Wednesday 11 February 2015

Bookish Musings - Pointing the Finger at Love Triangles

Bookish Musings is a feature here at Beautiful Bookish Butterflies that allows one of us to share our thoughts and opinions, talk and discuss things happening in the book and blogging community or share a personal book related issue we have. Today, Amanda is, as it's coming up to Valentines Day, talking about love and love triangles, and how she's got some serious issues with them. There's much more to dislike about the other than 'urgh', she knows it well.

I have an issue with love triangles. I know, you're thinking 'so what else is new? Don't most people?' but oh no, my reasons are so very very different to your traditional 'but it's annoying' reason. No, mine are frustrating, irritating and put me off trying books with love triangles entirely - I'm very much what you'd call a one man woman. But what are these reasons you're asking me? What can annoy you that much? Well, take a seat lovelies, I'm about to tell you.

There's always a Winner and a Loser

Definitely the most obvious of problems I have, and it's definitely the most serious. Say, why is their a competition anyway? a) The female charcater should never be seen as a prize, she is a human being, she is not your winning trophy, she is but a person and a love triangle only tends to creative the feeling and atmosphere of the woman being the prize, more often than not anyway. b) More often than not, you have a good guy and a bad guy and it seems to me like the choice is obvious - by going for the bad guy, she'd only be ruining her future and the world, right? So what's the logic, she's of course, not going to go for him, which leaves the good guy, which is, yet again, obvious. c) It's just plain frustrating, and leads onto my second issue with love triangles..

They Split Fandoms

When you create a love triangles, you're going to have two sides, one for each love interest, and by doing so, you split a fandom. When you split a fandom, things can be a little okay, you can have some readers who appreciate and understand that some people have a different opinion, but when you split it so harshly, you have manipulative. Lets take the Splintered series (and consider that this was written before Ensnared was released) as the perfect example. There's an awful large portion of the fandom that are very much Morphus lovers, and there's the other chunk that are Jeb fans. Now what happens when Howard chooses one over the other has her 'winner'? Well, half the fandom are going to be in uproar, half the fandom will more than likely dislike and maybe even hate the other half. When you split a fandom, you split opinions, you split what could be amazing friendships, amazing companions, and potential sequel readers. Is that wise? Is that your best choice? I can't bare it, it angers me.

There's Usually a 'Good' and 'Bad' option

I mentioned this quickly before, but let us take The Grisha series as an example in this point. You have Mal, best friend from a young age, struggles to see through the friendship to see the actual romantic emotions underlining their connection and then finally makes his feelings known. Then, you have the Darkling, brooding, moody, and really, very twisted, very manipulative and generally, the 'bad guy' of the series. I don't particularly want to thrash opinions, because they are just that, opinions, but how can you honestly want a romantic relationship with a genuinely evil character, and even on the other side, a charcater with very little emotions? There doesn't even have to be a 'good' and 'bad' option - A.J. Pine's novel If Only gives Jordan two perfectly good love interests and not a single one is either the 'good' or 'bad' option, she created two very good, well balanced out characters and you know what, it worked and it made sense, and I don't understand why you can't use the same technique in fantasy, paranormal and dystopian novels.. Sometimes, it's worse and there's a split 'royalty' vs 'poor' option which is just crossing a line into 'don't get me ragey', so I shan't go into detail, but these opposites, these love interests, they frustrate me.

There's a 50% chance I don't/won't read sequels

If you're a series and you have a love triangle, I will more than likely avoid you were possible until I can read you without the world telling or asking me who to ship. I just cannot deal. Not when there's a chance that I will likely choose a team or side or love interest and become irritated or annoyed about interactions with the other love interest. I will also more than likely never want to see the option of characters ending up with other people, so I just avoid them, leave them unread, never bother with them at all. In fact, it's one of the reasons I decided to avoid Splintered and the rest of the series, I just couldn't stand Morphus as a love interest. It's also the reason I've been swaying on Shadow and Bone, because the Darkling is clearly not right in the head, so how can Alina still feel anything for him? Lets also not get me started on The Hunger Games because - nope, I will not rage, I will not be angry.. Love interests or romances shouldn't make or break a series, not really, and especially not non-contemporary reads.

There's rarely any actual love between the three characters, it's all drama

Oh yes, I went there. There's plenty of examples for this issue, so lets start with.. Splintered. Alyssa supposedly loves both Jeb and Morphus.. err, I'm doubting that, one guy you've been crushing on for ages, another you used to be friends with and can morph into a big butterfly (moth, whatever), you're telling me you seriously love these guys? I'm thinking drama hunny.

Next! Ahh, hello Meghan, Ash and Puck, nice of you to drop by. Does Meghan love you two lads as well, well, I'm doubting it, it's all about making Ash a little jealous so you two can argue amongst yourselves over a typical blonde haired damsel in distress, so lets not go there..

Next! Helen, oh Helen, you've got Orion and Lucas both madly in love with you and you can't choose between them, you love them both, right? So it's just a coincidence that they dislike each other hugely and refuse to be in the same room then? Because that's all just one very annoying, frustrating trope that obviously ends in you choosing one and the 'left-over love interest' finding themselves someone else, right? Of course.

