I’ve been reading (or really rereading) Lord of Shadows and thinking a LOT about parabatai. Emma and Jules’ relationship in Lord of Shadows takes some complicated turns, but at the end they’re always going to be parabatai, and that’s a bond that lasts forever. Honestly, parabatai are one of my favorite things about the world of the Shadowhunters. The idea that two people can be bound together by an oath in which they swear to fight side by side, lay down their lives for one another, and have an everlasting and platonic love, is a sweet one. Parabatai are more than best friends, different from romantic lovers — they’re basically platonic soulmates. I mean, check out the oath they have to take:
Entreat me not to leave thee,
Or return from following after thee—
For whither thou goest, I will go,
And where thou lodgest, I will lodge.
Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.
Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried.
The Angel do so to me, and more also,
If aught but death part thee and me.
Now that’s commitment! Now that I’m back in the world of the Shadowhunters, I’ve been imprinting Shadowhunter mythology everywhere. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about some fictional characters who might be parabatai if they were Shadowhunters. I’ve come up with seven pairs that I think fit the bill. For the sake of this exercise, I’ve removed the qualification that they have to be bound before they turn 18 — we can assume if they were really in the Shadowhunter universe, fate would have found a way to bring them together sooner. Check out the list, and then let me know who else you think might be parabatai in the comments below!
Holmes and Watson – Sherlock Holmes
Well, duh. This one’s such a given its even referenced in Lady Midnight and Lord of Shadows. Holmes and Watson always have each other’s back, and will go to pretty much the ends of the Earth with one another. Even if they bicker (like, constantly) they trust each other 100%, like true parabatai would.
James Potter and Sirius Black – Harry Potter
James and Sirius are best friends, prank partners, and brothers in arms. James took Sirius in after Sirius was disowned by the Black family, and made Sirus the godfather to his only son. And when James died, it literally sent Sirius into a sort of mental break. Losing a parabati is described as feeling like losing a part of yourself, and that’s definitely how Sirius feels after James’ death. Ugh. My heart!
Marlin and Dory – Finding Nemo
Okay, this one might be controversial, but hear me out. Marlin and Dory are definitely parabatai. They went on not one, but two trips to the end of the world for each other. “Whither thou goest, I will go,” anyone? They totally trust each other, and they’re basically a surrogate family. That sounds like parabatai to me.
Hawkeye and Black Widow – Marvel Cinematic Universe
The relationship between Clint and Natasha is complicated, but these two would do pretty much anything for each other. Clint spared Nat’s life for reasons Nat isn’t even sure of — he saw something good in her, that’s for sure. Nat’s the only one who knows about Clint’s secret family, and he’s naming a kid after her. Sure, they’re partners in SHIELD, but they’re bonded in a way that goes beyond best friendship.
Mako and Raleigh — Pacific Rim
The literal concept of Pacific Rim is pretty much the definition of parabatai. A person you’re so close to that you have a literal, neural connection. You can trust them to literally be inside your head. While a bunch of Jaeger pilots are related or married, Mako and Raleigh are strangers before the events of the movie. But they have a connection and a similarity that makes them drift compatible — and also definitely makes them parbatai.
Willow and Xander — Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Willow and Xander are childhood best friends and sure, at one point they maybe had a small mutual romantic thing going on. But their love is way stronger and more important than just romantic love. Xander’s love for Willow literally saves the world when Willow goes all magic-addict evil at the end of Season 6. These two never doubt or ditch each other. That’s true parabataiship.
Bill and Ted — Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure
Listen, a friend who’s willing to go interdimensional time traveling with you so you don’t fail a history paper and go to military school is a true parabatai. No contest.
Can you think of any other would-be parabatai? Let me know in the comments!