Who’s Your Favorite Frenemy?

Urban Dictionary gives one definition of “frenemy” as “someone who is both friend and enemy, a relationship that is both mutually beneficial or dependent while being competitive and fraught with risk and mistrust.” This made me think of many of my favorite SFF heroes and their various relationships. A “frenemy” may be an old comrade who went over to the other side; it might be a former mentor, or a family member. It might be that dangerous romantic partner our main character just can’t stay away from. A frenemy is always good for cranking up the tension, and provides useful information to our protagonist when it is needed.

The Deal by Lowranzy6699 at Deviantart

“The Deal” by Lowranzy6699 at Deviantart (used with permission)

Who is your favorite “frenemy” in SFF? Tell us who and why in the comments. One random commenter will get to choose a book from our Stacks.


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MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

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14 comments

  1. Arlen and Jadir from the Demon Cycle series are definitely my favourite. At first you hate Jadir in The Warded Man then once you read The Desert Spear you start to rethink how you feel about him.

  2. When does the competition end?

  3. Do you mean when is a commenter chosen to get a book? It’s usually about two weeks.

  4. That reminds me; we announce winners in the Comments section, so be sure you’ve ticked the box to be notified of new comments (or check back in about two weeks.)

  5. E. J. Jones /

    I hate to be mainstream (except that I don’t), but Snape is just the best.

  6. Arcanist Lupus /

    Jim Butcher loves frenemies. In Codex Alera he even invented a word for them – “Gadara”, which roughly means “trusted enemy”. And Tavi has a bit of a tradition of turning his enemies into friends.

    And in the Dresden Files, Dresden and Marcone are basically this. Dresden despises Marcone, and yet they’ve never actually been on opposite sides in any of the books.

    Heck, that is a fair description of Dresden’s relationship with Queen Mab, Lash, Laura Raith, and the Council.

    • April /

      Yes, Dresden practices the ‘keep your friends close but your enemies closer’ motto.

  7. April /

    I would normally have said the Dresden/Marcone Frenemyship but someone beat me to it.

    The next one that comes to mind is Claire Fraser and Black Jack Randall – they are definitely enemies but there is a point where they need each other and they end up working together for mutual benefit; for a limited period of time, pretty much a working truce.

  8. Harry and Victor from The First 15 Lives of Harry August.

  9. RedEyedGhost /

    Uggh… My first thought was Dresden and his many, many frenemies. Then I went to Arlen and Jadir, probably because I just read book four… then I went to librarything and perused my library to come up with Harry and Vincent from First 15 Lives. So, I’m out.

  10. Conal O'Neill /

    I have always enjoyed stories where good vs evil are pitted against each other. Gordon Dickson did this very well in his Childe cycle where we saw it several times. Donal Graeme/William of Ceta, Hal Mayne/Bleys Ahrens, Cletus Grahame/Dow DeCastries in the struggle between progress and stagnation and all had advesarial/frenemy relationships.

  11. Arcanist Lupus, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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