It was a celebratory day for me recently wherein I embraced many people for giving me many gifts, and if they did not give me gifts then I did not embrace them because hello where are the gifts. I expected gifts. One of the gifts included a double package of both Crooked Kingdom and Empire of Storms. Right now, I’m reading Crooked Kingdom and waiting for Kaz and Inej to do SOMETHING because the tension is killing me. But it did occur in my mind that there are little to none but mostly nonexistent love triangles which is one reason as to why I love these two series’/books.
Then I had a little mental conversation that went somewhat like this:
Me 1: SO I HATE BOOKS WITH LOVE TRIANGLES IS THAT IT THEN.
Me 2: No, remember the Infernal Devices trilogy. If you said you hated the Infernal Devices trilogy ever I suggest you reconsider because otherwise we’re going to a very dark place.
Me 1: Even if I did say I didn’t like the love triangle, hello, TID has Will, and Will is a lot of subject matter right there.
Me 2: Beside the point. What about Jem? He’s a part of the love triangle, and I know you hate Tessa by the end of TID, so if you hate Jem too then you basically hate the whole love triangle and all the people but Will.
Which is reasonable because he’s Will oh look here I am writing like Tahereh Mafi So you hate Jem, then? You probably hate him. I can’t believe you. Go away
Me 1: I can’t, I’m stuck here like you
Me 2: presumes to further the argument because this is my life
SO HERE I AM. Writing a post about love triangles and how some of them are brilliant but most of them are awfully corrupted and how a lot of them are just unrealistic.
SO HERE I AM. Trashing all of YA Lit.
IT’S A LOVE ANGLE, NOT A LOVE TRIANGLE
It will forever be by my coherent thoughts as to why people are not irked by this, or that they don’t pick it up. The only books in which I saw a complete triangle was the Infernal Devices trilogy to date, and that’s about it. Will loves Jem, and Jem loves Tessa, and Tessa loves Will. But Jem also loves Will, Will also loves Tessa, and Tessa also loves Jem. It’s a complete threeway triangle as it should be. But if two people love one person, and that one person loves two people, it’s just an angle unless the other two people love each other as well. So if you want to write a book one day and you’re reading this and you want to write a spectacular love triangle, do make a mental note of what Veda once said and write a complete three-sided shape, please.
TWO BOYS, ONE GIRL
This will never stop getting to me. Not much really offends me except for disloyalty and unfaithfulness and this, so when I’m expressing to people how deep of a person I am whereas I let many small offenses slide as I see the bigger, deeper things in life only like disloyalty and unfaithfulness, and then I say I deeply hate the love triangle trope of two boys and one girl, it makes me look like a stranger thing.
How come boys suddenly fall for girls ALL THE TIME, not to mention the same girl, who is, not to forget, astonishingly beautiful and perfect in all ways?? I demand someone write a book in which two girls fall in love with the same, cocky, perfect boy. Well, close to that. You can’t completely replicate Will Herondale. It’s quite impossible.
It must be brought to the surface that really the first couple of love triangles that come to my mind when I write this is Twilight, the Shatter Me love triangle, the Hunger Games (believe it or not), the Legend trilogy love triangle, and then the ACoTaR love triangle. But those are just skimming the surface.
So let me explain this with the aforesaid few examples. Bella Swan is the most beautiful, clumsy, unathletic, perfect biology student/person in every single darn way. Edward is a flawless vampire with superspeed, superstrength, supervision and just about every other quality a person can have with ‘super’ added onto the beginning of it. Jacob is a werewolf who can turn into a freaking WOLF at midnight. Also he has a gorgeous brown fur, according to Bella with the gorgeous chocolate brown eyes.
Then there is Feyre Archeron, lady madame of Prythian. She charmed Tamlin first, in her human form, and then she charmed Rhys also known as mine, the most enchanting, perfect fae in all of Prythian perhaps. And of course, she’s suffering extremely with PTSD and she was illiterate and loves painting except for she doesn’t because of her PTSD, and she is gifted with all the powers of all the high lords.
Katniss Everdeen, who I do love nevertheless, mind you, who kept herself and Peeta alive against the most trained of teenage assassins (districts 1, 2, and 4). She has the best of survival skills, she’s intelligent, she’s athletic, and she’s kind of rustically beautiful in a raw way, managing to capture the heart of Gale, the beautiful young man from the Seam, and Peeta, the loving baker’s boy.
This theme must be retired in love triangles, especially. Having three perfect people stuck in this awkward situation where they all want to romance one person, or two in the lady’s case, is completely unrealistic. There will be no real-world situation where the most perfect of creatures on Earth all end up loving each other, and if they did, then they should all just marry each other and be done with it. Perfect people loving other perfect people in books is always too unrealistically dramatic.
