Saturday, February 12, 2011

Guest Post: Comparing Love Interests

Suey from It's All About Books is one of my favourite ever bloggers. I've been following her blog for absolutely ages and she always has something interesting and fun to say. I love the mix of content on her blog and I'm thrilled that she is guest-blogging here today...

As we all know, the love triangle thing is a very common and popular factor in many love stories recently, especially in teen romances. Some of us love this and get all worked up trying to decide between the two. Some of us hate this and think that the decision should be obvious for the main character. But either way, it's really quite fun to get on the band wagon and cheer for which ever "team" you're leaning towards. It's also fun to think about the two different love interests and compare them.

First of all, in doing a general comparison of two love interests, I've found that there are several characteristics that almost all of them have. See if you've noticed these same things:

-- Physically speaking, there's almost always a dark haired, dark complected boy, and a light haired, fair boy. For instance, in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Gale is dark and Peeta is light. In Matched by Ally Condie, Xander is light and Kyle is dark. Even in the classics this happens. Heathcliff is dark, Linton is light. Lancelot is dark and Arthur light. And of course, Jacob and Edward... dark and light!

-- Also, it seems there's one that is long time friend or familiar to the heroine, and one that's a new guy or a virtual stranger. The example that comes to mind here is Robbie and Ash in The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. Or David and Tamani in Spells Aprilynne Pike. In Twilight by Stephenie Meyer, we have Jacob as the familiar friend, and Edward as the stranger.

-- And then there's good vs. bad. I can't help but think of Stefan and Damon from The Vampire Diaries by LJ Smith. Although the lines do blur a bit, we think of Stefan as good and Damon as bad. However, I'm sure a case could be argued against that. I could probably do a whole post on why Damon is really good. But on the surface, he is the bad one for sure. In a complete flip of genre, in The Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, we usually think of Charles Darney as the good guy and Sydney Carton at the bad one.

King Arthur, Gwen and Lancelot as portrayed in the Merlin series

So, let's pick one of these books and compare more thoroughly its love interests. And because recently I've just started watching Merlin, a BBC TV series, I've been thrown back into my ongoing (though it waxes and wanes) fascination with the King Arthur story. Of course, there's a gazillion books and
interpretations of this familiar story but the basic idea is that Guenevere marries King Arthur, and is truly in love with him, until Lancelot shows up and causes everyone grief. To make things worse, Lancelot and Arthur are the best of friends.

In comparing the two, we know that they are both the epitomy of chivalrous knights. Especially Lancelot who pretty much defines the term. They are both big strong guys, with excellent sword skills complete with bravery and courage... with perhaps a little recklessness thrown in. Of course, they both love Guenevere... Arthur with a steadfastness and solid love, Lancelot with a passionate, throw-caution-to-the-wind sort of love.

The differences that I see are that Arthur is extremely fierce about his love of his country, his kingdom, and the knights of the round table. I think he puts all that above anything else including Guenevere. Lancelot, though he too feels strongly about his position as a knight, is more apt to forget his patriotism for the love of his lady. (In fact, he is from France, not Britain, which perhaps makes his loyalty to Arthur suspect in the first place.) To Guenevere, Arthur represents the familiar and safe route, while Lancelot is the exciting, passionate, adventurous path. And we all know which one she ends up with, much to the destruction of all!

How would you compare Arthur and Lancelot? What are your favorite books that tell their tale? Which other love interests do you think it would be fun to compare and contrast against each other?

Thank you so much Suey, for such a fascinating and interesting post! Read more from Suey at her wonderful blog, It's All About Books!


  1. Ah, there are endless possibilities in the love triangle comparisons! Great post from a favorite blogger of mine, too.

  2. Good post Suey. The love triangle...that is what can help make a good story, but only if it is done well. ::Sigh::

    King Arthur, I forgot to mention to you, I am too watching Merlin. I saw on one of your other posts that you started the series. I am watching it with my 11 year old, and we are liking the series a lot. I really like the legend though, but have not read too much in way of it. I need to read on with Helen Hollick's series, and I know there are more but not coming to mind right now.

    Other love interests to compare and contrast? Hmmm...I am going to think about your question for a bit because I am coming up empty for an answer.

  3. I never liked Lancelot. Gerald Morris did my favorite Lancelot -- my favorite because he had plainly realized he had been a jerk, and stopped it. Mostly I just think Lancelot's a bad person, and I don't appreciate attempts to act like he and Guinevere were behaving appropriately.

  4. I really, really loved this post! Thank you Suey for this!


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