Notebook)- Okay, technically this one does end in death, but even the death is one of the sweetest moments of the movie and doesn’t come until they’re both very old. Their love story spans across decades and is almost painful as they encounter so many obstacles along the way. Still, it’s definitely one of the most romantic stories of all time!
8. Emma Woodhouse and George Knightley (Emma)- Another great Jane Austen story! I loved the movie version with Gwyneth Paltrow. Emma is one of my favorite characters because she’s so free-spirited, especially in a time when that was kind of frowned upon.
What is your favorite love story that doesn’t end tragically, thus ruining the entire romantic mood of Valentine’s Day?