There's very rarely love flowing between these characters, it's all about the tension, the arguing, the emotions and the drama, oh, and the creating teams and picking and splitting fandoms and almost everything else I've already mentioned. Love triangles, most of the time, are created for drama, nothing more.

Love triangles have to be damn brilliant to win me over, and only if there is two realistic love interests who could both be good for the main character, who would bring out the good in them, who would die for them. If you're just two characters trying to define an alpha male feel, then I'm sorry, we cannot be friends. I like my romance realistic, honest and true to earth, I don't even mind some cases of love at first sight, if you can generate that amount of feeling without 'sparks' and such, but drama ridden, tension making, fandom splitting romances can go and do a run and jump. I am certainly not interested.

How do you feel about love triangles? Do you feel the way I do on some of these issues, or am I overreacting over nothing? Let me know and share your thoughts.



    I can't say that I hate love triangles with every fibre of my being, but I don't love them at all. Like, I would rather choose a book that DIDN'T have a love triangle tbh.

    What I can't understand is why a guy would fight for a girl like that. It doesn't really make any sense to me. Surely, the losing guy should KNOW he's the losing guy? And most of the time, the girl has a really cardboard personality anyway, why fight for someone like that?

    OH MY GOD THE SPLINTERED STUFF. I was always on Team Morpheus but I wasn't okay with the ending of Ensnared tbh

    1. Ironically, I just favourited a book that had a love triangle, but it was so good I can take the bad points! I can definitely see why youd prefer Morphus for sure, as long as the ending wasn't bad :)

  2. I am in love with your post!! Really, I am!

    People are always yelling at me "WHY HAVEN'T YOU READ SPLINTERED YET? WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH YOUR LIFE?!?!?" Because... love triangle... I've heard that the series is awesome and dark and fantastic and I think it's really sad that the love triangle's been stopping me from reading it for so long! GAH! I didn't want to choose a team! I didn't want to be frustrated and want to claw my eyes out! So, yes, now that all the books are out, I will read it... I shan't choose a team, either!

    It always bothers me that the girl loves both guys whole-heartedly and just simply can't choooooooseeeeee!! Well, WTF?! First off, if you're "loving" two guys, you clearly aren't loving them whole heartedly! Secondly, why do you care?!?! DON'T Y'ALL HAVE TO BE OFF SAVING THE WORLD OR SOMETHING?!??!?! I find it so petty that the guys and girl (what's up with that anyway? Why not two girls and one guy? Are there double the number of guys that girls in these fictional worlds? I'd like a MC girl to be one end of the love triangle while "fighting" for a guy... Actually, I wouldn't. Not really. I'm done with love triangles.) could be off saving the world and training and stuff but are rather like "I'm better than that other guy" or "Oh, I LOVE THEM BOTH HOWEVER SHALL I CHOOSE?!?! Life is hard...."

    Ya... Awesomesauce post! Now I have Splintered, Unhinged and I'm just waiting for Ensnared to arrive so that I can marathon without the torture of waiting...
    ~Fari 0:) @ My Little Corner for Books

    1. Oh, I can vouch for the series, it has an AMAZING world, and brilliant writing, it's the romance that ruins it for me personally, if you can look past it, great, if not, urgh.. Thanks though Fari, good to see other's opinions and knowing I'm not alone in it :)

  3. I am sooooo not a fan of love triangles and I refuse to write them for all the reasons you list here. Very nice and concise post! :)

    1. Good to know when it comes to Removed! Thanks :)

  4. I LOVE love triangles in my fiction and television shows! When I read about it in books/see it on television, I can easily separate it from real life. I enjoy the drama that comes with it. Makes a book/movie/show more interesting and volatile for me. The love triangle aspect was the biggest thing that drew me to Twilight and TVD. The kind of conflict these situations create is intense,dramatic, and often messy. That's why I like it. I like when a book or love story pisses me off because of the romantic situation. I also think it's fun when there are two sides to a fandom. I've been debating writing a post about my love for triangles/multiple love interests for a while. I have some thoughts written down, and will probably publish it sooner than later now. Thanks for the great post!

    1. You're welcome Regina! It'll be interesting to read I think, see another angle, you'll have to point it out to me when you're written it so I can read it :)

  5. You've definitely made some good points here Amanda - the issues with love triangles can go far deeper than just the 'annoyance' factor. I haven't come across a book in a while with one of these, but when I do and all that's between the characters is melodrama and no true deep emotions (or just a shallow insta-love). then I'm left wishing things were different. If anything, they can definitely cause a stir among readers who 'pick their team' and all, but in the end I'd rather just read a realistic romance where there's two people you actually want to ship. Fantastic discussion as always! :)

    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book

  6. You make a really good point with splitting fandoms. I never thought about love-triangles that way, but I've sure seen some discussions between ships and why THAT one is better than THIS one. I think love-triangles mostly frustrate me because there is so much focus on them. The plot gets snowed under drama and confusion if it's not handled with care.. And most of the times I pick the wrong guy, that sucks too :p

    1. I agree, plot before romance, include it sure, but don't make it all about the 'love', especially if it's not a contemporary.. Picking the wrong guy, urgh, so frustrating too, I just believe I'm right though ;)


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