Columns > Published on May 3rd, 2023

The Most Dynamic Siblings in Literature

When Wednesday Addams declared that her brother was only hers to torment, older siblings the world over nodded in understanding. Even when we actually like them, no one can crawl under your skin quite like a brother or sister. But they can also be the best friend you never knew you needed. And nothing makes for better fiction than a character who pushes the protagonist in both good and bad ways. We wanted to highlight the full range of siblings, from rivalry to love. Here are the most dynamic siblings in literature, ranked best to worst.


The Everdeen sisters – "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

If your younger sibling was chosen as tribute, would you honestly volunteer to take their place and fight to the death? You can tell us the truth. Katniss not only volunteered in Prim’s place, but then dismantled an entire corrupt regime to keep her sister safe. That kind of devotion goes above and beyond any sibling on this list, and kind of makes us wonder why our siblings can barely manage to buy us socks for Christmas.

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The Baudelaires – A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny put the team in siblings. That fell apart, but the point still stands. Given the tragic death of their parents and the parade of dysfunction that follows, the siblings rely on each other to stay safe and ahead of any nefarious machinations plotting their demise. They encourage their strengths and offset their weaknesses, making them a formidable trio as they face schemes, monsters, and dubious family members.

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Valentine and Ender Wiggin – "Ender’s Game" by Orson Scott Card

Even though Ender and Valentine are separated by millions of miles, they still work to protect each other. Ender fights the Buggers, relentlessly battling the alien species on the front lines, while Valentine works to protect Ender on Earth, including from their older brother. Valentine offers Ender unconditional love, always believing that his compassion separates him from everyone else, and it’s her love that saves Ender in many ways throughout the series.

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The Bennet sisters – "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen

For the most part, the Bennet’s are a family of sisters who fight for one other. They’re loyal, steadfast, and genuinely care about each other's happiness. Even Lydia, who is young, reckless, and impetuous, can be forgiven as a result of poor parenting. In fact, it’s her sisters who fix her ill-advised marriage, offer her places to live, and generally look out for her well-being.

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The March sisters – "Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott

Beth, Jo, Amy, and Meg are all wildly different women. But no matter how different the March sisters are, that doesn’t stop them from banding together whenever necessary. What we love most is how they show that you don’t have to be similar in temperament or personality to have an unbreakable bond with your siblings. Each sister is wholly themselves, and often this leads to sometimes humongous conflicts between them. But as they grow, they learn to appreciate each other, forming deeper bonds that bring them together.

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The Pevensie Siblings – "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis

While the Pevensie siblings come together in the end, it’s a rough road for this bunch. First, they don’t believe Lucy when she tells them of her fantastical adventures. And then when they finally do, Edmund betrays them for Turkish Delight. Really? Turkish Delight? The siblings forgive him, but ultimately, even sibling love can’t keep them together. Sadly, though the Pevensie siblings loved each other, they did what many siblings do in real life: grew apart. 

Get The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe at Bookshop or Amazon

 

Eloise, Paul, and Alice – "The People We Hate at the Wedding" by Grant Grinder

Blended families are tricky. Especially when one sibling has a trust fund and the other two don’t. Paul and Alice are largely unhappy with their lives and maybe it’s unfair that they take it out of their stepsister, Eloise. But the larger issue is how everyone refuses to simply open the lines of communicate and talk. They all carry a lot of assumptions, resentments, and buried emotions driving them all to make questionable decisions that only escalate the longer they spend time together.

Get The People We Hate at the Wedding at Bookshop or Amazon

 

Korede and Ayoola – "My Sister, The Serial Killer" by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Korede and Ayoola are complicated. On the one hand, one is a serial killer and the other enables said killing. On the other, these sisters survived brutal child abuse and are subject to the rather blatant sexism they’re forced to endure. The main issue isn’t—and we can’t believe we’re saying this—the killing. It’s that it’s unclear that the men actually deserve it. And when one goes after the only man the other is interested in, well, that’s not exactly the stuff sisterly bonds are made of. 

Get My Sister, The Serial Killer at Bookshop or Amazon

 

Boromir and Faramir – The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

As far as siblings go, there are definitely worse. But Boromir and Faramir are lower on this list more because while they’re decent brothers to each other, they share the same fatal flaw—the need to please their father. A healthy relationship would see one or both of the brothers trying to do what’s best for the other and themselves. But they’re both overly focused on gaining approval instead of bettering their lives.

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Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield – Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal

Complete opposites in everything but appearances, Jessica and Elizabeth still manage to be the absolute worst in very different ways. Sure, their antics are over-the-top soap opera worthy, which makes them entertaining. But does that make them good people? Jessica’s favorite sport is betraying her sister, gossiping, and being the center of attention. And while Elizabeth is more down-to-earth and studious, her inability to set appropriate boundaries or stand up for herself doesn’t exactly make her a solid role model either.

Get Sweet Valley High #1 at Amazon

 

The Lannister’s – "A Game of Thrones" by George R.R. Martin

There’s no arguing Jamie and Cersei Lannister deserve the crown for worst siblings. Not only do they need a ton of therapy and a million lessons on boundaries, even their relationship with Tyrion leaves something to be desired. They’re conniving, back-stabbing, selfish people who care more about their title and power than they do other people. 

Get A Game of Thrones at Bookshop or Amazon

 

Whether they're the best or the worst, who are your favorite literary siblings to read about?

About the author

Jena Brown grew up playing make-believe in the Nevada desert, where her love for skeletons and harsh landscapes solidified. A freelance writer, she currently contributes to Kwik Learning, Truity, The Portalist, Insider, and The Nerd Daily. In addition to writing, Jena blogs at www.jenabrownwrites.com and is active on bookstagram as @jenabrownwrites. When she isn’t imagining deadly worlds, she and her husband are being bossed around the Las Vegas desert by their two chihuahuas.

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