Today is another Love Triangle twofer. Head over to Jen @ YA Romantics blog to find out When Three's a Crowd: The Most Dangerous YA Love Triangles. I love Jen's insight on all bookish topics. Especially love triangles! Of course, in my opinion, three is always a crowd.
What do you do about the second guy when your love triangle series is ending?
Many series are releasing their final books this year, and if that series has a love triangle, the author must decide how to get rid of the One Not Chosen. Depending on the strength of the connection between the heroine and each guy, this is not an easy feat. It is made even more complicated, because both guys undoubtedly have their own supporters. No matter what the author does, someone is going to get hurt and be disappointed in the end.
I started thinking about the various methods authors have used to get rid of the third wheel in the triangle in the past, and I came up with a list of ten of them. Some of these options I've found to be more successful than others, a few have made me angry and at least one is so ridiculous I'm pretty sure no one will ever employ it again. I used the same key that I did in my Love Triangle Rule Book post, where the Other Guy is the loser and the First Guy is the one who gets the Heroine.I wanted to give examples of each of the ten options, but I didn't want to spoil books for people. Therefore, I've just sprinkled them randomly within this post. Only the first book cover for each series is included. I've also added a few extras, including some that have yet to end, and a couple that could be used in multiple places.
10) The love triangle wasn't that strong to begin with, and the poor pining Other Guy finally realizes that he's better off remaining friends with the Heroine.
Benefit: The heroine gets to keep her guy friend and her boyfriend and things are pretty much perfect for her.
Downside: I would hesitate to call this a true love triangle, except in the mind of the Other Guy. But this is the type of scenario that is the least stressful for me, especially if the Other Guy eventually snags a girl of his own.
9) The series began with the understanding that there is NO HOPE for one of the choices. Maybe he's dead already? Or dying?
Benefit: Makes the heroine's eventual choice pretty clear cut.
Downside: Authors rarely allow the expected happen. Also this method can only be used if the series is set up for it.
8) A fourth person is found for the Other Guy to love. Introduce another character better suited to the losing guy.
Benefit: Now everyone's happy!
Downside: Depending on the strength of the Other Guy's feelings for the Heroine, it could be difficult to make this believable.
7) The Other Guy is actually the villain. The Heroine won't choose the guy who betrays her.
Benefit: If done correctly, this could lessen reader's sympathy for the losing guy, and also make for an intriguing and complicated storyline.
Downside: The author has to make the Other Guy suspicious from the beginning, and be careful not to make his behavior seem out of character for him. Even so, there will always be people who don't buy it, or love him anyway.
6) The Heroine makes a clean break and leaves the Other Guy heartbroken and alone.
Benefit: Let's face it, unless the Other Guy is a jerk, this is only satisfying if the loser gets his own book/series - and girl - later on. And even if he is a jerk, it's rarely satisfying. But this is a pretty realistic life scenario, especially in the immediate future.
Downside: Depending on the strength of the Heroine's attachment to the Other Guy, it may cause her to appear mean and unsympathetic. Also, a lot of paranormal series enjoy promoting the you-are-the-only-person-I-will-ever-love-ever model, and in that case, the loser's fate is even worse, because he is destined to pine away for all eternity.
5) The Heroine and the Other Guy "grow apart."
Benefit: This is a usually what happens in a Real Life triangle.
Downside: It is much harder to make this option believable in a book, and really only works if it happens gradually over time.
4) The Other Guy is killed off. He can't be a choice if he's dead.
Benefit: This is an efficient way to eliminate the competition. It also makes the Heroine's choice easy. If done correctly, the Other Guy could end up appearing like a self-sacrificing martyr, going out in a blaze of glory.
Downside: Some might see this ending as a cop-out, and the losing team certainly won't be happy. I mean dead is dead, so the poor losing guy doesn't get any chance at happiness.
3) Who says the Heroine has to choose? Before you think I'm advocating a threesome, what I mean by this is making the ending vague enough so that it sounds like either guy could be chosen.
Benefit: Has the potential to satisfy both teams, because they could use their imagination to foresee a future between the Heroine and their choice.
Downside: Has the potential to enrage both teams, as few readers are dense enough to fall for an ending like this. And most reader want resolution and to KNOW WHAT HAPPENS (or at least I do!).
2) The Heroine picks the First for now and save the Other for later. The Heroine chooses the First guy, with the understanding that the Other one will get to be with her at some point in the future.
Benefit: Win for all?
Downside: The poor Other Guy has to wait his turn. Personal note: this option is particularly rage inducing for me. I'd rather a clean break than to imagine one of the guys pining away for the Heroine until his turn.
1) The Heroine and her First Love conceive a child for the Other Guy. One guess in what series THIS happened.
Benefit: The Other Guy gets his own piece of the heroine to love!
Downside: Besides the extreme creepiness and WAIT! Did this really happen? factor, the Other Guy would have to be very patient while the baby grew up. And hope that she is a girl, who likes him back. Basically, we will never see this third-wheel-disbanding method again.
HOW DO YOU THINK THIS LOVE TRIANGLE IS GOING TO END????
