Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Love Triangles: Why Do We Love Them?

Okay, so I've been thinking a lot lately about love triangles. I'll admit, I'm guilty of googling books before I read them, searching out spicy love trifectas. There's just something about two boys fighting for the love of a girl that makes me melt. For me, this crazy obsession started when I was about eleven, back when I couldn't get enough of the Saved By the Bell war for Kelley. Both guys were totally hot, in their own way, and both really cared about Kelly. I just couldn't choose. LOL

 From Team Edward or Jacob and the saucy love triangle in the Hunger Games Trilogy, creating teams is now the cool thing to do. My question is: Why do we love them so much? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Are you still down for more stories with them or are you gonna go on a book burning binge if you see one more? Comment below and weigh in.

(PS. Shameless plug time: Win Paranormalcy over at my personal blog: Reading, Writing and Waiting)



Shayda Bakhshi said...

I think I love them because they're the very essence of *conflict*, in the truest sense of the word. And when done well, they're also revealing, complex, and fantastic ways to add character depth.

Like in THE HUNGER GAMES--you've got two amazing guys, both willing to take a bullet (or two or twenty) for Katniss. But they're such different people, and they each bring out something different in Katniss and who *she* is herself, that the love triangle is much more than simply an intriguing plot device. Warring thoughts, confusion, emotional chaos, moments of brilliance--these are what the best love triangles bring to fiction.

And that's why I love them. :)

Theresa Milstein said...

I think triangles are tricky because it can leave the protagonist looking like she's stringing two guys along (Twilight). And it's hard to keep the guys from seeming pathetic if it drags on too long.

Like Shayda, I agree it's important that the men offer choices for the protagonist, like who she is when she's with each of them.

Krista Ashe said...

HAHA, I love the spicy love trifecta! I did go for an unusual love tiangle in TG, but I have a pretty usual one in the latest book I'm working on.

I think it just takes it back to that time when it was easy to fall in and out of love, and it adds to the tension and the growth of the character.

J.S. Wood said...

I think love triangles for high school age are simply part of life. How is one girl supposed to choose exactly who she wants at that young of an age when she doesn't know who she is? It's a great way to explore your character and provide opportunities for growth (as long as it's well done like in HG)

Plus is so darn fun to think of having two hot, awesome guys dueling for our attention ;)

Kaitlin Ward said...

I love love triangles when they work. I hate them when they feel plot devicey.

For example, reading TWILIGHT, was there ever a doubt in anyone's mind that Bella would end up with Edward? The entire first book was pointless if she didn't, and because of this, I never saw Jacob as a viable love interest, and that whole portion of the storyline held less weight for me.

But reading THE HUNGER GAMES, I didn't know who she would end up with--if she would even end up with either of them. I was (and am) firmly team Gale, because if I was choosing? No contest. But both were viable love interests. There was no sure bet. It invests readers more in the triangle.

I don't know if that makes sense. But I hope it does!

Krista Ashe said...

I agree,Kaitlin. I don't like love triangles when they're just a plot device. And Jacob was a plot device to occupy our time while Edward was away in New Moon.

I did like the love triangle in City of Glass and all with Simon and Jace. It kept you guessing what might happen.

And I agree that the Hunger Games trilogy is one of the best love triangles I've ever scene. Even though I was staunchly Team Peeta, I wouldn't have died if she picked Gale b/c he was so awesome too. But the way she masterfully unfolded the plot to show that perhaps at the fundamental levels Gale and Katniss weren't as compatible as Peeta and Katniss.

Melody said...

I have a love/hate relationship with love triangles, especially the one in THE HUNGER GAMES. I love both guys, they're both so different and, at different times, so *right* for Katniss. It's very frustrating as a reader to 'choose'. And, as a reader, we're expected to form opinions throughout the book, right? Usually, it's pretty simple, like, "I want this character to live, I want that one to die, that one should be matched with that one, we want this side to win..." But with Katniss' two guys, I'm at a loss. Perhaps that brings me more into the tortured mind of Katniss.

So, in the end, it's both frustrating and endearing, because instead of one guy to love, we get two. :)

Tere Kirkland said...

I like reading them, but I can never write them. I feel too bad, like I'm being mean to the "loser".

I even set up a triangle in my current wip, but it's turned into a love-T-square or something: boy likes girl, girl likes boy, boy's brother likes girl and keeps making things difficult for them.

So at least there's some tension there.

Janine said...

I love triangles because it is the ultimate fantasy--and like most fantasies, it would be horrible to really live through it. But in a book, I can imagine what it would be like to be adored by two amazing men! Plus, for my money, jealousy is a great way to heighten the tension and emotion in a story.

Horserider said...

I have a love/hate relationship with love triangles too. Like's been said, done right they can be amazing and realistic to high school. Done wrong, they can throw off an entire book.

I also worry that it's going to end up looking like the boys don't think the girl can choose for herself. I haven't really seen any turn out that way. Yet.

Another reason I hate them is because there's always a risk that they could end up with the person I wasn't cheering for. I'm looking at you HUNGER GAMES.

Debra D. said...

I'm a total love-triangle whore, I'll admit it. Especially when both love interest options are appealing, bc that makes it even more heartbreaking.

*is evil*