Top 10 Tuesday: 10 Tropes I Hate to Love in Fictional Romances
Quirk Books is linking up with The Broke and The Bookish again for Top 10 Tuesday! This week we’re discussing what we like (and dislike!) about romances in fiction, so I’ve decided to share ten of the romance tropes I really hate to love. So many of the following tropes are cliché and sort of horrible, but I can’t help but love them anyway.
WILL THEY OR WON’T THEY?
It’s torturous when two characters resist an inevitable relationship for what seems like a ridiculous amount of time. However, that build up usually leads to the best relationships because the characters have been so fully developed outside of the relationship. For example: In the Harry Potter series it took forever for Ron and Hermione to admit they had feelings for each other, but the wait was well worth it for R/H shippers.
I can’t deal when a villain becomes attracted to the hero of a story because it inevitably means we will learn way more about this bad guy/gal. There’s always a reason why the villain is so bitter with the world, and I love watching that story unfold. One of my favorite examples is Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His crush on Buffy becomes problematic later on (that’s a discussion for another day), but it was certainly a fun narrative arc to watch.
THERE’S ONLY ONE BED
This trope is one of the worst clichés, but if you love the characters enough you can find enjoyment in their embarrassment. I’m not sure why two adults find it so awkward to sleep in the same bed together (it’s not like the sheets will miraculously tear off their clothes), but I guess nothing really makes sense in fiction land. This situation is hilarious on The OC when Summer demands Seth sleep on the floor, but he absolutely refuses.
LOVING A SHADOW
For this trope, a character has confused one type of relationship for another. The character loves someone because they remind him/her of someone else, or they are in love with the idea of being in love. I think Loving A Shadow fits Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby quite well. His infatuation with Daisy is definitely based on the girl she used to be. No one in that book is really living in the current moment.
This one sounds a bit weird: when a child (a teenager, or younger) has a crush on an adult. This doesn’t imply that the adult also has a crush on a child. It’s most often seen when students have a crush on a teacher (you’d be lying if you said you can’t think of at least one instance of this that you were ok with), but my favorite example is in The Time Traveler’s Wife when young Clare has a crush on adult Henry. It’s a quite complicated example, and if you haven’t read the book you’re probably very confused, but it’s an unusual take on this often-used trope.
I like to think I’m not interested in this trope, but one of my favorite literary love stories relies heavily on it: Wuthering Heights. This trope is when two characters desperately want to be together, but there’s always something (spoiler alert: it’s fate) keeping them apart. Catherine and Heathcliff are the perfect example of this super annoying plot device.
BETTY AND VERONICA
A trope where the main character is caught between choosing from two other characters with very different personalities. The name for this one is taken from the popular Archie comics series (Archie is torn between Betty and Veronica), but it exists in nearly every fictional story (hello love triangles). I really love Dawson’s Creek, so my favorite Betty and Veronica situation has to be Joey’s inability to choose between Dawson and Pacey. It leads to so much unnecessary teenage angst (and Dawson tears).
TRUE LOVE’S KISS
That one person who is absolutely perfect for the main character needs to kiss him/her just in time to save the world. There’s a great example in His Dark Materials, but I don’t want to go into details because ~spoilers~. Also, every Disney movie ever (but definitely not always the original fairy tales).
UNRESOLVED SEXUAL TENSION
Yes please! This could be my favorite trope. Two characters that have so much chemistry it’s practically jumping off the page—or screen. My favorite example? Ross and Rachel from Friends. R&R forever (even when they’re on a break).
SNOW MEANS LOVE
I know this is ridiculous and it should probably make me roll my eyes, but I totally believe in the romance of slowly falling snow (thanks, fiction). Snow = magic. If you loved Let It Snow, then you probably believe in this trope too. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is another example, and Lorelai Gilmore from Gilmore Girls is obsessed with the significant meaning of each year’s first snowfall.
Now I’m going to go watch fanvids of all my favorite ships. Let me know your favorite romance tropes in the comments! Let’s talk love!