At the end of William Shakespeare’s Twelth Night, Antonio could hardly disguise his astonishment when he finally recognized the resemblance between fraternal twins Sebastian and Viola, exclaiming “An apple, cleft in two, is not more twin / Than these two creatures.”
Twins create drama. Writers often employ the complication associated with identical twins as a device to add mystery because the entanglement revolving around two genetically identical individuals can act as the foundation of an intriguing plot. Sometimes, they don’t even have to say anything because their mere presence and shocking resemblance can stimulate enough fear and suspense in an intense situation. Here is a list of literary twins picked to show just how much they can add to the dynamics of a good story.
Beware: spoilers ahead.
7. George and Fred Weasley from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
They go last on the list because who can possibly say that they’re strange? Not only are they raised within the most loving household, they also have a bunch of great friends who’d be ready to step in if dark magic lurks too closely. The resemblance between George and Fred was never annoying, only humorous, especially during Hogwarts’ darkest hours. These cheeky boys can make us both laugh AND cry uncontrollably–now that’s talent!
6. Tweedledum and Tweedledee from Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There by Lewis Caroll
During Alice’s adventure, she stumbles upon two identical looking men who refuse to offer advice on exiting this mythical kingdom. In addition to reciting poetry, they even force Alice to question her own existence. Imagine yourself in Alice’s shoes, when you’re desperately trying to find an escape to a land of unfamiliarity, the last thing you need is a pair identical twins that stand in your way.
5. Sam and Eric from Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Always in a group and always behaving well, Sam and Eric are the most civilized pair of twins in literature. Before you wonder why they wound up on this list, know that their constant submission to group mentalities can only saddle them collective identities, thus leaving them deprived of individual spirits. Because of this, they will always look up to the next leader and they will always be willing to play by the rules of whoever is in charge. With incredibly adaptive personalities, the pair of them can happily reside in any civilization as long as it guarantees survival.
4. Annie James and Hallie Parker from The Parent Trap, as adapted from Erich Kästner’s German novel Lottie and Lisa
When Hallie and Annie coincidentally meet each other in a summer camp, no one expected a prank war to follow. To punish them for their misbehavior, they are sent to the ‘Isolation Cabin’. But the punishment of the ‘Isolation Cabin’ turns out to be a blessing in disguise when the girls discover the stunning truth behind their uncanny resemblance. Much twin hijinks follow, all in pursuit of reuniting a family too long estranged.
3. The Grady Daughters from The Shining by Stephen King
Although the Grady daughters were merely sisters in the book, Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation included identical twins Lisa and Louise Burns. Although this pair didn’t actually cause much trouble besides standing still and chanting “come and play with us, Danny, forever, and ever, and ever,” we could not shake away the horrific image of their dead bodies that immediately followed. Unfortunately, their cameo in The Shining had unforeseen consequences that lasted for years to come. According to the Daily Mail, the Burns twins claim that they were shunned by several acting schools because they were previously seen in a horror movie.
2. Jane and Alec from The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
Regarded as the Volturi’s most powerful weapons, Jane and Alec are twins that you NEVER want to mess with. While Jane has the ability to induce excruciating pain in the target’s mind, Alec is capable of sensory deprivation. Although Jane looks authoritative and intimidating, Alec is more dangerous during battles since he can cut off all senses of multiple targets. Even in their human states during early childhood, the pair of them had already demonstrated such fascinating psychic abilities that the Volturi expressed interest. Before they were executed as witches and burned at stake, Aro arrived in time to interrupt and save them. Converted at the age of 12 or 13, they are the youngest yet most deadly guards at the Volturi.
1. Cersei and Jaime Lannister from A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
In addition to receiving first place for this list, they are also one of the most dysfunctional couples in literature. Different-sex twins are never any good in literary fictions, even worse when they have been granted politically powerful positions. Despite the cultural taboos of Westeros that strictly forbid incestuous relationships, the two have been copulating behind the King’s back for years. Remember when Jaime pushed Bran off a high window just for stumbling onto their romantic affair? “The things [he does] for love”–or so he says.
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