It was the legendary Meatloaf who said, “I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that.” As someone who has always loved the idea of being in love and the idea of doing anything for your love, 2022 humbled me on those accounts. There are some things that I just won’t do, even if I love that person. Now I will caveat that I love all of these pairings I am going to talk about, and these are some of my favorite shows. Obviously, I understand that in the scope of a dramatized television show, sometimes people’s decisions and actions might not be rational or realistic. Honestly, I’m impressed by these characters and their completely unhinged loyalty to the person they love.
In an age of swiping left and right and stale conversations playing two truths and a lie, it’s kind of nice seeing people go to the ends of the earth for each other. Now would I journey to the land of the dead or plot an elaborate fake death for my Hinge date? Probably not. But, I’m learning there are a lot of things I wouldn’t do for love.
Arondir and Bronwyn — The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power
Would I travel large expanses of undeveloped wild land (that will eventually become Mordor) to protect a band of very doomed humans from hordes of orcs just because I have a crush on a hot single mom? No. While it might be a little cold to simply turn your backs on the humans who you have been watching over for all this time, Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) went the extra couple thousand miles to help Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi) and her doomed village of people escape from the orcs. And he had to deal with her angsty teen son Theo (Tyroe Muhafidin) along the way. It also doesn’t help that the people Arondir is trying to protect don’t even like him, and, in fact, are pretty strongly prejudiced against him until he saves them.
This is not even touching on the fact that Bronwyn is human and therefore will die much sooner than Arondir, making their romance all the more tragic à la Beren and Luthien or Aragorn and Arwen. Arondir and Bronwyn have had to keep their romance a secret. A bit of forbidden love may be spicy on the page but do these two even know if they’d be happy together in the long term? It takes a special type of love to sacrifice everything for a milf, especially when she’s a part of a group of ungrateful humans who will probably pledge their fealty to the dark lord the minute you turn your back on them.
Rhaenyra and Daemon — House of the Dragon
Would I plot an elaborate fake death scenario for my crush/niece’s gay husband so that she could keep her conscience clear, and we could get married? No. Not only is it a complex plan, but I would still have to kill someone to replace her husband’s body! But Daemon (Matt Smith) and Rhaenyra (Emma D’Arcy) are on another level, there never seemed to be a doubt that Daemon would readily kill for Rhaenyra. Thankfully, despite being in a romantically loveless marriage, Rhaenyra still loved Laenor (John MacMillan) as a person and so the two of them had to figure out a way not to kill Laenor, but remove him from the picture so that the two of them could get hitched.
But let’s face it, Daemon and Rhaenyra were easily one of those couples that shot to the top of everyone’s favorite list, whether that be due to the raw chemistry between the actors on screen or the attraction to that taboo nature of their relationship. If anything was revealed to us this year, it was that Targaryen incest is not that bad and it’s okay to ship it. If I ever find someone (hopefully not in my own family) to whom I can say, “You and I are made of fire. We have always been meant to burn together,” who knows what I’d do for that love? But as of 2022, I don’t burn with anyone unless you count heartburn after a spicy meal.
Joyce and Hopper — Stranger Things
Would I abandon my kids in America, make a deal with a definitely crooked Russian smuggler, and fly to another continent to free my maybe-boyfriend from a literal Soviet prison? No. I’m sorry, Joyce (Winona Ryder), I also think Hopper (David Harbour) is cute, but I’m not going to Soviet Russia to free anyone unless they’re a blood relative. And this is Russia in March. There are whole history books detailing why you shouldn’t go into Russia during the winter. If Napoleon couldn’t do it, neither can I. Does that take away from the sweetness of their reunion after Joyce finally gets to the prison? No, but there are bigger issues at hand, Joyce!
She had to leave all of her kids behind to chase after the potential of Hopper being alive, and these aren’t average kids who just have to fend for themselves in California. She’s got Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown), who is an actual walking conspiracy theory and going through the trials and tribulations of puberty. When it comes to choosing between your kids or your boyfriend, Joyce might need to sort out her priorities. Especially, considering she was willing to do anything to protect her son back in Season 1. Sorry, not even the most romantic dinner date at Enzo’s could make me get into that Russian smuggler’s plane.
