Thursday, June 2, 2016

Discussion: Love Triangles and Why I Don't Love Them

This month I have decided to participate in the Hype or Like Friday meme. Every week they have a discussion topic dealing with hyped books and every month they read a hyped book. The topic for this week is love triangles!

Okay, so according to Urban Dictionary, the top definition of a love triangle is as follows:

When two people both love a third person, and that third often loves them both. The object of their love may be conflicted as to whom he/she wants, and generally nobody emerges from these very happy. Love Triangles, as it is widely agreed, really f***ing suck. 

I think that this is a fairly accurate definition for a love triangle from my own perspective as someone who is not generally a fan of love triangles. But to be fair, I don't think that all love triangles are created equal.

While thinking about this post, I started to think about the different degrees of love triangles and this is what I came up with.

Definitely a Love Triangle

This is the category of love triangle that I like the least. What I classify as "Definitely a Love Triangle" would be situations where there are the two boys pining after the one girl and the girl returns feelings to both of them. She has a hard time choosing who she likes better and often ends up kissing one boy and promptly going to kiss the other.

My main problem with this is mostly that I obviously at this point am already firmly on one team and it makes me angry that my favorite of the two boys is not simply The One.

Example:
Zodiac by Romina Russell

While I would not actively go out of my way to avoid a book with a love triangle in general, I might go out of my way to avoid a love triangle like this.

Kind of a Love Triangle But Also Not Really

For this one, I don't really know what to say, but I have a specific series/situation in mind.

In the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver there is a love triangle. In the first book, Lena falls in love with Alex, but at the end, Alex is out of the picture.

In the second book, Lena does her mourning, accepts that Alex is gone and falls in love with Julian. But then Alex comes back.

In the last book, obviously Lena has feelings for both of them, but it's clear to me that there's really only one choice.

Now bear with me on this one, it's been a long time since I finished this series and my memory might be foggy, but that's how I remember it.

I think another series that could fit in this category, but maybe not in the same way would be Legend by Marie Lu.

Looks Like a Love Triangle But Really Is Not

I think that a lot of books I have read lately that people say have love triangles fall into this category for me.

This one is when there are the two boys who love the girl, but the girl clearly only returns feelings to one of them.

See, I don't really consider that to be so much of an actual love triangle because the girl doesn't have feelings for both of them.

Examples:
The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Obviously this is all a matter of personal opinion. We each take different things from what we read. This is just what I see when I look at love triangles.

Ship Switching

When it comes to ship switching, I'm not sure how to classify that yet. Depending on the situation it could fall under the above categories, but it just feels different to me. So I'm just gonna talk about it separately.

When I first started this post, I was all, "SHIP SWITCHING IS AWFUL!" But now that I've been working on this post for awhile, I realize that I have ship switched before and I didn't die.

Something about me is I generally never ship switch. Whoever the author originally sets the main character up with is generally who I root for. So when I sat down and thought about this, I was surprised to realize that I switched more than I had realized.

Examples:
The Selection by Kiera Cass
I could see things from Aspen's point of view in the beginning and I kind of really liked him, but definitely ended up liking Maxon more.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
I'm still not even sure what ship I want to sail in this series. I've been on both sides more than once, but I don't know what I want for this one!

Some specific things about love triangles that I don't really love:

Villainizing the original love interest.

This is something more so you see with the author trying to get everyone to switch ships, I think. I can only think of three examples of this and I've hated it every time.

Examples:

Shatter Me
I yammer on about how much I hate this relatively regularly, I think. But villainizing Adam to make Warner the One was almost my sole reason for putting this series down and trying to wipe it from my memory.

Warner is manipulative and abusive and that is not the kind of relationship that should be in books marketed to young adults. That's not what they should be made to see is sexy.

Throne of Glass
While I am FIRMLY Team Chaol and I think that Rowan is trash, I am the most okay with this example mostly because I'm really invested in Celaena's story. And I don't know, I feel like there could be hope. Chaol was kind of a jerk in Queen of Shadows, but I don't think it's any worse than how big of a jerk Rowan was when he met Celaena. I don't know. I hate the ship switch and mild villainization, but I think my other examples are worse.

ACOTAR
I have not actually read ACOMAF yet, but I've seen enough spoilers (some on accident and some I went looking for) to know that this seems to be the case for this series. I hate Rhysand about as much as I hate Warner and by villainizing Tamlin, doesn't that pretty much make the first book completely pointless? I'm not 100% sure I even want to read this book anymore.

The thing I really don't understand about villianizing the original love interest is why do their characters have to be completely ruined? Why alienate people like that? I would never start another book by Tahereh Mafi and I'm on the fence about wanting to start anything else by Sarah J. Maas. On the one hand, she's good at villainizing everyone I love and replacing them with love interests that are not people I think should be swooned over, but I LOOOOOOVE her writing.

I would probably actively try to avoid another book that villainizes the original love interest.

Another thing about love triangles that kind of bugs me is that the main character is so indecisive! This is only in "Definitely a Love Triangle" situations, but like, it's not fair to lead two people on because you can't make up your mind and choose one. Also, the character in question is generally the Chosen One and if they can't decide which boy to be with, how can they be trusted to make harder decisions about saving their world or whatever they're chosen for? They should be using that time and energy to be saving said world!

After writing this whole post out, I think in my head I was just set in my ways of hating love triangles. I can't say this post has changed my mind, but I think that now that I've thought it all out, I can more easily say what it is about love triangles that I hate. Not just them in general. There are okay love triangles and there are not okay love triangles and I think I can definitely think of more okay ones than not.

What are your thoughts on love triangles? Do you agree with my classifications?


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