The Joker and Harley Quinn

Known to be the epitome of eccentric couples in the comic book universe, the Joker and Harley Quinn pair have been receiving tremendous mixed reactions from the public throughout the years; especially since the recent release of the movie, Suicide Squad. The fundamental strings that tie their entire relationship together are based on twisted and delusional notions, which both parties allegedly find pleasure in. The mechanics of their romance revolves around constant psychological manipulation but at times, something which seems to be actual love?

“You see, madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push!”
The Joker, as his name suggests, appreciates a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious joke and would stop at absolutely nothing just to have the final laugh. As a sociopath possessing an immense thirst for warped gratification, the Joker is known to be maniacal and always seems to have something sadistically quirky up his sleeves. As Batman’s eternal arch nemesis, he poses arduous challenges for the Gotham knight; more than often managing to slip away from Batman’s grasp of justice. His unpredictable villainous acts never cease to make both comic book readers and movie enthusiasts gape in pure astonishment - a definite testament to his infamous reputation. But hey, he enjoys what his job as a villain and having fun is his ultimate motive - why so serious? 

"Face it, Harl, this stinks — yer a certified nutso wanted by the law in over a dozen states — and hopelessly in love with a murderous, psychopathic clown.”

Contrary to the common misconception that she is relentlessly mindless and dense, Harley Quinn is actually an extremely intelligent individual; possessing both a Masters and Doctorate in Medical Psychology. Dr. Harleen Quinzel or better known by her villain alias, Harley Quinn, was a psychiatrist in Arkham Asylum before falling into the the menacing clutches of the Clown Prince. Initially assigned to assist the Joker in ameliorating his mental health, she became increasingly obsessed and intrigued with the Joker’s behaviour; to the point where she finally goes insane and becomes his personal puppet. Drunk in love and enslaved by the Joker’s manipulative words, Harley is cajoled into releasing the him from the prison and eventually becomes his partner-in-crime. Deranged and deeply dependent on her Puddin’, Harley is in a constant pursuit of discovery; attempting to find her true identity. 

“Desire becomes surrender. Surrender becomes power.”

As a couple, the Joker and Harley are - beyond a shadow of doubt - compatible in terms of their psychological reasonings and they complement each other’s insanity with natural flair. However, does true love exist behind their psychotic exterior? Do they actually love each other or is their judgement for the meaning of love clouded by their demented minds? Well, let’s dive right into the facts. 

Yes, the Joker does genuinely love Harley but in his own twisted way. Without a doubt, he cares about her deeply but his acts of affection tend to contradict themselves at times; creating a rather oxymoronic effect. There are concrete evidences that the Joker has plotted to kill his girlfriend on more than one occasion; most notably, the rocket incident is a prime example of this subject.  Relating to this issue, the Joker literally traps Harley in a real rocket and he explains (through a video recording) that certain peculiar feelings have been washing over him recently and he assumes that these sensations are that of love. He even openly confesses that it is rather abnormal for him to have romantic sentiments for another person who also shares feelings for him and his persuasive voice instantaneously puts her at ease.

However, the glee she experiences is ephemeral as the Joker abruptly announces that he actually hates those feelings as they tend to distract him from his sadistic acts of villainy. Therefore, he concludes that the disappearance of Harley from his life will diminish his affection towards her; prompting him to kill her with his own accord. With this, the rocket sets off and launches Harley towards her impending doom; much to her utter shock. Fortunately, she manages to control the rocket’s functions and manoeuvres her way to safety. This event is truly an exemplification of how unhealthy their relationship is. 


It is common and widespread knowledge that the Clown Prince and the Arkham Knight are constantly at each other’s necks; both respectively striving for goals that exist opposite of the world’s entire spectrum - an ultimate battle between good and evil. However, this interaction has reached the point where it can be considered as obsession. The Joker is persistently fixated on posing problematic challenges for his nemesis while Batman is always formulating plans in order to foil his evil schemes; this concept is the driving force of their conflict. 

During one occasion, Harley, who was unsatisfied by the lack of attention she was receiving from her beloved once, decided to deprive the Joker of his prized possession by planning to murder the Caped Crusader. She manages to kidnap Batman and as she is about to serve him to the ravenous piranhas, she decides to call the Joker to boast about her achievement to him. Contrary to the response Harley was expecting, the Joker becomes livid at this particular turn of events and instantaneously throws her out the window. This incident absolutely demonstrates how obsessed the Joker is towards Batman; further adding another layer of depth of their wacky relationship. The Joker would rather direct the entirety of his attention on his arch enemy than his girlfriend; that definitely says something. 

I believe whatever doesn't kill you makes you... stranger."

The Joker’s notion on affection is different than that of normal, sane humans. On one occasion, the Joker decides to present Harley with a bouquet of roses; a token of his a compassion towards her. However, there is an ulterior motive behind his gesture of love and on the contrary to the roses’ beautiful appearance, what lies beneath them is a real shocker: dynamite. The Joker had prudently hid the explosives, which were moments away from going off, under the flowers with the motive of killing Harley; yet again. Thankfully, she manages escape harm’s way and simply shrugs the murder attempt off by proclaiming that her boyfriend has “commitment issues”. There are other countless examples of the Joker’s violent acts of abuse towards Harley but listing them all down would take an incredibly long time; therefore, I will not dwell too much into this aspect. 

Despite all the cruel intents the Joker bears towards Harley, it is an understatement to claim that he does not care about Harley. In fact, he deeply cares about her but just refuses to acknowledge those sentiments. He is also shown to be rather protective over Harley and this is showcased during one event where he skins the owner of a Gotham strip bar, Monty, alive. Initially, Monty hires Harley to be a stripper but makes the mistake of looking at her voluptuous body for too long; prompting the Joker to resort to skinning him alive. The Joker’s actions highlight how possessive he is over her; treating Harley like his prized possession. 

One of the famous scenes in Suicide Squad would be that of Harley jumping into the pool of chemicals in order to gain the Joker’s approval and acknowledgement. However, this particular scene does not stay true to the source material as the comics depicted this scene to be that of the Joker pushing Harley in. Harley did not choose to be bleached and dunked into acid; it was the Joker. 

These are only a few of the sample facts to explain their relationship; to fully unravel the dynamics of the Joker-Harley Quinn pair would take an extremely long time - considering the scope and depth of their relationship. The complexity of their relationship cannot be summed up in a mere article but I hope that this piece of writing may have introduced new perspectives to their story. In my opinion, the two of them complement each other perfectly and most certainly possess a unique affinity to cater to each other’s needs. However, I do not entirely support their relationship as I generally regard it to be unhealthy and detrimental. From my own perspective, I believe that Harley deserves to be treated better and not labelled as a slave of the Joker. It pains me whenever I observe the way he acts towards her and how she still blindly devotes herself whole-heartedly to him; she is not his personal toy. 

In particular, I am overjoyed with her progress and character development as she is seen to be less dependent on the Joker in recent comic releases. Harley has finally accepted and embraced the fact that Joker is a harmful entity in her life. Following his constant acts of abuse, she has since fostered a close connection with fellow villain, Poison Ivy. The two female villains have been hinted to have romantic feelings for each another and it is completely understandable why. Poison Ivy was the one who helped Harley after incidents when the Joker would plot to kill her and the two of them would even occasionally commit crimes together. Not only does Poison Ivy loyally stand up for Harley but she is also her pillar of support; forever present to help her friend. I believe that this is the type of relationship Harley truly deserves: a one where there is a mutual platform of understanding, respect and love - not one where is oppressed and enslaved by her partner’s manipulative actions or words. 

In my opinion, the existence of the Joker in Harley’s life poses adverse effects on herself; physically, mentally and psychological. She needs to escape from his slavery and embark on a journey to find her true self once again without any negative influences from the clown. However, this is all purely my opinion and everyone is entitled to have their own viewpoints, so what’s yours? 

Do you love or hate this p s y c h o t i c couple? 


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