Tuesday, 7 June 2016

5 Insanely Silly Love Triangle Tropes I'm Actually Sick Of

Plain and simple, I have an issue with love triangles. Most people have some sort of issue with love triangles and the tropes that come with it, not the mention the predictability or drama involved, however, I have quite a few issues.. all of them equally brain smashing. I am, as one would call it, a traditionalist in that sense. I like relationships to be very much a Spice Girls Christmas Number #1, and I have quite a few reasons for that, like so.

There's always a 'winner' and a 'loser'

Call it what you want, but there's always somebody that draws the short straw and gets left out of the love boat, and while I'm actually quite alright with that, my issue is why this usually takes numerous installments to get right? Some series go down the 'woman is a prize' route, which is entirely problematic in it's own right and is not okay in the slightest, but it implies at it's strongest that the entire plot is focused on finding Mr or Mrs Right?

If that isn't the case, it usually results in one of the romantic interests does something inherently horrific that results in the leading character essentially throwing away everything they've developed with them, see The Hunger Games, or  , resulting in the same scenario. Of course, this means the leading character doesn't have to 'choose' a love interest, in that the plot or the direction of the story chooses for them, which is in many ways, lazy writing, and in others, a cop out. It's almost always predictable too, which leads onto my second trope..

There's usually a 'good' option, and 'bad' option

When it comes to love triangles and their basic components, one of my biggest turn offs is having both an obviously good choice and a bad choice, good being the hero, the sidekick, the knight in shining armour, and the bad being, well, bad. The Grisha series is one clear example of a 'good vs bad' choice, and it's for this reason I am yet to continue with it - why must there be a good or bad, why can't there be a middle ground interest? Somebody who's interested in saving world, but doesn't mind if they have to kill a few people to get there? Somebody will a wonky moral compass, but unwavering loyalty and respect for the heroes they support? Why is there is always one or the other.

There doesn't actually have to be a 'good vs bad' option, as evident in If Only. Pine gives Jordan two perfectly good love interests, and not one of them is 'good' or 'bad' they're two very moral, well balanced, fleshed out characters and it worked, and it made sense. When a relationship is meant to work and characters are created to be together, you don't need choices, you just need chemistry.

Certain love interests get thrashed to develop others

When you create a love triangle one of the first things you're going to create is a split fandom, but more than that, you're creating a competition which usually involves the leading characters getting equal action from both love interests, or getting a pretty one -sided perspective. Both of these options suck, but it's made worse when, in order to develop the other love interest, the first because a total dick. Of all the tropes I dislike, this is up there with the best of them.

Quite possibly the biggest example of this in recent months is A Court of Mist and Fury, and while I'm yet to read it myself, I am aware of it's plot points, and certain directions certain characters find themselves taking, both platonically and romantically. Without a doubt, certain characters develop and change, either for the better or the worse, but categorically, the characters were altered to make way for the development and character building of others, and that's not okay in any circumstances.

Other books have successfully achieved great things with this trope, such as Shatter Me, and Awaken, which both develop their leading characters rather than thrash or alter their romantic interests, allowing the leading character to choose a romantic endeavor based on who she has become. It's a tough trope to call, and even tougher to pull off, but generally, I try to avoid these kind entirely.

When unnecessary break-ups motivate romantic actions

I do tend to find breakups in fiction quite.. tedious. I would be willing to go out on a limb and say that people, even teenagers and young adults, don't break up quite so willing, nor often, over such trivial details and small actions. I'm also willing to bet that the teenagers and young adults that do, don't actually go and flirt their way into somebody else's arms that following night, and yet in fiction, everything is a go. There is nothing worse than a rebound, especially if it's part of a triangle.

Let's take for example Meghan from The Iron Fey. At one point, she has a disagreement with Ash, and low and behold, she goes running to Puck and snogs the face off him, the only actual romantic action between the two of them throughout the entire series, only to shrug it off as an 'oops' when Puck questions her on it later. It's an action fueled totally by jealousy, and all in order to encourage the love triangle to brew, even when it's clear it's not going to happen. They're just without a doubt one of the most blurgh things, and just makes reading even more bland.

Killing off or combining love interests rather than choosing

This is most ardently my least favourite love triangle trope, and with good reason, as much like the good vs bad, or winner vs loser, killing off a love interest is just out to take away not only the leading characters choice, but also her love interest dignity and confidence. It's like saying 'hey, I sort of really liked that guy two chapters ago, and was pretty ready to settle, but now he's dead, so.. shall we hook up now or what?' It's disrespectful to your characters, and it's disrespectful to the fans too.

Is it not possible for the a relationship to flourish in the future without the 'other' love interest still chugging along nicely, doing whatever it is side-lined secondary characters do for a living, or must they be cast away, killed off, or a die for the leading character in order to solidify their future?

Worse still is when leading characters get their happy ending wrapped in a bow, because they either get all the luck and end up with their two love interest combined, see The Kane Chronicles, Starters and Starcrossed (sort of), or they get to have their BOGOF deal, having one love interest for now, and another at a later date, see The Infernal Devices and Splintered. These are just as bad as one another, and almost always feel rushed, unplanned, and don't sit all that well with the fans. If you're going to make a love triangle, be prepared to lie in it, and do it with one person.

You'd almost be left thinking I don't like ANY love triangle tropes, but that's not the case. I quite like a good ol' friendship to relationship slow burn, and I'm a right sucker for starting with the sexy times and get into the feels later down the line. I also like me some 'we're from total different backgrounds but it just WORKS' because hey, I think we all enjoy a coming together of worlds, and I really like the idea of having a soul mate - it just makes me feel all gooey inside. On the whole, and for this reason, if I know there's a love triangle brewing, I will do my utmost to stay as far away as possible, and yet sometimes I still find myself stumbling into one, and dreading on these tropes.

How do you feel about love triangles? Is this an extreme overreaction or totally justifiable?


  1. I have never liked the love triangle trope. I have always thought it cruel to lead a guy who loves you on and then dismiss him just because you couldn't decide what you wanted, but still didn't want to lose either option just in case. So whenever I hear that there is a love triangle in the book I almost immediately DNF it 95% of the times.

  2. It depends on how the love triangle is created, I guess. For example, I totally get the love triangle in the Splintered series, because Alyssa was a person of two worlds. And fun fact it seems that there's the syndrom of good and bad choice, but I think that throughout the second book, the bad choice changes into something in the middle. Because he has good motifs but not so innocent way of accomplishing them.
    And killing off character just to get rid of the love triangle is just cruel and shows that the author didn't know how to solve it differently. That's not cool!
    All in all, I don't mind love triangles if they are well written and the main character is thinking rationaly and doesn't think all the time who she's going to choose. Because I think she can't love both of them the same. When you love someone, you love someone and don't feel anything real towards someone else. That's just lust and lust doesn't equal love. But I totally get you and I don't think you're overreacting. Love triangles are unnaturally created by authors to create tension in the book and therefore is completely normal to not like them because it doesn't work like that in real life. Amazing blog post :)

  3. I think my biggest annoyance is OBVIOUS love triangles. More often than not, you know exactly which person the MC will choose in the end. So many follow a pattern like this:

    - MC meets love interest. They get involved.
    - In book two (or later in book one) a third person gets thrown into the mix.
    - The MC clearly prefers the first guy and the second guy is just there to stir up conflict.
    - The MC chooses the first guy in the end.

    Usually it's always that first guy the MC has the stronger relationship with and the second guy is just there to stir up conflict or "make things interesting". Then the MC always goes crawling back to that first guy.

    Of course there are exceptions to this, but this happens in like 99% of love triangles I've personally read. It's incredibly obvious who they'll end up with in the end. But that *knowing* makes the whole thing feel pointless to me.

  4. Yes times a thousand to this line: "Without a doubt, certain characters develop and change, either for the better or the worse, but categorically, the characters were altered to make way for the development and character building of others, and that's not okay in any circumstances."

    This drove me absolutely crazy in Queen of Shadows. Chaol's character completely changed to make room for the Aelin-Rowan romance and it just pissed me off. I get that characters are going to change and grow, but to completely change who a character is to make way for a new romance is not okay. I haven't read A Court of Mist and Fury and I'm not planning on it because I spoiled myself (on purpose) and am not about that.

    1. Aw I'm sorry you won't be reading ACOMAF. That's actually one of the few books where I adored the love triangle because it won me over so completely.

  5. OMG I AM SO WITH YOU HERE. Love triangles annoy me no end. >_> I hate the one's where it's obvious who's going to win, because the book isn't even developing the other one. IT'S JUST SO FRUSTRATING and makes me feel like the book considers its readers dump. #nope I don't mind the good vs bad, as long as both are complex characters. *nods* AND I HATE PERSONALITY SWITCHES AND THE THRASHING OF ONE SIDE. Particularly if it's a ship that was sailing strongly before!! Like I do adore the Shatter Me series and I'm 100% Team Warner. 😂 But I can't help feel like Adam's personality flip was random and not at all foreshadowed??? Or maybe I just missed it??? And I HATE what Sarah J Maas did to my precious Chaol and Celaena. Ugh.

    Basically I avoid triangles these days because I find they're so rarely well written! ALTHOUGH!! I do love The Hunger Games and Splintered and Lady Midnight. <333