Presenting OTP Tuesday! Each Tuesday I will introduce you to a new One True Pairing! Tune in each week to find out which fictional couple you need to agonize/squee over next. This week’s OTP is Meg/Calvin!
Who Are Meg/Calvin?
Meg/Calvin comes to you straight out of the newest big budget Disney film, A Wrinkle in Time. Based off a novel with the same name by Madeline L’Engle, A Wrinkle in Time tells the story of Meg Murry, who must go on a fantastical adventure across space and time to rescue her father.
A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite books growing up, and a large portion of that comes down to its hero. Meg Murry is a fantastic young adult protagonist. She came before the recent explosion in young adult fiction, so she tends to avoid many of the pitfalls of the genre — or maybe L’Engle just wrote her better.
To be sure, Meg has a lot in common with many other female YA heroines. She’s awkward and unsociable. She despairs over her looks, which are plain and uninteresting. She struggles to make friends, her closest friend being her precocious and prodigious younger brother, Charles Wallace.
But Meg has reasons for being this way; it’s not “just who she is.” She’s sullen and unhappy because her father disappeared some years ago. She gets mocked at school for it, and her behavior is a direct result of her surroundings.
What makes Meg truly a great protagonist is that she overcomes these things through direct action. Meg goes off with Charles Wallace, a boy from her school named Calvin, and three mysterious women to rescue her father. She learns to “be a warrior” for good and light.
And over the course of the movie, Meg learns to value and love herself. She is a warrior. She is interesting and smart and good. The climactic scene involves Meg rescuing Charles Wallace, who has been taken over by the IT, a force of evil. She realizes that love is the answer — Charles Wallace’s love for her. And if he can love her, then surely she is worthy of being loved.
If Meg is the protagonist of her own story, then Calvin is the best supporting character I’ve seen. Calvin would seem to be the antithesis of Meg. He is popular, does well in school, and plays sports. However, there is more to him that a first glance would imply. Calvin’s home life is unfulfilling, and he dreams of doing more.
Calvin can be more because he already is. He’s some sort of psychic, feeling compulsions to do certain things — like be there for Meg when it’s time to rescue her father. He is also gifted with words and diplomacy, which hot-headed Meg struggles with.
While Meg is initially hesitant about going with the mysterious women, Calvin is all for it. He knows it’s where he needs to be, and that he can do great things to help. He sees magic in their adventures and their surroundings — and in his companions. Charles Wallace is also a psychic, and it’s obvious why Calvin would admire him.
Less obvious — at least to Meg — is why Calvin would admire her. But admire her he does. Calvin isn’t even subtle about his crush on Meg — weird, lonely, outcast Meg. He tells her how extraordinary she is, compliments facets of her appearance she’s most insecure about, and places faith in her abilities.
While it’s Charles Wallace’s love for Meg that shows her she truly is worthy of love, Calvin’s admiration helps things along. Believing that she can be loved by someone not family definitely helps. In the end, they are able to save the day by working together and supporting each other. Who knows what else they can do together?
Why is Meg/Calvin OTP?
I reread A Wrinkle in Time for the first time in years in anticipation of seeing the new movie, and Meg/Calvin jumps off the page. It’s blatant, but not overbearing. There’s no other option; they just are OTP.
Partial Wish Fulfillment
Some of my love for Meg/Calvin could be boiled down to wish fulfillment. I identify strongly with Meg Murry. She is me as a preteen, trying to figure out who I am and where I fit in. Like Meg, I was awkward and insecure. I didn’t have great looks, and I wasn’t terribly popular. I was smart but didn’t fully apply myself, like Meg. She’s familiar.
What is not familiar is having a popular, athletic boy interested in that awkward girl. In that sense, Meg/Calvin really is wish fulfillment. If 12 year old me had had someone like Calvin interested in me, I would have been over the moon. Calvin’s not just popular and athletic, he’s sweet, smart, and highly complementary. That would have made my life.
But to boil it down solely to wish fulfillment is unfair to the story — and especially unfair to Calvin. That point of view sees Calvin solely as an object to be won, a prize for enduring a painful and awkward childhood. Calvin is so much more.
The book does, perhaps, a better job of this. In the book, Calvin is integral to the story. He nearly frees Charles Wallace before Meg even has a chance. He uses his strengths — words — to do great things. His strengths align with Meg’s weaknesses, too. So they bolster each other, filling in the gaps to make a perfect team.
Part of me just loves the idea of the awkward girl getting her happy ever after with a good guy. But a larger part of me, the writer part, appreciates how stylistically they balance each other. They make each other stronger, and that’s what a real relationship should do.
Just Too Damn Cute
I also love Meg/Calvin, though, because it is just too. damn. cute. The book is very overt in its shipping. Right from the start, Calvin is obvious in his admiration. Even before their adventures, he tells her that she has “dream-boat eyes.” He tells her that she’s “the nicest thing that’s happened to [him] in a long time.” His crush only grows as they explore the universe together.
The movie has to work a bit harder to convey things since it doesn’t have a narrator helpfully supplying Calvin’s thoughts. But it in no way slacks off. Rather than complimenting her eyes, Calvin compliments Meg’s hair. Given that Meg has natural hair, this is a great compliment. The first time he tells her, she brushes it off, but she later accepts it as it is: a selflessly given gift.
Another great scene comes after Calvin has dinner at Meg’s house. They are in her backyard, just walking and talking when Meg notices something. Her neighbor, Veronica, can see them from her window. Veronica is cruel and taunts Meg relentlessly, making her school life difficult.
Meg quickly begins to hide and advises Calvin to hide too. She doesn’t want him to suffer socially for being seen with her. Calvin sees things differently. There is no reason for him to hide because he is not ashamed to be seen with Meg.
By the end of the movie, these two have been through so much together. Now that Meg is coming to terms with who she is, she has an easier time accepting Calvin’s admiration. The movie ends with him asking to call her later… hinting towards an even better future.
What’s Next for Meg/Calvin?
Well, that’s a more complex question than usual. It depends on what point of view you take, and what may or may not happen in the future. A Wrinkle in Time is the first book in a quintet. Should Disney choose to adopt more of the books, we’ll definitely see more of Meg/Calvin in a sequel.
Given that A Wrinkle in Time is not receiving the best feedback, it’s not clear if Disney will make a sequel. In its first weekend, it only made $33 million domestically — a big haul, but significantly less than its budget. Also consider that Black Panther, which has been out for several weeks now, made more this last weekend.
I’d love to see a sequel made. Personally, I enjoyed the movie. But the movie industry is a slave to box office results, so we’ll have to wait and see. In the meantime, if you want more Meg/Calvin, check out the other books from Madeline L’Engle. I promise you’ll like what you see.
Is Meg/Calvin Canon?
Yes! The movie leaves things a teeny bit ambiguous. Calvin’s crush was obvious but unstated. The movie ends with a promise of future things… but they’re still future. Nothing overtly happens in the movie to confirm that they are a couple.
In the book, however, things are clearer. Calvin straight-up kisses Meg in the book. In later books, they become a couple and even get married. Another series after the Time Quintet features the stories of Meg and Calvin’s seven children.
So if you need more Meg/Calvin, no worries! Madeline L’Engle covered that decades ago. You have tons of material to fuel the Meg/Calvin love — the best thing a shipper can ever enjoy.