Monday, October 18, 2010

Love Triangles: Awesome or Overused?

Love triangles. They're everywhere in literature. There's something about a main character being stuck in the middle with two good choices that they can't decide upon that makes readers get excited. We've seen it time and again with the rabid team choosing. Team Edward or Team Jacob? Team Bill or Team Eric? Team Peeta or Team Gale? For many of us, it takes on a life of it's own, becoming almost more important the the books themselves.

When an author is able to invoke that kind of character love, it says a lot about their writing ability. Since love triangles are so prevalent, most of the time it's hard to even care who the main character ends up with. But, when you find a love interest so amazing that you want to physically declare your team on your chest, that's something amazing. The author has done their job. They've made you care about the character beyond his or her specific plot line.

Some books revolve around the love triangle. Take Twilight for instance. If there was no potential for love with Jacob, what would the story have been? Edward and Bella just arguing about sex and whether he would make her into a vampire? I'm not quite sure that could have held the same interest for 4 books that the Edward versus Jacob drama did.

Some books don't need a love triangle. Look at The Hunger Games. Would we have really lost anything if their hadn't been the idea of Peeta versus Gale? The story would have still had the action, heartbreak and suspense that the plot provided. In all honesty, it didn't even seem like there was supposed to be a love triangle. Sure, Peeta and Gale both wanted Katniss, but she didn't need to choose between them. She never wanted a life that involved husbands and babies. And she never really showed any preference or romantic love for either of them. To me, it seemed to be a case of fans picking a favorite and the author changing her original vision to make them happy.

So the way I see it, love triangles can bring something awesome to a story. Or they can completely distract from the actual plot if used unnecessarily. I'll admit to becoming caught up in the Peeta versus Gale drama, but after reading the last book - it was easy to look back and wonder what the point was. What mattered there was the the fight against the capitol.

What's your take on love triangles? What are some of your favorites that make you want to scream your team from the rooftops? Can you think of any examples of love triangles that are completely unnecessary?

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