Today's post isn't really about the cute and peculiar little German car above with its odd number of wheels. Although three can make for a much more interesting ride. Take love triangles, for example.
When I received my content edits from my publisher for Splintered, one of the things they wanted to expand upon was the two leading guys in relation to the heroine. There was potential there for a love triangle that I hadn't fully explored.
Later, a family member pointed out to me that she wasn't surprised they'd asked for those changes, because everyone was trying to emulate Twilight. She was convinced Stephanie Meyers started the whole "love triangle" craze in literature.
I kind of had to giggle, because there's literature dating back as early as the 1500's that utilized this same technique before any of today's famous authors were ever even born. One of the most unique triangles of its time was in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, where a woman dressed as a man, falls in love with a man, who's in love with another woman who falls in love with the first woman (thinking she's a man).
Confusing? Yes. But who could turn away from such a hot mess of unrequited love and wire-taut tension?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (1847) is a more traditional triangle, yet there's a paranormal slant. Catherine, Heathcliff, and Edgar were caught in a crossroads of passion that in the end transcended death itself. There was also The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (1909) with both the dark Phantom and the equitable Vicomte of Chagny vying for the lovely and innocent Christine Daaé's affections.
I'm not going to explore why love triangles work. It's obvious they do since they've been a literary staple in gothic romances and the like for centuries or longer (there are even examples in the Bible).
But as for me personally, the best love triangles are either when the heroine is attracted to both men for different reasons ... when somehow they are the two halfs to her perfect soulmate's whole, in which case she'll always be questioning who she chooses for they only have half of what she's looking for; OR, when one of the heroes realizes who the heroine is truly better off with and sacrifices his own happiness for hers.
Mmm. Nothing hits the spot like a broken heart. ;)
Here's a short list of some my favorite literary love triangles to date (including the two I've listed above) in no particular order, from classics to present bestsellers:
- Katniss Everdeen, Gale Hawthorne, and Peeta Mellark - Hunger Games
- James Potter, Lily Potter and Severus Snape - Harry Potter
- Stefan, Elena, and Damon - The Vampire Diaries
- Catherine, Heathcliff, and Edgar - Wuthering Heights
- Jace, Clary, and Simon - Mortal Instrument series
- The Phantom, Christine Daaé, and the Vicomte of Chagny - The Phantom of the Opera
- Sidney Carton, Lucie Manette, and Charles Darnay - Tale of Two Cities
- Sophie, Nathan, and Stingo - Sophie's Choice
Are some of your favorite third wheel love stories up there? Do you have some favorites in films? I'd love to hear of any that I've missed!