What are some of your favorite/least favorite ways to get rid of the third guy in a love triangle?
**NOTE: Please be careful about spoilers in the comments section. If you want to include a spoiler, please write "SPOILER FOR + BOOK NAME" before you say anything specific.**
HA I love the sarcasm in this post, especially for #1! ;) I totally agree with you on all these love triangle methods, though. I feel as if they're all so utterly overdone and cliche. I'm kind of fed up of them all and am really hoping that CP2 doesn't go down any of these paths! *fingers crossed* Only 12 more days to find out, though! :DReplyDelete
It's so soon!! I'm gearing up for it and really excited, but as much as I trust Cassandra Clare, I'm still trying to prepare my heart for disappointment. I keep getting burned by the third book of a triangle series (I'm hoping this one is going to blow my socks off though!). Whatever happens, it's going to be a sobfest for sure.Delete
You don't think we'll ever see #1 one again? Lol. For me that triangle falls into the category of #9, I know he wasn't dying, but there was just NO WAY he was going to be picked.ReplyDelete
I know one of the books that reference #7, and I have to say it was done really really well.
I haven't read any books that have used #2 or #3 but I have to say that they would both really piss me off. There absolutely must be a choice. I hate open ended book endings. Every book needs a conclusion, even if it's one that I don't want.
HAHAHA! I know. I think most people are still in shock about #1. But I agree, it was always obvious that he wasn't going to be her choice. I like triangles like that, although I found him to be annoying at times.Delete
Yes turning the other guy into a villain can be really effective. I've seen it done twice recently and was surprised both times. But also wowed by the authors' ability.
Yes 2 and 3 are the ones that make me the most upset. And they have both happened recently. I agree, an end doesn't have to be happy, but it needs to resolve. Especially after a several book series.
I was going to do a love triangle discussion post but no one writes them like you. Love this one!ReplyDelete
I am looking forward to your post. I love doing these and will be commenting for sure. Glad to have another love triangle basher ;).Delete
HAH. This is a really great post. The only bad hting about love triangles is how a bunch of them end...I think my favorite is number one. Everyone is happy right????ReplyDelete
But I'm really excited and nervous to find out what happens in The Infernal Devices...
I completely agree! Usually I can stand the triangle until the final book. That's when they've been going wrong for me recently, especially if there's a lot of back and forth and if the author tries to trick you up until the end. I'm also excited about TID. Hoping it's going to be surprising - and GREAT!Delete
I am NOT a fan of killing one of the guys off (unless he's sick to begin with *cough cough*) I guess I just dislike love triangle endings that I feel are a cop-out. If you want to write a love triangle, you have to resolve it. You can't just get everyone worked up and on teams and then just drop the ball on the whole thing. No fair!ReplyDelete
I love doing these posts together!
I love doing these with you as well! We'll have to think of new angles.Delete
Ugh. I don't like when they're killed off either. Unless it's a guy that I find to be particularly annoying ;). Resolutions are a must! Especially if it's been dragged out for several books.
Team Jem, Team Jem! I am a sucker for the underdog...:)ReplyDelete
Another fun post, L! I love reading through these and trying to figure out which books and which couples fit each scenario. My personal favorite is #7. I definitely like those ambiguous villain types;)
I am slightly surprised about your Team Jem status. He's not as much of the bad-boy. But you do also swing for the underdogs, too. I'm Will, but trying to get on board with an ending where either one wins. Or neither!Delete
Love you and your villains. That's been done really well recently in two series I've read, so I'm actually a big fan of that method too.
I enjoyed reading this post so Very much!!! My favorite love triangle disbanding method would be number 1 in your list because of its sheer ludicrousness and hilarity! Amazingly thorough post.ReplyDelete
I agree, #1 is pretty ridiculous. I'm still surprised it happened! But it certainly was unique. Thanks so much for stopping by!Delete
Love triangles alway break my heart in some way because I always feel for the other person. I personally like when somehow they grow apart (like you said, hard for books but is so real in RL) or find someone else, but not in the Twilight way. Ew. I am dying to find out how the Infernal Devices ends. I truly love both boys and know either way my heart will get broken. But I am team Will. I tend to think that whoever was the love interest first is how it will go. Great post! :)ReplyDelete
~Sara @ Forever 17 Books
Oh I agree, Sara. They break my heart too. That's one reason why I avoid them so much. As long as the 'growing apart' is mutual, it can be really effective, and less stressful.Delete
I am Team WIll too! But Jem is also an excellent choice and I want happy things for him as well. It certainly is a huge mess. Cassandra Clare is going to break all of our hearts with whatever happens.
I'm gonna be the weirdo here and since I like triangles, I HAVEN'T read all of these examples, but I see some of them that I'd like to read. Maybe I'll stumble upon a series that will have one of them eventually.ReplyDelete
One of them makes me weepy, though.
