#TrendThursday | Are love triangles good or bad?
This week’s #TrendThursday is about love triangles. I am going to talk about a love triangle which I am not too thrilled about (Maven-Mare-Cal) and one that I think worked out well (Gale-Katniss-Peeta). Let me know in the comments or in a post of your own the love triangles you like and the ones you hate!
Maven – Mare – Cal
At the moment my favourite Young-Adult series has been Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen Series. However, I have been none too keen on the love triangle that seems to do more harm than good for the story. *SPOILERS AHEAD* To be fair, none of these characters are perfect…by a long way! Mare is perhaps the most unlikable of female protagonists in YA literature that I and many others have read (generalization). She has displayed selfishness, stupidity and a lack of empathy over the course of three books. Despite being the heroine and lead character, she has divided opinion. I, personally, have seen past these flaws in the hope she’ll grow and become a better person for the experience and journey that she has been on. One factor that draws some derision is her agonizing over Maven and Cal – the love interests. Now that we have finished the first 3 in the 4 book series, it is clear that the love triangle doesn’t exist – unless there is a major revelation or turnaround by Cal in book 4. Maven who was probably the boy Mare felt something akin to love for the first time. That was before his catalogue of evil that has dominated the last two books. Despite all of this, there was a sneaking suspicion that Mare would see past all of that and try and save him from the evil that Elara has bred into him. That was until Mare asked him how much of it (the evil things) was him (and not his mother). To which he replied “Enough.” That one word effectively tore away any chance of them being together (I hope!). And in regards to Cal, his decision at the end of book 3 was similar in impact to Maven’s, but there is still a chance for him to atone and change his mind in book 4. If he doesn’t we could see all 3 ending up with no-one, which would be a unique way of using a love triangle, if not to everyone’s liking.
Gale – Katniss – Peeta
This was a love triangle that I think played out quite well. *SPOILERS AHEAD* There was obviously going to be some conflict in terms of Katniss’ heart, as she decides between a boy who grew up with her and is probably her first love. And Peeta, whom she went with terrifying ordeals with, and also spent a lot of time in close quarters with during the Hunger Games. I can see why the love triangle developed well- Gale is the guy who shares a lot of common interests, including hunting. While Peeta, is more of the caring variety and he appeals to her happily-ever-after dream. The moment which Collins used exceptionally well to make Katniss’ decision for her was the death of Primrose. Gale’s military tactic that killed her, other youngsters and aid workers was a nail in the coffin for any possible relationship. This moment ended any chance, and also showed how far apart they both are when tackling an enemy, something Gale and Peeta differed on greatly. The fact that Peeta was Katniss’ choice was down to three things: Gale’s actions, the memories Katniss and Peeta had built together, and the fact that Katniss moved heaven and earth to rescue him. Collins’ love triangle is the ideal one. Just enough people want Gale and just enough people want Peeta, but in the end, she makes it obvious who Katniss will choose.
I think the author has to be very wary of the dynamics of the love triangle if it is to be successful. Too often the love triangle is included as a cliche device, especially by Young-Adult authors, as they know that it will create discussions about which couple a reader is ‘shipping’. As Maven and Gale have displayed in King’s Cage and Mockingjay, there is a watershed moment where they have said something or done something that destroys any chance of a relationship possible. The moment could be one word, a simple reply to a question that confirms beyond doubt that the person is not ‘the one’, or an action that goes against every cell of the person in question who is deliberating on who to choose. I personally enjoy having love triangles in fiction, as it adds a dynamic to the story, not every story, but ones where it can be a useful device and that avoids messing up the central narrative.
Next week’s topic | Summer releases that I’m excited for… (25th May 2017)
The Humpo Show | Richard