In just about every YA novel you read, and sometimes in the Adult genre as well, there’s a love triangle. Let me define love triangle as something that occurs between the main character and two different people who are interested in that main character (did I make sense? I tried several times to generally define it). I never really gave it much thought until the Arcana Chronicles. The Arcana Chronicles has one the most heart-wrenching love triangle that I’ve come across (I may get into this as the book release for Dead of Winter gets closer; it just really gets me). I would not want to be Evie at this point in the story. Not at all. Wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Well, I poked around the discussion boards on GoodReads and a reader made the comment that she hates love triangles and she really wished that Cole left that out of the story. I stopped to think about it a bit because I never thought to hate love triangle, nor did I think to love them either.
I guess it’s safe to say I’ve always been impartial to love triangles (and let me be clear, the subject matter is the love triangle in general and not necessarily characters involved, capiche?). I think, in most cases, they move the story along. Another reader on the discussion board mentions that love triangles are all about obstacles and tension. Authors need something for the lovers to overcome, hence their popularity and their effectiveness. I’ll go a bit further and say it gives the characters involved something to fight for, something to show their struggle, something that allows their feelings to grow and in time, we hope proves, which one our hero or heroine truly loves (and while this is always debatable on some level, that is a subject for a different day). Love triangles shows how each character responds when they’re under that kind of stress. And then of course you have the overall plot. You know, the world-ending event, the impending danger or doom, the whole my world-is-falling apart story arch? Yep, that one.
Anyway, when our main character has to face the main conflict while choosing who to love … drama. And I don’t know if you ever saw that old football commercial where the ref explains “Drama, change the channel, drama.” (You can view it here). Hilarious. Anyway, that’s what I think of when I think of love triangles. Drama makes things interesting, keeps things moving … most times. There are stories where I think they over do it, though. Take Chose the Wrong Guy, Gave Him the Wrong Finger by Beth Harrison. I liked the story, but I thought the love triangle dragged on a bit and, well, I got a little bored. That’s when love triangles work against the story. I thought it was a good idea, too, I mean it’s not the first love triangle I read that deals with brothers, but this one, just a tad bit drawn out.
So, it really boils down to the storytelling. That’s the way I see it and the way I deal with the whole love triangle story line. After all, you’re kind of subjected to whatever the author makes you feel anyway. And while I don’t always agree with how the love triangles play out (I’m looking at you Charlene Harris. I know it’s your world, but really? Sighs. Yep, still cannot let that one go), I understand their purpose. And you know what? They work.
Now that’s just in fiction. Reality is a whole different ball game. I don’t know what I would do if I was the main character dealing with all the tension*shudders*, but that is one subject I’m staying away from (as far as reality goes anyway).
What do you think about fictional love triangles? Love ’em or hate ’em?