EXTREMELY BUILT MEN WITH GORGEOUS EYES WHO ARE SPECIFICALLY TRAINED WITH WEAPONS AND CARRYING SWOONING LADIES
And are capable of sending a girl aka Bella Swan right off of a cliff with their absence. And the carrying ladies part, because that’s exactly what Adam Kent did in Shatter Me. LIKE WHAT EVEN. WHAT. EVEN. I understand that having a Will Herondale character is inevitable because a book without them would be very, very bleak. But really?? The same combinations of dark blue eyes with dark hair and blond hair with green eyes used repetitively to woo readers? They’ve stagnated in their wooing and increased in their boring for me. I no longer want to read about these perfect boys with perfect eyes and perfect arms and perfect faces.
IT’S SIMPLY NOT REALISTIC AT ALL.
And let’s not leave out the bit about them handling swords and guns and all kinds of pointy things as if they are just extensions of their limbs. As if they were born shooting a revolver right through the womb. Honestly, it annoys me so much. This is why I live for people like Will Herondale and Rhysand and perhaps even Peeta, but mostly the first two, because they don’t need weapons and aren’t born using them. Their powers fit who they are. And they don’t need a pistol or a sword or a lance–they can use their hands mighty fine on their own. 😉
FILLER LOVE/DESTINED FOR EACH OTHER
In certain love triangles, it’s very obvious who’s going to last and whose heart is going to be broken. This is what I consider the ‘filler love’. From the very start, the filler is just there for the sake of romance. I think I can use Adam Kent and Jacob Black as an example here, just because they’re both there just to romance the main character, Juliette and Bella, corresponding respectively.
Adam, for me, had no character development whatsoever. He was just this hot soldier with smoldering eyes who made me want to cry because he stole Will Herondale’s looks. Everyone knew that it would end up being Warner and Juliette, because why else would Mafi keep Warner just walking around the plot right there unless it was for the sake of the romance life of Juliette and how the world revolves around her?
And then Jacob–Jacob is a heart-stealing troublemaker. I still don’t even understand how the Twilight love triangle played out, because Bella ‘loved’ Jacob and he nagged her continuously for a kiss, or an embrace, or a declaration of undying, eternal love. But Bella ended up with Edward–no seriously, she ended up deep with Edward but she still ‘loved’ Jacob?? Isn’t that, well, strange?
My vote is she shouldn’t have married anyone at all (especially someone who is 104 years old as comparable to her age) since she’s 18.
But that’s beside the point.
Everyone knew that Warnette would sail, and everyone knew Bedward would sail as well. Jacob did nothing except for get in the way in both her pregnancy and when she was romancing Edward.
This tears my heart out (and not in the good way) because I’m so tired of these meant-for-each-other romances. It irks me beyond comprehension. WHY IS IT THAT YOU HAVE THIS USELESS PERSON ON THE SIDE HERE WHO’S GETTING IN THE MIDDLE OF A COUPLE FOR NO DEFINITE REASON EXCEPT FOR TO MAKE OUT WITH ONE OF THE AFOREMENTIONED PEOPLE FOR THE SAKE OF DRAMA?
Give me substance, please.
HEARTBREAK PORTRAYED INACCURATELY
When a book has a love triangle in which of course only one pairing can sail (unless all three of them are going to marry and call it polygamy and rule an ancient kingdom because that’s what they did back then), obviously one of the filler people is going to be heartbroken.
Apparently authors seem to think that ‘heartbroken’ means that the person simply finds their true love the next day ahem cough Jacob Black or that they’re changed by so many degrees that they’re a completely different person, and different by enough measures to not even care anymore (Tamlin and Adam Kent).
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t contemplate with messages. I read them as they are and take them as they are. So when I am given a love triangle, I expect it to have real love, and not just infatuation. A love triangle includes the word ‘love’ which signifies a deeper connection between people. Something deeper than an infatuation, something deeper than admiration. I don’t even know how to explain it; it’s simply a force beyond anything I can put together in English.
If two people really do love each other, then they deeply care about each other. So Tamlin and Feyre ‘loving’ each other to the point where they were going to get married, and then her slowly falling in love with Rhysand and Tamlin being stubborn, unwilling, and unreasonably protective about her–that’s not heartbreak at all. That’s selfish denial, and it’s the most unrealistic thing ever. The way Maas wrote about the bond between Rhys and Feyre, the mating bond and their psychological connection–no one can not see the truth in that, especially fae. And the way Maas constructed Tamlin showed me that he is a very intelligent, charismatic, guardian-kind of lover. Tamlin was kind, and he was clever, and he cared that Feyre was happy.
Tamlin was completely unrealistic. Feyre left him and refused to come back and he still believes that she’s some pawn whose mind was overruled by Rhysand? I will leave this ACOTAR/ACOMAF conversation for later (hint hint), but basically, the ‘heartbreak’ that was shown in Tamlin is UNREAL (no literally).
And with Adam and Juliette? Adam simply got frustrated and angry and thought that he could rely on Juliette to love him, that there was nothing for him to do, he just had to praise her looks and coddle her. He thought that she would never get enough of him, that there was no one else for her except for him. And so when she began to fall in love with Warner, Adam wasn’t just jelly, he was maniacal.
