Your best friend is the person you enjoy being around more than anyone else in the world. You have spectacular adventures together and tell each other everything. You probably also know exactly how to get on each other’s nerves. All relationships are complicated, but these heart-warming literary friendships can teach us so much about what we value in our friends.

1. Rosalind and Celia, As You Like It

Rosalind and Celia are cousins whose love is ‘dearer than the natural bond of sisters’. As such, they decide to flee to the Forest of Arden together rather than be separated. They are two of Shakespeare’s cleverest heroines, who challenge each other intellectually and pass their time in verbal sparring matches, such as when they debate the cruel apathy of Lady Fortune. They are a perfectly matched pair who are delightful to watch. Their friendship reminds us how rare yet amazing it is to meet someone and instantly click with them.

But Rosalind and Celia realise they will not agree on everything as they grow older. Rosalind adopts the person of Ganymede to test her love interest, Orlando, yet Celia criticises Rosalind for this, which also seems to cover up some anxiety. Though Celia is elated when Rosalind tells her that she has fallen in love, she also fears losing Rosalind to this new romance. Rosalind and Celia’s relationship survives and their attachment to each other becomes even stronger through their fathers’ feud, and the pair must figure out how they fit into each other’s lives now that they are grown women. They show us how true friendships will always adapt for better.

2. Legolas and Gimli, The Lord of the Rings

Sometimes it feels like Tolkien only created the rivalry between the Dwarves and the Elves to be the foundation for one of his most meaningful friendships, one about overcoming prejudice. Legolas and Gimli provide some of the funniest moments in an otherwise quite serious story, and we see their friendship grow during moments of good-natured competition, whether it is a classic drinking game or a competition as to who can kill the most Orcs in a battle.

They also brag about their own culture to each other: “Soon, Master Elf, you will enjoy the fabled hospitality of the dwarves!” Both characters must learn to move past their own presumptions as they learn more about the other group. Even Gimli is surprised at how far they have come at the final battle, as he muses that he “never imagined he’d die side by side with an elf.” Legolas responds, “What about side by side with a friend?” Because isn’t having a friend at your darkest hour the best you can hope for?

3. Despereaux and Princess Pea, The Tale of Despereaux

In DiCamillo’s modern fairytale masterpiece, a smaller-than-average mouse called Despereaux falls in love with a beautiful human princess called Pea. When destiny calls, he goes on a dangerous quest to save her from a villainous rat. The book is simple but wonderful, and is filled with complex life lessons. How does it end for the mouse in love and his beautiful maiden, you may ask?

“Did he live happily ever after? Well, he did not marry the princess, if that is what you mean by happily ever after. Even in a world as strange as this one a mouse and a princess cannot marry. But reader, they can be friends. And they were. Together, they had many adventures.”

Does Despereaux ever wish he could have married the princess? I don’t think so. His love for her is so innocent and pure, I believe all he really wants is to be her friend. Their friendship makes me think of playing on the swings with a childhood best friend, who was maybe also your first love. Because even if it is completely platonic, friendships are love stories in their own way. There is still jealousy, heartbreak, and joy.

4. Bryce and Danika, Crescent City (potential spoilers)

Bryce and Danika meet on the day they move into their shared dorm room, and they spend their time dancing and drinking like it’s their last night on Earth. Because they live in a supernatural setting, they have a few not-so-average adventures, but most of the time they’re reminiscent of most partying college students. They are a reminder that even while you may be busy being young and stupid, you are forming important friendships.

And these friends will stick with you no matter what. Danika’s death is the inciting incident in the story (and I don’t really think this is a spoiler because it’s on the book jacket). Bryce sets out to solve the mystery of her best friend’s murder, as she navigates her own grief and discovers that Danika is still with her. If you are lucky enough to have a friend who will support you no matter what, it doesn’t matter if they cannot physically be with you. You feel emboldened because you know they would have your back.

5. Harry and Luna, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The Golden Trio certainly showed up a lot while I was browsing Google for inspiration to write this article, but Luna Lovegood is the friend that Harry doesn’t know he needs. Luna believes in Nargles, Wrackspurts, and that the Minister of Magic is a vampire, but also in the strength one finds in friends and that love continues after death. Her blind faith in these things is what everyone, especially Harry, needs as the series grows darker.

When they first meet her, the main characters are all a bit put off by Luna’s odd demeanour, but it’s touching to watch them grow fonder of her and come to adore all her quirks. I personally love how thrilled she is when Harry invites her to Slughorn’s Christmas party in The Half-Blood Prince. At some point, Harry realises how important she is to the group, enough for him to think of her in the climatic darkest hour of The Deathly Hallows:

“Harry took one glance back at the entrance of the Great Hall. He could not see any of the people he loved, no hint of Hermione, Ron, Ginny or any of the other Weasleys, no Luna.”

Luna has a way of sneaking into people’s hearts, like many of the people on this list. Most of these fictional friendships are built on everyday interactions, casual nights out, going to school or work (even if “work” for you is fighting Sauron’s army). Eventually they all realise that these moments have added up and the person next to them has become one of the most important people in their life.

Honourable mentions: Lizzie Bennet and Charlotte Lucas; Anne Shirley and Diana Barry; the Harry Potter Golden Trio; the Percy Jackson Golden Trio; Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee.