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Why Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper’s Love Story Matters on ‘Stranger Things’

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) David Harbour as Jim Hopper and Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers in STRANGER THINGS. Jopper Season 4 finale
Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

Some fans have been rooting for Stranger Things’ Joyce Byers and Jim Hopper (Jopper) to get together from the first season, and others saw the appeal later. Both of which are entirely justified, and the beauty in the relationship comes from various angles. Taylor Swift must’ve written “This Love” for them because this love is alive back from the dead; these hands had to let it go free; this love came back to me. But that’s a winding way of saying that establishing a solid partnership in the face of all hell breaking loose and taking on everything as a team makes Jopper the beacon of hope everyone in Hawkins could look towards. 

Stranger Things has established the importance of love from day one through stellar examples of romantic and platonic relationships. It’s also clarified that the absence of love often leads to the destruction we see in the world, whereas the presence heals and transforms, allowing people to learn how to become the best versions of themselves possible. Where the kids are concerned, there is still much to learn, but for a show without a solid adult partnership to stand as an example of what’s healthy and proper, Jopper finally embarking on this romantic journey could be the leading paradigm. The world could always use more love and our TV screens just as much because healthy romances not only inspire the people directly involved in it but all those around them too.

As two people who consistently prove that there are no bridges they aren’t willing to cross to protect those around them, they’re a light in the darkness. They’re evidence of persistence, bringing to life the notion that remaining steadfast in someone else’s life is the best gift you could give them. From day one, both Hopper and Joyce showed everyone what it means to stand for and with those you believe in, paving the road for people to see what a commitment should look like. They weren’t even a couple in earlier seasons, yet they’d go to the ends of the world to ensure their safety.

STRANGER THINGS. (L to R) Winona Ryder as Joyce Byers and David Harbour as Jim Hopper in STRANGER THINGS.
Cr. Courtesy of Netflix © 2022

But, now, as a couple actively and openly putting each other and their kids first, Jopper’s romance showcases the strength that comes from choosing to be vulnerable with someone. In Season 2, much of their hardships were dealt with silently. After losing his daughter, Hopper lost every part of himself that mattered until he found a second chance and a purpose in raising Eleven. In the aftermath of raising two boys after a loveless, emotionally abusive relationship, Joyce discovered the strength in remaining true to who she is while doing everything she can to ensure that she loves those who need it most.

They’re so innately compatible because, after their losses, they’ve learned how to hold on for dear life. They understand the healing capabilities of sharing their joy as well as their sorrows with someone because opening up oneself to believe in another makes them better as individuals.

It’s why their effortless transition from friends to a couple is so beautiful to witness because not only do they show us how much they need each other, but they exhibit what a united front they are. They promise everything by promising one another that they will make it this time. To go from sharing their cigarettes to giving each other their hearts and allowing their souls to dance through this horrific life as one is right where they needed to be. Jim Hopper and Joyce Byers were always going to get to this place, but now that they’re here, it’s magic. Their story looks into how second chances can better affect people by allowing their best and worst to intermingle and create something potently comforting.

Stranger Things Season 4 is now streaming on Netflix.

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Gissane Sophia View All

Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) — or, as people often call her, "Goose" — is a romance aficionado who's taken her Master's in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture. She's the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters.

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