Fiction has its fair share of crazy romantic relationships, but the one between Joker and Harley Quinn is right there on top of that list. Ever since Harley’s debut in the Batman: The Animated Series, her story has been intrinsically tied to the Joker’s and despite some later attempts to emancipate her, Harley’s relationship with the Joker has remained a vital element of her story, as well as the Joker’s. Harley loves her Mr. J, that much is obvious, but does the Joker love Harley? It’s a complex question and if you want it answered, keep reading our article!
The Joker’s relationship with Harley Quinn is as complex as it is abusive. While he does have some feelings for her, it’s very difficult to ascertain whether those feelings are love or just him needing her for his personal plans and goals.
In today’s article, we are going to dig deep into the exact nature of the relationship between Joker and Harley Quinn. We are going to explain its origins, after which we are going to see how Joker feels about his female sidekick. We are also going to explore the pet names they have for each other and answer whether they had a baby together. It’s going to be a bumpy ride so prepare yourself as we commence.
Why is Harley Quinn so obsessed with the Joker?
Harley Quinn’s obsession with the Joker is connected with her origin story. She was born as Harleen Frances Quinzel to a dysfunctional family. Hoping to understand her own broken household, she studied psychiatry and became a doctor. After obtaining her PhD, she got a job in Arkham Asylum, where she was assigned to the Joker.
During their therapy sessions, the young doctor became obsesses with Joker’s twisted personality. Seeing how he is a very intelligent individual, Joker noticed that and used that fact to manipulate the inexperienced doctor even more, leading her to believe that she was the only one who could find out what was wrong with him and actually cure his psychopathology. He was, of course, lying.
But Harley did believe him and her obsession grew with each session until it turned into an actual case of obsessive Florence Nightingale syndrome. This was all explained in The Batman Adventures: Mad Love (1994) graphic novel, which was a tie-in to Batman: The Animated Series. The story expanded on Harley Quinn’s animated role and explained how she fell in love with the Joker; the graphic novel was widely praised and received several awards.
It was a truly twisted chain of events, but Dr. Quinzel did fall in love with the Joker and that is the source of her obsession, as well as the origin story of one Harley Quinn.
Does the Joker Love Harley?
This is a complex issue. Their relationship has been described as “mad love”, and whether it’s real love or not, it’s quite unhealthy. It is a mutually abusive relationship – the Joker outwardly abuses Harley, both physically and psychologically, but she tends to return some of that right back at him. The Joker is more manipulative in that relationship, as Harley Quinn does have genuine feelings towards him, which is something he often abuses to get what he wants.
Initially, Joker saw through Harleen Quinzel and wanted to manipulate her into breaking him out of Arkham, after which he planned on killing her. He ultimately did escape, but did not kill Dr. Quinzel, who soon became his sidekick and on-and-off girlfriend. The Joker’s sentiments towards Harley Quinn are quite contradictory and there is really no clear answer to this question.
On the one hand, he is abusive and manipulative towards her, showing no real emotion beside the fact that he finds her useful. He uses her to get what he wants, he beats her, insults her and generally perceives her as being completely submissive to him. He wouldn’t really sacrifice himself for her, he even has a “To Do” list where killing her is one of the things written there and most of the time it seems that his emotions towards Batman (be they romantic or not) are more genuine than his emotions towards Harley.
On the other hand, he seems to show signs of real care. He sends her roses after he beats her up – which is a red flag for an abusive relationship and is completely twisted, but for the sake of this article, we have to stress it out since it shows that Joker cares at least a bit about her, since he wouldn’t do that for anyone else – he has pet names for her, he even expresses his emotions towards her on several occasions, although it’s more an exception than a rule. He is also seen missing her a lot on several instances and she is the only person to have ever seen him cry, as shown in Brian Azzarello’s Joker graphic novel.
Joker generally tends to save Harley when she gets into trouble. Whether he does that out of love or practical reasons is a mystery, but he does make an effort to keep her close to him. Their relationship is in every aspect completely unhealthy; as Harvey Bullock once noted in TAS, the Joker’s a “demented, abusive, psychotic maniac”, but Harley loves him just like that. And he does care for her, more than for anyone else (except maybe Batman and himself, of course), but whether that’s actual love or just some other twisted manifestation of their psychopathologies is going to remain a question of debate for some time.
What are Harley’s pet names for the Joker?
One of the trademarks of their relationship are Harley’s pet names for the Joker. Harley has a lot of nicknames for the Joker, some of which are more known than others, which is why we have decided to bring you a brief list:
- Puddin’, probably the most famous of the nicknames;
- Mister J., which is a term endearment based on his real name;
As for Joker’s nicknames for Harley Quinn, they tend to be less loving and include the likes of:
- Harl(s), the most often used nickname, related to her name;
- Harley Girl
- Doll Face, an equivalent of Harley’s “Pudinn'” nickname;
Do the Joker and Harley Quinn have a baby?
The question of whether Joker’s and Harley’s relationship is sexual in nature is also an often debated one, especially in the main narrative continuity. Namely, Harley definitely feels a sexual attraction to the Joker, but there are theses that suggest that the Prime-Earth Joker is actually asexual; he can commit rape if necessary (although that is not his preferred “weapon of choice”), but he doesn’t really have any outward sexual desires. So, as far as the main continuity is concerned, the two of them never had a baby, as it’s even debatable whether they ever had sex at all.
Yet, there is an alternative storyline where the two of them not only had sex, but also a child. In the Injustice universe, Harley reveals that she is pregnant and she leaves the Joker because she is aware that he would be a bad father. She ultimately gives birth to their daughter, Lucy, who is seen with her mother in a park during the epilogue. This is an alternative reality storyline and Lucy Quinzel never appeared in any other storyline.
And that’s it for today. We hope you had fun reading this and that we helped solve this dilemma for you. See you next time and don’t forget to follow us!