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A Boy and His X
aka: A Girl And Her X

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A heartwarming story told through the ages: Something unique enters a young man's (or woman's) life, and they form a bond that changes them forever, usually starting them down the path to adulthood.

What that something is, however, varies widely. From the classic "A Boy and His Dog", all the way to… well, keep reading, you'll see.

Be warned, however, that whatever X is can easily fall victim to Death by Newbery Medal, especially if it's of the huge and/or monstrous variety.

See also Interspecies Friendship. Compare Interspecies Romance and Magical Girlfriend, if relation with X is romantic and Attack Animal for less innocent partnerships.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • X-Men
    • The origin story of Maggot (a South-African mutant whose digestive system was two semi-autonomous slugs that could eat anything) was titled "A Boykie and His Dinges." Translated from the South-African slang the flashback was written in, that's "A Boy and His Things."
  • Parodied in a scene from The Badger. Norbert pets Lamont, his North American "Buffalo." The villain promptly comments, "Ain't that sweet? A Deranged Individual and His Bison." (Hey, at least he was biologically accurate.)
  • One Xenosaga 4-koma aptly sums up the series as "A Girl And Her Doll". Said "doll" is a combat android with the power of a fleet.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Trope Maker is probably Lassie Come Home, about a Yorkshire boy and the collie that won't be separated from him. Spawned five sequels, multiple reboots, multiple TV shows, cartoons, a manga...
  • The Transformers spin-off/prequel/reboot Bumblebee narrows down this trope, with the focus of the film being entirely on Charlie and her friendship with Bumblebee. The alien invasion/disaster movie aspect of the prior films being pretty much all but removed, and the robot war mostly being a factor for the backstory and the motivation of the badguys.
  • Pete's Dragon (1977) features the dragon rescuing Pete from his abusive guardians, who had bought him. The opening song features Pete and the dragon playfully declaring their love for each other.
  • A.X.L. is a film about a teen boy named Miles who finds a highly-advanced military-created Robot Dog in a junkyard. The two form an unbreakable bond, but his creators want him back.
  • Alpha (2018) is about a young hunter separated from his tribe taking care of a wolf separated from her pack. The two work together to bring down prey and help each other whenever one of them is injured. This can also count as the very first "A Boy And His X" in human and dog history.
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    Literature 
  • The Last Dragon Chronicles incorporates this trope a lot. Usually it's A Boy and His Dragon although A Girl and Her Dragon pops up almost as frequently (if not more). David gets many a dragon sidekick as the series progresses: G'reth, Golly, and even Sharing a Body with Grockle. But Gadzooks definitely takes home the medal. Lucy has Gwendolen and Zanna has Gretel.
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy has one in Ptolemy and Bartimaeus, they'd have died for each other... one did. Then there's Nathaniel and Bartimaeus that comes after Ptolemy dies (way after, 2000 years plus), though they may not be an example as they both loath each other until the end and continuously argue (hilariously) throughout the whole three books.
  • The Temeraire series: A Boy and His Dragon. Or, possibly, A Dragon and His British Naval Officer. While not guiding Laurence into manhood, Temeraire does mark a significant shift both in his life and understanding of the world. The series also has several other variants on the trope, such as An Action Girl and Her Dragon, An Action Mom and Her Dragon, A Dragon and Her Conqueror of Continental Europe, A Dragon and His Overweight Middle-Aged Captain; etc.
  • Interestingly played with in The Never Ending Story, where a Boy and His Horse relationship is early driven to a moving end... only to be replaced with a better partner, when The Hero finds a much more interesting companion, turning the trope into A Boy And His Dragon (and Dragon Rider, incidentally).
  • The Anthology Tales from Jabba's Palace has a story called "A Boy And His Monster" focusing on Jabba's Rancor Handler Malakili and his Relationship the abused Rancor. Fortunately for him the book gives him a happy ending, despite the death of his best friend, by having him opening a successful restaurant in Mos Eisley after Jabba's death.
  • The Harlan Ellison story A Boy and His Dog twists this trope: The boy is a serial rapist and the dog helps him find victims. The boy really does seem to love him, and finds his dog… food.
  • One of the books in C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia inverts the trope in its title, The Horse and His Boy. The book sometimes plays the trope straight and sometimes inverts it, as the boy is not always in charge, and is less experienced in the ways of the world than the former warhorse. The inversion is also discussed at one point, when someone tells the boy's traveling companion that it might be more accurate to say that she belonged to her horse.
  • In an inversion similar to that in The Horse and His Boy, in Fredric R. Stewart's Cerberon, the eponymous unicorn has been George's best friend his entire life. The novel opens with George clearly in command, but by the end it's Cerberon who is in charge. In a Shout-Out to C. S. Lewis, Cerberon's mother is named Jewel, after the unicorn in The Last Battle.note 
  • In one of Robert Rankin's Brentford stories Omally (always spelled without the apostrophe, for some reason) refuses to die without his faithful Marchant. Pooley comments, "A boy and his bike! I feel sick!"
  • Heralds of Valdemar: While bond-animals of various sorts are common throughout the series, the one that fulfills the trope most strongly is the Companions. These are magical horses (that are later revealed to be spirit-guardians given mortal form) who seek out and bond with children who would make suitable Heralds. This moment of bonding marks the start of their journey towards maturity, and the bond is so strong that the death of either Herald or Companion almost invariably leads to the death of the other.
  • Humanx Commonwealth: Flinx is an empathic, genetically altered mutant who, in his early life, forms a psychic bond with an Alaspinian miniature dragon (minidrag for short) named Pip. The species naturally forms such bonds in the wild, and is rarely known to do so with humans. However, due to Flinx's unique nature, Pip acts as an amplifier and focus for his powers in addition to being a fierce protector.
  • Dragonriders of Pern: Dragons Impress at hatching, and the ritual is a rite of passage for Pernese youth. This forms a lifetime bond that marks the beginning of a youngster's training as a dragonrider and their growth into maturity and their role as protectors of the planet.
  • I, Q a Star Trek: The Next Generation book written by John De Lancie, parodies this when Q snarkily refers to Picard and Data as "A boy and his computer".
  • A Dog's Purpose is this type of story from a dog's point-of-view. It follows a dog being reincarnated several times and its life with humans. To emphasise this, the protagonist often refers to his main owner Ethan as "the boy".
  • Isaac Asimov's "Robbie": Gloria has had her Robot Buddy "Robbie" for three years before the start of this story. Her mother, worried about what the neighbors have been saying, wants to get rid of the robot. Gloria is, of course, devastated by her loss. She never stops looking for where Robbie might have gone, checking every robot she comes across, and even checking factory robots.

