You may have noticed pictures of rings posted all over social media during the past few months—perhaps you’re even among the newly minted betrothed! To celebrate the conclusion of “engagement season” on February 14, I compiled a list of momentous literary weddings. Word to the wise: don’t model your own nuptials on these events, because most of them are unforgettable for all the wrong reasons:
The Red Wedding in A Storm of Swords, by George R. R. Martin
Few scenes in literary history have achieved the kind of notoriety enjoyed by the Red Wedding. I mean, this event is seismic in its reach. The wedding-turned-bloodbath broke the hearts of Martin fans everywhere—then we were forced to relive it last year in Season 3 of Game of Thrones. We can only hope that Martin throws the Starks a bone in the upcoming books, because that clan seriously deserves a break.
Annie and Viveca’s Wedding in We are Water, by Wally Lamb
After 27 years of conventional marriage and family life, Annie Oh falls in love with her art dealer, Viveca. Her adult children have trouble accepting her newfound sexual orientation, but Annie and Viveca cannot be dissuaded from tying the knot. Lamb delves deep into the personal side of a battle that is widely seen as political, and captures the cathartic relief that has accompanied the marriage equality movement.
Lycius and Lamia’s Wedding in Lamia, by John Keats
One of Keats’ most famous works, Lamia depicts a whirlwind romance between the mysterious beauty Lamia and a Corinthian youth named Lycius. Too bad at their wedding feast, a nosy sage reveals that Lamia is actually a giant snake-woman-demon-thing. We hope they had a good pre-nup!
Claudio and Hero’s Wedding in Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare
Shakespeare loves to casually make his comedies into harrowing tragedies for a few scenes, and Claudio and Hero’s wedding is the ultimate example. Convinced by the lying Don John that his betrothed isn’t a virgin, Claudio ruthlessly humiliates Hero in front of all their guests. The scene is a relentless tearjerker, and it’s followed up by some of the best digs of any Shakespearean play. I mean, is there anything more badass than Beatrice saying, “I would eat [Claudio’s] heart in the marketplace”? Of course, the play seamlessly becomes a comedy again, and ends with an epic double wedding. All’s well that ends well, as some playwright or other once said.
The Rochester/Eyre Wedding in Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë
Jane and Mr. Rochester have the perfect romance…that is, until their wedding day. As they are exchanging vows, a man in the crowd objects to the marriage, claiming that Rochester is already married to his sister. Awk-ward. As with Claudio and Hero, the second time is the charm for these lovebirds.
Any Wedding in Mythology
Talk about a bunch of crazy parties! When it comes to mythological weddings, even the sky isn’t the limit. These bridal ragers include the Moon marrying the Sun, the Sky marrying the Earth, and the constellations marrying each other. Even the more grounded nuptials are nuts: Hades, the King of the Underworld, up and makes off with Persephone, the Princess of Spring, and everyone just has to deal with it. And let’s not even get into the marriage of Oedipus and his mother. When it comes to outrageous matches, mythology takes the wedding cake.
What’s your favorite fictional wedding?