I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s day! Of course, showing your love for your significant other, friend or family should be an everyday thing. Although there’s nothing wrong showing a little extra tender loving care on Valentine’s day. Commercialism of the day be damned.
And in honor of Valentine’s Day, today’s post, a follow up of a previous post, is a new series I’ll be featuring on my blog from now on. A series inspired by Prince Hamlet’s phrase “To be, or not to be.” Where as Hamlet is contemplating death and suicide. The series will contemplate specific story lines and tropes instead. And asking readers and writers their personal views about it.
In To Romance or Not to Romance?, I asked readers and writers about romantic story lines. For example, historical fiction and historical romance are two different type of novel genres. You can’t not have romance in a historical romance. But a romantic story line in a historical fiction, doesn’t make it a historical romance. The romance is not the core of the story but a narrative thread. A side or sub plot.
I also asked whether romantic story lines were necessary to the novel. Or if it’s a reading or writing preference. You can read the post and the answers here. Well, today’s post is part two and second in the “To or Not to” series. This time contemplating the romantic trope of love triangles.
A love triangle is a romantic relationship involving three people (or sometimes more). Where one of the three will not get the boy or girl. And there’s usually two forms of triangles. Either one person is unsure of which of the two is their true heart’s desire. Or two rivals competes for the heart of the same person.
Love triangles has existed in literature since time immemorial. I’m exaggerating but you get my drift. The oldest love triangle I can remember reading is Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales The Miller’s Tale. But I’m using the term love triangle loosely here. As the love triangle in that story dealt with an adulterous affair and cuckolding the husband. Another love triangle is William Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet (Romeo/Juliet/Paris).
Moving up the current timeline, there’s a love triangle in The Hunger Games (Katniss/Peeta/Gale). Love triangles were also explored in television shows like Roswell (Liz/Max/Tess). As well as, Dawson’s Creek (Joey/Pacey/Dawson), Veronica Mars (Veronica/Logan/Duncan) and That 70s Show (Donna/Eric/Hyde).
In soap operas like Passions (Luis/Sheridan/Antonio) and General Hospital (Lucky/Elizabeth/Nicholas). And if you’re an anime, manga and Asian drama fan, in Hana Yori Dango (Makino/Domyouji/Rui). Also better known as Boys Over Flowers in English speaking countries.
Now, I’m just quoting books and shows I’ve read and watched. So feel free to throw in some other love triangles you know in the comments. Anyways, love triangles is a romantic trope that’s been done before and still is. To the point that it’s almost cliche. Yet, it’s still not tiresome, unless it’s done frustratingly wrong. And if you want proof of one done right, just check Twitter. And you’ll still continue to find ongoing debates on who Katniss Everdeen should be with. FYI, I’m team Peeta.
But the question is, why do we like to read and/or write about love triangles? Especially when the individuals themselves bring enough baggage and issues. Enough to complicate their own HEA. So why throw a third person in the mix?
Even in my own NaNoWriMo 2015 novel, Dreaming of You, I’d introduced a love triangle. Three separate triangles to be exact and with the couples involved, adds up to a love pentagon. From the synopsis, I only intended one triangle but as the story went on I realized there was two. And then I had a brain spark to reintroduce the ex-wife. The love triangle trope happened organically. But it’s also a story line written in to serve a particular purpose. Personal growth for the characters involved.
So, readers and writers, what do you think is the purpose of the love triangle trope? For the added conflict, tension or confusion to the will they or won’t they end up together question? Is it for the development of a strong and loving relationship of the OTP (one true pairing)? For the personal growth development of the individuals involved? That it’s a popular trope to write and read? Or it was just thrown in to up the word count.
What are your thoughts? Are love triangles a tried and true method of adding conflict? Or just tired? Like them or hate them? Why?
To love triangles or not to love triangles? That is the question.
Which is your most favorite or frustrating love triangle from books, TV, movies, etc.? Why? Which couple from the triangle were you rooting for? Why?
Read what other blogger/writers had to say about love triangles:
PS Can You Catch My Flow?, a poetry chapbook, will be soon available in print. And I’m looking for a few more good blog hosts. At least 1-2 more for the last week of March. And 8-10 hosts for April.
The tour dates is from March 1-April 30, 2016. During Women’s History Month and National Poetry Month. If you’re not busy doing the A to Z Challenge. Or the National Poetry Month 30 poems in 30 days Challenge. And would like to take part, click the banner below to the sign up form. Looking forward to hearing from you! 😀