    Music 
  • Puff the Magic Dragon, a tearjerker of a children's song, has the eponymous dragon as the boy Jackie Paper's best friend. Jackie is described in the song as Puff's life-long friend, who nevertheless abandoned him as he grew older.

    Video Games 
  • MapleStory:
    • Maha is Aran's magic, talking polearm. The former is Aran's only link to her past and the two have been through thick and thin, turning aside entire armies and bickering with each other over her missing memories.
    • The whole point of Evan's class is forming this relationship between a Farm Boy and his magic dragon, who acts as Evan's ticket towards the life of adventure he's always dreamed of.
    • Ilium is a member of the Flora who only had his magic robot, Ex, for a friend because of Illium's crippling shyness. Ex is later joined by Machina, which was made from a statue Ilium made for a festival and the two can combine to form the powerful fighting robot, Deus.

    Web Original 
  • The Nostalgia Chick has this complaint about Dragonheart and other dragon movies, seeing as how most girls loved dragons (or at least she did) and women never factor in the films.note 

    Western Animation 
  • Danny Phantom: Sam directly mentions this trope a couple of times.
    • First when Danny meets a ghost dog (the same episode where Valerie becomes an important reoccuring character) and is trying to tame him.
    Sam: A boy and his dog. Somehow, it's not supposed to be this weird.
    • The second is a "boy and his snow beast", presumably referring to Permafrost.
  • The Simpsons parodies this with Soccer Mummy, a film within the show in which a reanimated Egyptian mummy joins a little league soccer team and teaches a young boy to believe in himself.

Alternative Title(s): A Girl And Her X

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