I'm sure you're not the only person who's commented that likes triangles! I actually LOVE Infernal Devices (so far), and that has a HUGE triangle. I'm just being a little tongue and cheek about them here, and sometimes even triangle lovers find them eye-rolling. Is the one that makes you weepy connected to Chemical Garden?Delete
Would it be a spoiler if I answer that question? (That isn't a yes or a no!)Delete
I am laughing so hard about #1. When you put it like THAT....UGH! hahahahahaha! Well, wasn't that thoughtful of them!ReplyDelete
I know how much you always loved that development in the plot!Delete
Fabulous commentary on love triangles!!! So true!ReplyDelete
Hmm. I'm waiting for the next book to come at my library. The second book was pretty heart-wrenching at the end, except I really do love who she chose at the end. I think he does deserve some happiness and it was really the other guy's fault anyway. I still like them both, but will wait to see what happens.
Everyone is split on this question! But I agree that BOTH deserve happiness. I hope Cassandra Clare doesn't break our hearts to hard.Delete
hahaha I knew the last one was going to show up in your list!!ReplyDelete
I am waiting for some series to finally burst the stupid love triangle and let the girl date two guys. why can't we just have ONE polyamorous YA series? hell, maybe I'll just start writing it now...
YOU SHOULD WRITE IT!!! It could be the next fad. I can't promise I'll read your book, because that might set me over the edge more than triangles. BUT I guarantee you will have a big audience ;). Instead of sister wives, you have brother boyfriends. HAHA.Delete
What a great post! Number 2, in particular, sounds just awful! I'm not sure I've read one that ends that way, but now I'm curious to know which does...ReplyDelete
I have to say, as unsatisfying as it might have been for some, I really admired the way Richelle Mead resolved the triangle in the Vampire Academy series. (Which I think falls under number 6?) It was definitely not easy, and the rejected person was incredibly hurt (and made it known). It was also a risk to have Rose make that choice while remaining likable in the end -- after all, the guy she didn't pick was well-loved, and even though I was rooting for his "opponent," I felt for him! But it was realistic and, I believe, a brave way to write it.
PS: I just found your blog and I'm so happy I did!
I agree, #2 is pretty cringeworthy. UGH. I hope I never see that one again. That's one that's just implied in one of these books, but I'm not the only one who picked up on it, so I think the author was serious about it.Delete
You're right, the end of VA was realistic, at least in the short-term. And now he has his own series so we get MORE of him! Plus, I also wasn't too upset with Rose either, so Richelle Mead wrote it well.
I'm glad you found me too!
I wonder if any author will ever have the cojones to use #1 again. I'd laugh SO hard. :-)ReplyDelete
As far as Infernal Devices, I'm stumped as to how she will resolve this LT. Hopefully by doing all three characters justice. I really don't want anyone to die! I think that's the cheap way out.
I guess my favorite resolution is the most realistic one: the guy and girl growing apart. Second favorite is the clean break, broken heart. Then the spurned love interest might get his own series where he can have an even better romance *cough* Sydrian *cough*
I think if someone used 1 it would be read as a blatant ripoff. That's one of those endings that really cannot be done again.Delete
I agree with what you said about TID. They can't all get Tessa, but they don't all have to die! I hope that's one where the death doesn't happen because it is so expected. Maybe the boys will end up together and Tessa will be alone? So many different scenarios!
I agree, growing apart is a natural solution. And I love SYDRIAN! YES for more of that love interest.
I love your posts on love triangles, Lauren! Please keep doing them! :)ReplyDelete
As I was reading this post, I tried to identify which book each point referred to. I didn't know most of them, but, then again, I haven't read many of those books. I *think* I know #9 and #7 and #1 of course, but, as you mentioned, I don't think #9 is going to be so clear-cut...We'll find out the answer to that soon enough though!
SPOILER FOR THE HUNGER GAMES. Well, not really a spoiler, but I'm curious: is #5 supposed to refer to that? That's the
only one I could see fitting it.Delete
Oh I love this post so much! I had so much fun trying to think of examples that applied to each book, and I was really glad that I couldn't think of a book for each one. I'm on the fence about triangles - I don't hate them, but I also don't love them. I like to think that I'm neutral and base my feelings for triangles on each individual series I'm reading.ReplyDelete
I'm going to be really interested in how Tahereh Mafi disbands her triangle, and I'm scared of how Lauren Oliver ends hers. I've heard some less than great things about Requiem. I didn't love how Vampire Academy disbanded (poor, sad Other Guy) - even though I think you ALWAYS knew who Rose was going to end up with. I love that Other Guy is getting his own story/romance in the Bloodlines books.
Also, did you feel like Boundless had a hint of #2 to the ending?
hahaha oh man, i hate #3 and #2..... and yes #1 is just freaking creepy. CREEPY CREEPY CREEPY!! i think my least favorite is probably #3. choose a damn man! don't make us sit around and wonder or hope for the best! I NEED TO KNOW!!!ReplyDelete
i must admit that i am always up for a good love triangle when my team wins. i think it brings a lot of tension and passion to a story--- but only when it is really believable! i knew tessa could never love jem the way she loved will...... so i didn't even entertain the idea that he would win her over. that epilogue though--- ahhhhhh!!! I HATED IT. YOU CAN'T HAVE BOTH!!!! It doesn't work that way!
#1 had me rolling on the floor! I agree that it won't happen again-- at least, I hope it won't.ReplyDelete