It’s July and Paola and Alix’s are hosting the Love Triangles 101 event over at A Novel Idea. Clearly, there’s an abundance of love triangles, especially in the world of YA. So why not educate yourself about them and have fun while doing it? (Psst, there’s a giveaway, too!)
WHEN LOVE TRIANGLES HURT
One of the first love triangles I ever encountered was Archie-Betty-Veronica in Archie Comics. It always seemed odd to me that in all the time of Veronica stringing along a lovestruck Archie, Betty always got pushed away. I liked Betty more and wanted to shake Archie so he’d see that too. The situation was more complicated due to the fact that Betty and Veronica were best friends but that didn’t make Betty’s hurt any less. Yes, she hurt more than Veronica, who hardly ever gave enough thought to Betty’s feelings. And yes she hurt more than Archie, who did see that Betty had feelings for him. This is probably not a good example seeing as Betty played the role of a third wheel and nothing was really at stake here but this is where Betty and I first encountered hurt.
LOVE CONQUERS ALL?
In The Hunger Games trilogy, I liked Gale more earlier on because he connected with Katniss on so many levels. The hunting, the food problems, going out of your way for one’s family. But then as the story progressed, he wasn’t the one who felt what Katniss felt during the games, who knew what it was like to have to kill even when not wanting to, who was brave enough to survive the games, who understands better than anyone else. That was all Peeta and Katniss ultimately had to choose what world she was willing to live in and how she was going to overcome life. She could have picked Gale and run off with him but that wasn’t her. Katniss goes through such a dramatic change that she had to cut Gale out of her life one way or the other.
In fact, Katniss, Peeta and Gale all go through the worst things that could have happened to them. What I’m trying to get at is that love doesn’t conquer all. There’s always a gaping hole because you once choose a person, you’ve to let go of the other person. It cannot work any other way. Sometimes however, you don’t want a love triangle to work out as they’re the epitome of selfishness. A titillating tragedy waiting to happen.
WHO DO YOU SHIP?
Here I’d like to talk about The Vampire Diaries because it relates well to what I want to say. Sometimes the characters are done so well that it is impossible to choose who to root for. I’m pretty much Stelena all the way but I cannot help but want Delena as well. I go through double the emotions watching the show because while I’m happy for Stelena I’m also sad for Delena. As a part of the audience, there is so much work put into feeling for the characters and their stories that it makes the triangle worthwhile. It also takes out the possibility for not liking one of the angles (?).
Shipping basically means willing someone in the love triangle to lose. Badly. There is so much angst put into the character you don’t want the main character to pick that a lot of negative feelings sprout. The character probably didn’t ask for it. He’s in love and you can’t blame him for trying now, can you. So yes, from time to time, I tend to observe the triangle mess by looking at it from the point of view of the non-rooting party. Then I feel bad as is in the case of Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy. Xander didn’t do anything wrong, hell he’s trying to make it all work out but I just can’t help and ship Cassia and Ky. (Here I should probably mention that I’ve yet to read Reached).
IT’S ABOUT MORE THAN JUST THE CHARMER AND THE BROODER.
The other day when I commented on Asti’s post about whether love triangles are realistic or ridiculous, I said, ‘If there is a enough good reason for the existence of a love triangle, I’d understand but if it’s a battle between the charmer and the brooder then I’m sorry that’s just ridiculous. Some books do that, some people do that and I feel incredulous because that’s probably just attractiveness mixed up with infatuation and not love.’ Then Asti came up with the term Charmer vs Brooder which got me thinking.
Choice is power. But stupid choices are just that stupid. I’ve read books where the main character swoons over the brooder who is pretty much aloof, stiff and mysterious, while the Charmer is bending backwards trying to get the attention of the main character. Isn’t that just the worst? Love is much more than the hotness being exuded so to speak. Yes, I like a little mystery myself and who can resist a charmer, but it’s not really the point is it? Dude, you have to choose between two people! Where’s the depth, the stakes that are supposed to be high? Where is the consciousness that someone is going to end up hurt?
Love triangles as these are just unbelievable and hard to get into. They seem something the author added as a second thought, something to revel in. It also gives the main character an excuse to string along (usually the Charmer) which is just so wrong on so many levels.
What are some of the love triangles do you feel convey what I’m talking about? Do love triangles really have to hurt? How do you react to hurt in love triangles?