Stede Bonnet and Blackbeard — Our Flag Means Death
Would I go back to my boyfriend if I was the most notorious criminal of the age (or really all the ages), even though it is essentially guaranteed that I would be captured and hung, if not drawn and quartered, just to prove that I loved him? No. But, whose heart didn’t beat a little faster when Blackbeard (Taika Waititi) went back to the Revenge for Stede? Even knowing the British were coming to lock them all up, it was romantic and the grand gesture that people search for in relationships, and it was all set to Fleetwood Mac‘s “The Chain.” Stede and Blackbeard had been dancing around each other all season at that point, and this is the moment when their romance was solidified.
But Blackbeard was the most notorious pirate of that time, and he remains one of the most well known pirates of the golden age of piracy. He knows that his return means guaranteed death. Yes, meeting Stede effectively changed the course of Blackbeard’s life, and much like the Grinch with Christmas, Stede made his heart grow three times too big. But, death is very permanent. I’m not getting drawn and quartered, no matter how much I love my well-dressed, well-mannered, sweet himbo boyfriend.
Burt and Irving — Severance
Okay, would I fight the corporate overlords in order to avenge my office boyfriend? In the normal case, yeah, maybe. But when I’m in the world of Severance, my work life would be my only life. There’s nothing beyond the walls of Lumon. So the real question is, would I sacrifice my whole life to avenge my office crush’s life after spending some time admiring paintings together and kissing in an office greenhouse? No. Lumon is far too powerful. Considering that Burt and Irving’s departments weren’t even allowed to interact, it seems likely that the company retired/killed Burt’s (Christopher Walken) Innie because of his blossoming relationship with Irving (John Turturro). This could lead to a lot of guilt when it comes to the moral repercussions of what it means to retire an Innie.
But Irving’s dedication to Burt leads him to seek out Burt when his Innie is out in the world, because he has become such a pivotal part of Irving’s life. But, upon finding Burt, realization settles in that his Outie has a whole life and a committed partner. After all of that, just to find out the person I’m sacrificing everything for is not even available? That’s soul-crushing and I can’t do that, even if it was fun to flirt over paintings and kiss in plant-filled rooms.
Thony and Arman — The Cleaning Lady
Would I continuously help yet another hot single mom save her ailing child even if it means my relationship with my wife with be ruined, I’ll become a target for the FBI, oh and in the future, I might go to prison for human trafficking? Absolutely not! You might be surprised to see that I’m advocating for Arman (Adan Canto) who, on paper, reads as the problematic one. After all, Arman is the mobster who makes Thony (Elodie Yung) clean up crime scenes for him, Arman is the one dealing with high-level criminals, Arman is the one who messed up with his wife Nadia (Eva De Dominici) when he caught feelings for Thony. But, on some level, Thony must know that Arman, whether he can control it or not, would do damn near anything to keep her and her son safe.
From killing sleazy motel managers to executing innocent people in exchange for Thony’s life, their relationship is full of red flags. This doesn’t mean that the chemistry between Canto and Yung is not palpable, but at some point you have to wonder, could these two survive without the criminal element continuously pushing them together? Much of their relationship hinges on the fact that Arman both admires and feels protective of Thony. As someone who can’t wait for when Arman and Thony finally kiss again, obviously, I love that they keep needing each other, but if I was just Arman’s friend? I’d tell him to run. Thony is great, but not worth going to prison for.
Will and Lyra — His Dark Materials
Would I journey to the land of the dead, suffering a painful dying process, just to help save not my crush, but my crush’s probable first love? Hell, no. Now, granted, calling Roger (Lewin Lloyd) Lyra’s (Dafne Keen) first love or ex-boyfriend might be a bit extreme. But, in both the His Dark Materials show and book, it’s clear Roger and Will (Amir Wilson) have a bit of rivalry when it comes to Lyra’s attention. The writing seems to imply that in any other situation, Roger views Will as a sort of romantic rival and vice versa. So Lyra chasing after Roger, doing everything including separating from the daemon Pan, seems like a lengthy, dangerous, and painful mission to go on.
But is Roger a threat to Will? Not really. He represents Lyra’s youth, back before crushes and gobblers and dust. But that doesn’t stop Will from feeling threatened by their relationship. At this point in the story, Will is falling in love with Lyra, the two have been traveling together for some time and when the danger finally dies down we see Will and Lyra give into their feelings for each other after talking with Mary Malone (Simone Kirby). But, would I go to literal purgatory for someone like Lyra if I was Will? No, that’s a hard pass. Will, you’ve got a magic knife that can cut through worlds, take Lyra to a beach in Bermuda instead!