As avid readers of fantasy literature will attest, there’s little in this genre that captures our hearts and imaginations quite like a good bromance.
These intimate friendships, often between two (occasionally more) men, present an opportunity for deep character development, exhilarating adventures, and emotional resonance that many of us can relate to.
But fear not, this isn’t a dissertation on the sociological aspects of male bonding in fiction.
Think of it as a merry skip through the flowering fields of fantasy bromances, occasionally stopping to point and exclaim, “Look at those guys, aren’t they just great together!”
Locke and Jean
First up, let’s pop in to visit the Gentleman Bastards.
If ever there was a tale that warmed the cockles of your heart with its hearty bromance, it’s Scott Lynch’s series.
Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen have the kind of bond that makes you want to cry into your ale.
They’re thieves, con-artists, and brothers in all but blood.
They banter, they bicker, and they save each other’s backsides with alarming regularity.
That’s the thing about Locke and Jean—it’s not just about fighting the baddies together, it’s about saving each other from their own worst habits.
Hadrian and Royce
In a similar vein, we have the unforgettable duo of Hadrian and Royce from Michael J. Sullivan’s Riyria Revelations.
What starts as a business partnership between a kind-hearted warrior and a cynical thief eventually blossoms into an unshakable friendship that’s full of witty banter and nail-biting escapades.
It’s quite like if you took a shilling for every time they save each other, you’d be as rich as the king in no time.
Now let’s take a detour through Sebastien de Castell‘s ‘Greatcoats’ series.
The Greatcoats themselves—Falcio, Kest, and Brasti—have a friendship that can only be described as…well, coat of arms deep.
They squabble like schoolboys one moment and are ready to take a sword for each other the next.
Not to mention their synchronised cloak-swirling—that’s some real friend goals there.
Clay and Gabriel
But hold your horses…or should I say wyverns?
Nicholas Eames’ ‘Kings of the Wyld’ series boasts Clay Cooper and Gabriel.
These two old warriors come out of retirement for one last hurrah, enduring all manner of beasts and bedlam.
Their banter will have you chuckling like a goblin on giggleweed, but at the same time, their loyalty will make you sob like a heartbroken dragon.
An emotional rollercoaster, isn’t it?
Jon and Samwell
Next stop is at the frosty wall of Westeros.
If you listen closely, you might just hear the sound of Jon Snow and Samwell Tarley’s friendship, a heartwarming chord that rings true even amidst the incessant chill.
In George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire,’ Jon and Sam start as green boys at the Night’s Watch but soon develop an enduring friendship that weathers both White Walkers and the politics of the realm.
Jon, the brooding bastard, and Sam, the self-deprecating scholar, are as different as ice and fire, but they stick together like two wights in a snowstorm.
Kaladin and Adolin
Our next bromance takes us to the ‘Stormlight Archive’ by Brandon Sanderson, where we meet the mighty Kaladin and the charismatic Adolin Kholin.
Although their friendship starts on rocky grounds (and who can blame them—class tensions, haunted pasts, and all that), they grow to rely on each other.
Adolin might be the charming prince, and Kaladin a brooding ex-slave, but their friendship shines brighter than a Shardblade in battle.
Plus, nothing says ‘bromance’ quite like fighting an ancient, desolate evil together, does it?
Harry and Ron
Harry Potter and Ron Weasley from J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ series undoubtedly deserve a mention.
Despite the magic and mayhem of Hogwarts, these two chaps stick together through thick and thin (and troll encounters).
0They’re the epitome of childhood friends turned lifelong companions.
It’s a true bromance when your mate is willing to face down You-Know-Who and play life-threatening chess for you.
Kvothe and Simmon
Turning the pages to Patrick Rothfuss’s ‘The Kingkiller Chronicle,’ we find the bond between Kvothe and Simmon.
Kvothe might be the protagonist, the dramatic hero with a tragic past, but it’s Simmon’s steady loyalty that lights up their friendship.
Sim is there through Kvothe’s ups, downs, and frequent tavern brawls.
Sure, Simmon might not be a legendary hero or a magical prodigy, but he’s a bloody good made, and isn’t that what counts?
Kennit and Wintrow
Next, we whisk ourselves to the high seas of Robin Hobb’s ‘Liveship Traders.’
Here, we witness the understated, deeply emotional bond between Captain Kennit and his shipmate Wintrow Vestrit.
Their relationship may start with coercion, but it evolves into an unexpected friendship full of emotional depth.
It’s a rare bromance, crafted masterfully by Hobb, and one that’s hard to forget.
Frodo and Sam
And of course, how can any discussion about bromances in fantasy literature be complete without mentioning Samwise Gamgee and Frodo Baggins from ‘The Lord of the Rings?’
Their enduring, pure, and simple friendship as they journey through Middle Earth is stuff of legends. Sam carrying Frodo up Mount Doom is nothing short of bromance in its most epic form.
“I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you.”
If you’re not a tad teary after that, well, I’m afraid you might just be a stone troll.
Honourable mention: FitzChivalry and Nighteyes
Our exploration of bromances in fantasy literature would be woefully incomplete without delving into the peculiar, profound relationship that transcends the barriers of species: FitzChivalry Farseer and Nighteyes from Robin Hobb’s ‘Farseer Trilogy.’
You see, the ‘bromance’ that Fitz, the royal bastard, shares with Nighteyes, his wolf companion, is quite unlike any other we’ve discussed so far.
It’s not just friendship, it’s a ‘soulship’ if you will, a bond of minds and spirits.
Through the Wit (a form of magic that allows telepathic and empathic bonds with animals), these two are bound together in ways that redefine the traditional concepts of friendship.
Nighteyes isn’t just Fitz’s pet or even his sidekick—he’s his confidant, his moral compass, and quite frankly, the sensible one in the pair (and yes, we’re talking about a wolf here).
When you have a wolf advising you on your love life, you know you’ve got something unique.
Their banter (if you can call telepathic wolf-human conversations that) is full of playful humour and wisdom.
It’s touching how Nighteyes, the wolf, often ends up being the one teaching Fitz about loyalty, courage, and living in the moment.
One might even say he’s the real hero of the story—Fitz certainly wouldn’t be the same without him.
But it’s not all sunshine and howls—their bond carries a profound sense of melancholy too.
As readers, we’re reminded of the fleeting nature of Nighteyes’ life compared to Fitz’s, a fact that lends an additional depth to their relationship.
It’s this blend of love, wisdom, and impending heartbreak that makes their bond feel so real and resonates with readers even after they close the book.
And in the echoing words of Nighteyes, “We are pack.”
It’s friendships like these that teach us the true magic in fantasy isn’t always about casting spells or slaying monsters—sometimes, it’s about having someone who’ll stand by your side, laugh at your bad jokes, and help you pick yourself up when you’ve had one too many pints of dwarven ale.
And aren’t those just the best types of friendships?
If you love a good bromance in fantasy, you might enjoy my Dawn of Assassins series which centres around the friendship of Fedor and Lev.
Read the prequel novel Birth of Assassins for free as part of your starter library.