"He felt such shame at his fits and his past, but I could not possibly imagine loving him more. Except I did. Every day." - Whyborne
Percival Endicott Whyborne and Griffin Flaherty are from Jordan L. Hawk's Whyborne and Griffin series of novels which take place in the Victorian era. The day that Detective Flaherty walked into the Ladysmith Museum and approached Philologist Whyborne for his assistance on a case utterly changed the course of both of their lives and led them down a path of magic, danger, and love. Watching the growth of the characters and their relationship over the course of the series has been so fulfilling. Whyborne, the introverted scholar completely lacking in self confidence has grown into an assured sorcerer, while still retaining his unique personality (and dislike of social interactions). And Griffin, so scarred from his ordeal in the asylum, slowly learned to find the love he needed through his partner, friends, and ultimately himself, where his parents could not. And together, I've loved watching their relationship go from awkwardly adorable to completely devoted and in love, to marriage (while all along still being awkwardly adorable).
One thing I found especially meaningful about these two characters was how they were both individually overcome with feelings of not being good enough for the other, or that they were holding the other back from something. Since the books were told in first person view (usually Whyborne and occasionally Griffin), it was clear to the reader just how skewed their interpretations of events could be. Sometimes as a reader you just wanted to shake one (or both) of them and show them just how much they were absolutely loved and that they were also very much worth that love. If they could see what was going on in each other's mind there would be no doubt of that. One review of the series I read online said that these two men love each other so much that it hurts, and I fully agree with that assessment.
These are two characters whose love and devotion for one another changed each others lives for the better. With Griffin's reluctant tolerance of Whyborne's foray into magic turning into unerring support, Whyborne was able to find himself, his true nature, and test his limits which extended further then he ever thought possible. And with Whyborne's love, patience, and understanding, Griffin was able to work on healing the past and move towards a better future for himself. Together, Whyborne's world expanded beyond the walls he had inadvertently put up to protect himself, and Griffin found the home and family he had longed for his entire life. It is wonderful to read a long running series where the couple is so in love and is able to overcome any hardships by standing together as equal partners. I really love these characters and still get excited whenever a mention of their wedding rings is made or Griffin calls his Ival 'my dear'.
Book 1 (Widdershins)
Griffin: "I love you, Ival. When I saw you running toward that portal... God, I've never been so frightened in my life."
Whyborne: "When I thought... when I thought I was going to die... the only thing I could feel, besides fear, was regret that we hadn't had enough time."
Griffin: "Ah, there you are, Whyborne!"
Whyborne: "Griffin! I wasn't expecting you. Was I? We weren't meant to have lunch?"
Griffin: "No, my dear. Lunch passed by several hours ago. I take it you forgot to eat?"
Whyborne: [they kiss] "I lost track of time. Why are you here? That is, I don't mean to imply I'm not always glad to see you. I am. Glad to see you."
Griffin: "And I am always pleased to see you, Ival."
Griffin: [thinking] 'He had nothing to prove to me, after all, and I had everything to prove to him. Perhaps... I couldn't imagine we had a chance, and yet I wanted to believe it, more than I'd ever wanted to believe anything in my life.'
Book 3 (Stormhaven)
Griffin: "Say you won't leave me. I'm broken and scarred and selfish, but I swear, you're the most important thing in the world to me."
Whyborne: "I'm not leaving you. I'm yours, for as long as you want me."
Griffin: "What if I want you forever? I... forgive me, I shouldn't have..."
Griffin: "Say it again."
Book 6 (Hoarfrost)
Whyborne: [thinking] 'I wished I had the words for what he meant to me, but nothing ever seemed adequate. He'd changed my life, changed me, in ways so profound I couldn't begin to describe them.' "You are everything to me. Everything."
Book 8 (Fallow)
Whyborne: "I'm sorry. This entire situation is difficult for you. If there's anything I can do..."
Griffin: "There isn't. Other than what you're already doing. I'm so glad you're here. I can't imagine coming back to Fallow and not having you to rely on."
Whyborne: "Of course I'm here, my darling." [kisses Griffin] "My husband."