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A manifesto on this crazy pairing and why it works. At the end are lotsa lotsa pictures of the two of them. :)

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"He loves her as much as he can. He loves her in his way." -Paul Dini

"Expressing emotion in any way that's real and meaningful is alien to the Joker, but he's learning those parts of himself, however unconsciously, through Harley." -Mark Hamill

"Everyone else sees the Joker laugh; only Harley has ever seen him cry." - Arleen Sorkin


DOES THE JOKER LOVE HARLEY QUINN?

Introduction:

To fully understand the twistedness of the relationship between Joker and Harley, one has to have some familiarity with The Joker. I've provided an outline of Joker on this page along with some links to other pages with great information. But chances are, if you're here you already know what you need to. It might help though, for me to quote the infamous line the villain Trickster uttered in Underworld Unleashed: "When super-villains want to scare each other, they tell Joker stories."

Whilst there are a few Harleyites out there who like to see Harley independent of Joker (and furthermore, laying the smackdown on him) for most fans, the two are intertwined. The pairing is as much part of the reason we love Harley as Harley herself and we don't want to see it ever broken up.

There is no denying the relationship is a highly abusive one on both a psychological and physical level for Harley. The Joker uses her, manipulates her, takes delight in torturing her in various subtle ways, gleefully sacrifices her when it suits him and attempts to kill her when the whim takes him. Harley is deranged and dangerously infatuated with Joker, to the point her entire life - which was an outwardly successful one - was willingly given up for the chance to be by his side.

It has been said countless times that The Joker loves no one but himself, that he is without compassion and kindness, mercy or affection. This has often provided arguement for Harley nay-sayers claiming Harley is an unrealistic character and should not have survived Joker this long.  However, after a sixty-eight year career in which Joker's atrocities have been pushed to their absolute zenith, his past explored in multitudes of way and the Clown Prince has undergone numerous transformations, Harley also provides a new and disturbing element to The Joker's character.
Put simply, Harley inspires the question: IS Joker capable of love?

For many the answer is simple and obvious:
NO.

Many believe it is not love, nor any tender emotion, that has kept Harley alive in Joker's presence this long. Rather, it is the amusement he takes in torturing her and the usefulness she provides him as an utterly devoted and loyal lackey.  After all, it is not money or riches, fame or glory that inspires Harley to stay by Joker's side; but love. Pure and simple. She is free, easy labour.

However, I do not believe it is as simple as that, just as The Joker is not at all simple.

Joker's relationship with Harley is a highly complex one that occurs on multiple levels. We can only speculate what Joker's motivations were when he decided to mess with Harley's head, but Joker is renowned for terrorising his doctors on a psychological level. I theorise Joker was passing time in Arkham his usual way, amusing himself by twisting the mind of a naive and inexperienced young woman who thought she was cleverer than he was. That he wanted the fun of breaking her.
However, with Harley, Joker, for once in his life, got more than he bargained for. The unexpected results of his game were that Harley became infatuated with him.
Joker, being an opportunist, would've immediately pegged to the usefulness of this and begun exploiting it.

But it must also have been something of a shock to him, having someone respond to him with that level of devotion and passion for perhaps the first time in his life as The Joker. While other villains have expressed admiration of Joker, no one has quite so fearlessly loved him as she does.  The Joker is used to being feared and revered and relishes this. He knows it is because he is a deranged sociopath. So to be adored in a romantic way – both for what he is and because of what Harley believes she sees beneath the deranged sociopath - must be an entirely new experience.
What possible effect could it have on him?


Continued...
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IMAGES
Some lovely images of Joker and Harley together. Click to see the full-size image.

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Harley's Haven is dedicated to the memory of Heath Ledger, an actor who devoted much to the role of The Joker.