Oh brother! (and sister).

Image credit: General Miss Chief wallpaper 

I’ve just realised that my two signature wallpaper designs feature sibling relationships.

I shouldn’t be surprised because I made the first wallpaper for my twin sons and I was brought up with one sister but there you are. 

Hadn’t properly noticed until I was looking for a present for my sister’s birthday this week and vaguely wondering if I could get away with a couple of rolls of General Miss Chief (I really can’t).

But it started me thinking about how brothers and sisters get on and how we view them in popular culture. 

The first thing I noticed was that brothers get a better press than sisters. 

After all we talk fondly of ‘brotherly love’, ‘band of brothers’ and ‘fraternal bonds’ but what have sisters got? Americans talk about ‘sororities’ but it doesn’t have quite the same feeling in the popular culture, does it? Plus it’s really difficult to pronounce.  

Then I had a look round at siblings in popular culture and the first ones that came to mind were all slightly horrifying. Think about the fierce rivalries, even murderous tendencies of everyone from Loki and Thor in Avengers to Scar and Mufasa in The Lion King.

Disney The lion King Mufasa & Scar

Image credit: Disney's The Lion King

To Jamie, Cersei and Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones.

They’re all pretty grim. 

And at first glance the real world doesn’t seem to promise much better:  think of Anne and Mary Boleyn, Ed and David Milliband or, heaven forfend,  Liam and Noel Gallagher. 

Are siblings doomed to be in perpetual conflict and competition?

How nice it was to hear happier tidings this week about high-powered brothers. Prince William is said to have told his younger brother, when he was serving in Afghanistan that their mother Diana, Princess of Wales, would have been proud of him.

He also said that being Harry’s best man was ‘sweet revenge’ but the two princes have always seemed only playfully competitive – less Gallagher brothers, more Coen Brothers.

Then there’s Venus and Serena Williams: in the cutthroat world of international sport you’ll see these two sisters hugging, not slugging when one beats the other on court.

And who could forget Alistair Brownlee abandoning his chance of winning the World Triathalon in Mexico to help his stricken brother Jonny over the line?

Alistair Brownlee gives up gold medal for brother

Image credit: The Guardian

Sibling relationships are likely to be the longest of our lives.

Longer than marriages or even parental ones -  so what a joy if we can get on. We can share memories, laughs and the burdens of our parents. I remember laughing will my sister til I thought I’d burst after run-ins with an angry or nagging mum or dad.

Brothers and sisters are early collaborators, co-conspirators, role-models, playmates, sources of jealousy and causes of pride.  No-one can torment you so effectively or protect you so fiercely.

There’s even research that says a sibling helps you live longer – even if you hardly ever see them.

So I’m very glad my designs celebrate this under-applauded relationship.

Of course my sister and I fall out on a regular basis because we’re very different and we often drive each other crazy. But I know that if push came to shove I could turn up on her doorstep in a crisis and not have to explain or pay. 

At least not until she needed something back!

Victoria x

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