Sunday, October 27, 2013

Love Triangles: Paving the Road to Hell since 2008?

Actually, the road to hell is paved with frozen door to door salesmen, but let's gloss over that. 
Obligatory "Good Omens" reference aside, a lot of people think that love triangles are a creation of the devil, going as far as not reading books that have a love triangle in it.
I can't help but wonder why. Love triangles aren't exactly the most original plot device ever, and yeah, the characters they feature tend to be carbon copies of each other: there's the blank slate girl whose poor, poor heart is being torn apart by the terrible pain of loving two guys, the witty, narcissistic guy with a heart of gold and his sweet and supportive rival. 
But the problem with that doesn't lie with the love triangle itself: these characters taken singularly would still be flat and uninteresting, and often they are like that in novels that don't have a love triangle at all. 
Another issue people take with love triangles is that they are a way to create cheap drama instead of focusing on the actual plot. 
And while it's true in some cases, I think that most of the time it's not like that. Novels like Wings, where it was really obnoxious and make me want to toss the book across the room, are pretty rare.
Most of the time, love triangles are done quite subtly, so that they don't distract the reader from the story too much, or they are actually done well. Alright, the only love triangle in YA I actually like is the one in the Infernal Devices, which has a certain arthurian flavor to it. What I liked about it was the affection that bound the two guys, which made it a lot more interesting than it would have been otherwise.
At the end of the day love triangles aren't all that bad. Sure, most books don't really benefit from them, but they don't usually make the novel worse either.
What do you guys think about love triangles? Let me know in the comments!

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