If there is one thing I can't stand in a book, it's unnecessary, cheesy, fairytale romances. I decided to google certain instances to see what others thought about romantic subplots in movies and what was commonly considered as good or bad. I found a very interesting article from Geek Den, which covered everything from Anakin and Padme from Star Wars to Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. This is a response to an article I found :

From geekden.com : Re: How to keep romantic subplots from killing a movie
Posted By geekmom 1 February 12, 2010 03:31:47 PM
"This just illustrates why I never have liked romance novels, but a well-done romantic subplot in a good sci-fi/fantasy novel can get me all girly and tingly. (But not if the romance just exists so that the bad guys have someone to target to get our hero pissed off) When the romance becomes important simply for its own sake, it just feels forced and is ultimately uninteresting. And how about a few already-formed, healthy, not-on-the-rocks, not-heading-towards-divorce-but-the-events-of-the-movie-will-show-us-how-much-we-truly-love-each-other romances? Those can be interesting too, Hollywood!"

Bravo, geekmom1! I'm not exactly what you would call a fan of romance novels/movies. In fact, it's really difficult for me to even watch a trailer for an upcoming romance movie without gagging. Is that because I'm a dark and cruel person? Absolutely not! On the contrary, I am very much a fan of "fluff." I have my ships, my OTPs, and fangirl moments just like everyone else. Where I differ is that these never include couples like Edward and Bella (Twilight) or John and Savannah (Dear John). Does that mean I don't like the characters as individuals? Well, it does in Twilight with the exception of Jacob, Emmett, Jasper, Esme, and Carlisle (all of whom I am rather fond). I even like Bella's shy friend Angela, her quirky friend Eric, and her father, Charlie. Edward is okay. I don't really like Bella, but that's not the reason I don't like Bella and Edward together. Their romance is over-the-top in every sense. I don't mind the paranormal side of it. Paranormal romance is popular in teen fiction, but Bella and Edward just take things entirely too far for my liking. There is too much repetition. For example,  Edward worried he'd hurt/kill/eat her/whatever on practically every page. Bella, well, Bella did nothing throughout the entire series except sulk and nearly die. She is hardly a memorable character, nor does she contribute anything to the story other than a boring narration and following around a coven of vampires.
On a more realistic note, I find it nearly impossible to get through a Nicholas Sparks book. I don't think Sparks is a bad writer; on the contrary, I think he's rather good at what he does. His writing just doesn't appeal to my tastes, for like in Twilight, the romance is sappy and overdone. Sparks is capable of creating lovable characters. I found John Tyree (Dear John) to be a character I adored. As a reader, I didn't fall in love with him, but I liked him and found myself actually managing to finish the book because of him. I found the scenes between John and his father, a man living with Aspergers, to be touching and meaningful, where I found the love scenes between John and his love interest, Savannah, to be severely lacking. Savannah was just that : a love interest and nothing more. Perhaps it's my feminist nature to be opposed to this, but the girl did nothing except whine and wallow in self-pity.
So what is it that I do like in a fictional romantic relationship? I like when both characters have a contribution to the story rather than the predictable role of "love interest." I've found that even if a story doesn't contain a noticeable romantic subplot, romantic relationships between the characters are often much deeper and meaningful than that in romance novels. For example, in the militaristic sci-fi Empire (Orson Scott Card), I found the relationship between Major Malich and his wife, Cecily, to be beautifully written. Both had a major contribution to the story. Both were supportive of each other. They had common goals and they had differences. Their relationship was not perfect but it was meaningful and contributed to the book's character development and plot. I have similar opinions of the romantic subplot of Captain America : the First Avenger. For a "superhero" movie, the Captain's relationship with Peggy Carter was surprisingly heart-wrenching. Of course, in classic literature, Lizzie and Darcy's relationship in Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen) can't be ignored.
I suppose what I'm trying to say is when a romantic subplot is included, it's important to make it significant. If romance is thrown into a story for the sake of romance, it makes me lose interest. I think that, when used correctly, a romantic subplot can be a powerful tool for character development in a story.




 


Comments

02/20/2012 10:35pm

http://www.amazon.com/Enchantment-Orson-Scott-Card/dp/0345482409/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1329806010&sr=8-1 Taylor I am pretty sure that you would enjoy this book by Mr. Scott-Card. Loved this post as usual I agree with everything that you have said!

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