Great Fictional Siblings, From the Lannisters to "The Shining" Twins
Sibling relationships can be unspeakably complex, because anything that starts with competing for attention (or room in the womb) is bound to have some rough patches. But real-life sibs have nothing on imagined ones. In honor of National Sibling Day on April 10, we ranked some of the most memorable fictional brothers and sisters in five categories: rivalry, sharing, sexual tension, believability, and banter. And when a list is so good that Luke and Leia don’t make the cut, you know you’ve struck gold. – Allison Shoemaker
Spoilers within. Get the ending of The Godfather ruined for you at your own risk.
The Lannisters – George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire/HBO’s Game of Thrones
Jaime Lannister once pushed a small boy out of a window, all because that boy caught him in flagrante delicto…with his twin-sister, Cersei. It’s a point worth remembering, as most fans nevertheless wind up on Team Jaime. Perhaps that’s because this seemingly heartless man genuinely loves both his twin and their little brother, Tyrion. There’s no love lost between Cersei and Tyrion, but they do manage to squeeze in attempted murder, unwanted marriage plots, and epic wine drinking. Yet the trio never finds time for the one activity that matters: talking about how they were all totally messed up by their terrible, terrible dad.
Rivalry: 9 | Sharing: 2 | Sexual Tension: 10 | Believability: 1 (Dinklage's Tyrion is 1000% more handsome than the book character, but who’s complaining?) | Banter: 8 for Jamie and Cersei; 1,567 for Tyrion and anybody. – AS
The Grady Sisters – Stephen King’s The Shining (film and novel)
Twins in the film, mere sisters in the book—doomed in death to roam the Overlook Hotel’s halls, either way. United by their desire for a satisfying playdate, the stone-faced sisters enjoy working together to gain Jack’s attention. They certainly endured enough (literal) back-stabbing in life to put any destructive tendencies behind them.
Rivalry: 0 | Sharing: 10 | Sexual Tension: 0 | Believability: 10 (for ghosts) | Banter: 3 between each other, 0 with Jack, 15 with Twitter (@shining_twins). – Catherine Bullard
Joe and Franky Roberts – Bruce Springsteen’s “Highway Patrolman”
There are certainly more famous siblings depicted in popular music (Kanye West’s Jay-Z metaphor “Big Brother” comes to mind), but The Boss’s tale of two New Jersey brothers is the most tragic. NJ State Trooper Joe has to constantly protect troublemaker Franky. He comes to a crossroads, however, when Franky kills another man in a bar fight. Rather than arrest him, Joe hops in his squad car and chases him all the way to Canada. Deep down, Joe knows he should have sent Franky to jail. But a man who turns his back on his family? Well, he just ain’t no good.
Rivalry: 9 | Sharing: 7 | Sexual Tension: 1. Actually, sexual rivalry would be more accurate. The Roberts brothers take turns dancing with a girl named Maria, who Joe ends up marrying. | Believability: 10 | Banter: 6 | Bonus points: 200 for Joe keeping Franky out of the slammer. – Dan Caffrey
The Jacksons – NBC’s/ABC’s Diff’rent Strokes
Arnold and Willis were whisked from the streets of Harlem to the upper crust of Park Avenue, where they relied on Willis’s pragmatism and Arnold’s signature sass to get them out of jams. Though Mr. Drummond was a loving caretaker, and adopted siblings played by Dana Plato and Danny Cooksey provided companionship, Arnold and Willis were ultimately a unit unto themselves, brothers bound by a fierce sense of loyalty and an adorable fondness for footie pajamas (at least in the early seasons).
Rivalry: 5 | Sharing: 8 | Sexual Tension: 2 (she was their adopted sister!) | Believability: 6 | Banter: 5 for Willis, 10 for Arnold | Bonus points: -100 for letting Sam get kidnapped. Man, this show was dark. – Randall Colburn
Big Pete and Little Pete Wrigley – Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Pete & Pete
The pride of Wellsville, USA, the Wrigley brothers share a name, a hair color, and a fondness for the metal plate in their mom’s head. They also share one more thing: an epic BFF-ship. Big Pete’s rational streak and Little Pete’s “I’m going to sell our house because you hung out with a girl instead of me” tendencies sometimes put them at odds, but even when they’re sparring, they’ve got each other’s ginger backs.
Rivalry: 6 | Sharing: 9 | Sexual Tension: 5 (for Petunia, and Petunia only) | Believability: 10. Darn good casting. | Banter: 8 | Bonus points: 9, for being on the weirdest kids’ show ever. – AS
The Corleones – Mario Puzo’s The Godfather (films and novel)
A complex mix of rushing to one another’s aid and, well, fratricide make the biological Corleone siblings (sorry, Tom Hagen) tough to grade. On one hand, Fredo’s rivalry with too-cool Michael drives Vito’s second oldest to conspire against his own family. On the other, Sonny drops everything to go kick the crap out of Connie’s abusive husband—and “what says love like murder?”
Rivalry: 10 | Sharing: 2 | Sexual Tension: 0 | Believability: 7 | Banter: 10 for Sonny, 7 for Part II’s Connie, 5 for Michael, -15 for mewling Fredo | Bonus points: -10 for staggering lack of forethought – CB
Sue and Johnny Storm – Marvel Comics’ The Fantastic Four (books, films, and cartoons)
You’d be hard-pressed to find two siblings—comic book or otherwise—who have been through as much as Sue and Johnny Storm, AKA The Invisible Woman and The Human Torch. But through all of The Fantastic Four’s deaths, resurrections, and alien invasions, the even-tempered Sue’s always stuck up for her hotheaded little brother. In fact, she’s the one that convinced her often stuffy husband, Dr. Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic), to let Johnny join the team. Still, his brashness leads to a considerable amount of trouble for the team, most notably when he starts dating a woman online who turns out to be the daughter of F4 nemesis The Wizard.
Rivalry: 7 | Sharing: 1,000 (they’ve swapped powers several times) | Sexual Tension: 4 (Sue often disapproves of Johnny’s flings) | Believability: -5 | Banter: 8 | Bonus points: 400 for being the only true superheroes on this list. – DC
Edgar and Sabin Figaro – Super Nintendo’s Final Fantasy VI
Edgar is a ponytailed lothario. Sabin is a hunk in parachute pants. Together, they are the rightful heirs to the desert kingdom of Figaro. But since both desire a life outside the castle’s stone walls, the twins toss a coin to determine who must take the throne and who can pursue a “free life” in the great wide open. Sabin wins, and the brothers grow estranged; reconciliation comes not with their united goal of overthrowing the Gestahlian Empire, but in the revelation that Edgar rigged the coin toss so Sabin would win. That’s love.
Rivalry: 7 | Sharing: 2 | Sexual Tension: 4 | Believability: 2 (those pants?) | Banter: 8 for Edgar, 1 for Sabin, the meathead | Bonus points: 3 for being the blondest Final Fantasy characters ever. – RC
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Text by Allison Shoemaker, Catherine Bullard, Dan Caffrey, and Randall Colburn. Photo courtesy of HBO.