Jacob Black was just frustratingly blind. Anyone could have seen that Edward and Bella were together and were going to stay together. Even at their wedding, and after, Jacob was still trying to convince Bella or prove her loss/himself to her.
It maddens me, how authors refuse to write realistic people when it comes to heartbreak. Of course, there’s a ‘denial’ stage and there’s this part where you want to keep going and keep trying and you’re not going to believe anything you see. But blindly being in denial forever is too unrealistic even for a fic lit story. Humans are meant for great things like love, but they are not meant to sit still in time forever because of love.
Heartbreak is a devastating emotion, and it should be portrayed accurately. There is not one soul in the world who, upon the incident of losing their love to someone else, would simply slide on in life, deny their love’s happiness, or find someone new. That’s not genuine love.
So 1) authors, don’t use the plot phrase love triangle lightly if you’re going to describe it and portray it as that and 2) don’t give me inhuman, unfeeling characters who are incapable of feeling remorse, sadness, or devastation or rendering any empathy in darker times but are still capable of falling in love, because those two go together like nothing else. Love will break you apart and pull you back together at the same time, again and again and again, and so any book character that loves someone without being able to feel their absence as an impact on themselves–that’s not anything close to love.
Basically, the entire problem with love triangles now is that they’re TOO unrealistic. They involve too many ‘perfect’ qualities and don’t accurately represent the real world. They represent greater romances that no one can relate to and they don’t portray the kind of love people develop and share on this Earth with these humans as they are. (Geez that makes me sound not human, but that’s kind of predictable).
Diversity. The key to improving all love triangle is diversity everywhere, and not diversity for the sake of diversity. Not diverse sexualities, or races, or skin colors. Diverse personalities, and thoughts, and responses. Diverse people. We need diverse characters to create diverse love triangles. We cannot have the same angels from heaven fall in love with each other, because that represents NONE of us. The point of diversity does not even affect the book in storytelling terms at all. It just makes the book more relatable and expansive, because a love triangle with diversity is a romance that is reflecting this world in a way, and that is exactly the kind of book we need now.
As much as we need physical diversity, we need emotional and mental diversity more.
In a love triangle, rather than seeing sculpted, perfectly built men aka Michelangelo’s David fall in love with a fair-skinned maiden with rich golden hair and beautiful red lips and stunning blue eyes, we connect more on a physical level and an emotional level in a romance with perhaps a paraplegic, or a diseased person, or someone of foreign ethnicity*. That kind of physical diversity is important but it is equally, if not more, important to develop a person behind the skin–to make their thoughts unconventional, to make their actions unconventional, and to make their emotions or reactions to certain things unconventional.
I don’t exactly know where we slipped into discussing diversity instead of love triangles, but there. I think, all around, love triangles need diversity to improve on a whole different level.
Love triangles are also in much need of development. I’m weary of having love triangles with no substance that mean nothing and show poor representations of love. I truly do believe that a perfect love triangle should be very thorough and well-developed like the one from The Infernal Devices. Each of the characters must be developed, and so must their love for eachother. In order to make love triangles more realistic, which is the biggest problem, there should be more realistic qualities to love. Again, I cannot explain love because it’s obviously a force way beyond me, but as everything else in existence, authors must show it as something with positive qualities and negative qualities.
Do you know how I knew that Warnette would sail and Kerrars would not? Juliette thought Adam was perfect. She thought he was good and kind and loyal and faithful and trustworthy. She, much like him, though that he was one of the purest creatures in that world. Then when the other side of Adam was proved to be very violent and temperamentally uncontrollable, she shied away and was hurt. But from the very start, she saw Warner commit cruel, terrible deeds with no remorse and in her mind named a monster but later on, she saw him do things no undeniably wicked person would do, and therein I figured that Warnette would sail. Because Juliette saw the good and bad facets of Warner and she, for a lack of a better word beside loved (which would be a bit inaccurate about hitting the point here), understood and accepted them all.
*I promptly left the tab to search (in my ordinary fashion because I am known for notoriously leaving my task to web surf every five minutes) ‘Define foreign’.
- of, from, in, or characteristic of a country or language other than one’s own.
“a foreign language”
‘Foreign’ is a subjective term meaning what is foreign for you may not be foreign for me and vice versa, so all in all, we need to represent ‘foreign’ ethnicities, or in this case, any other culture except for the American and English culture.
- How cruel of me to write such a long blog post and expect you to have read it all the way up to this point. I’ve been planning it for a while now, so it’s lovely that it backfired on me by about 1500 words and took a ridiculous amount of time to write and think up. *sighs about needing writing machines/more hands* Ah, well, I Grieve Nothing I Take Everything. Look at me being all diverse and complex. Someone right a book about me.
- Which one of these above love triangle problems do you agree with the most? And which one do you disagree with the most?
- Do you think love triangles now are fine just the way they are being currently written or do you also think they need to change? And if not mentioned here already, what’s something YOU are irritated by in a love triangle and what’s something you would add to this list of ‘dear authors here is our complaints on love triangles issued by the bookworm community’