Our obsession with love triangles: books, movies and hype

Twilight, Hunger Games, Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. These are just a few movie/soon-to-be-movie franchises that seemingly revolve around the the ideal of the love triangle. For some reason, we have an obsession with love triangles. Or love squares, if you’re talking about The Host. (If you don’t know, don’t ask.)

While all of these books turned movies, deal with love triangles in some form, I’ve found that regardless of how much or little the book actually centers around them, the hype for the movie increases it to a massive proportion.

Disclaimer: Twilight has no real literary value (as if you needed a disclaimer for this), the books and movies are blatantly written as fluff and the driving force of the plot is the love triangle. So, consider this the baseline or Agent 0, if you will, of the obsession that we have with young adult novels and movies.

The Twilight phoneme went from completely unknown to a raging monster figuratively three seconds. I’ll be honest I read the books a few months before the first Twilight movie came out. They were okay. Nothing genius but an easy read to get sucked into (pun intended). But then, screaming girls and Twilight moms trampled sanity and Team Jacob vs. Team Edward exploded to exponential ridiculousness. Friendships were lost and battle lines were drawn.

Now, any popular young adult book turned movie has been plagued with this tragic development. Take The Hunger Games (which, by the way, are the BEST young adult novels I have ever read). Anyone who has read them can tell you that the book barely even focuses on the fact that Katniss has two guys who are in love with her. Her mind is so technical and jaded that her final decision of who to choose wasn’t even based on love. In fact, it’s an afterthought that the author threw in at the end.

But because of the film franchise… the world is all “Team Gale!” “Team Peta!” With little thought to the fact that the book and movie is about children being forced to slaughter each other on live TV. So, if the book doesn’t focus on a love triangle, and neither does the movie, then why all the hype?

Because it sells. See Hollywood (that sneaky guy) learned that if you pit fans against each other, then insanity and sales will ensue. The world will be transfixed by the crazy women swooning over fictional characters, regardless of whether they hate the books and movies or not. Even if you despise Twilight, you’ve given it attention.

Now to the future. It seems as though Hollywood will stop at nothing to keep this hype machine running. Enter Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I love this book series. Yes, it has werewolves and vampires… but they’re the true-to-popular-legend kind. Yes there is a love story, it wouldn’t be YA fiction if it didn’t. Does it have a love triangle? Not really. But oh they will milk the inkling of a love triangle that’s briefly there.

Here’s a quick synopsis of City of Bones. Clary learns her mother has been kidnapped and she must seek the help of Shadowhunters (part angel part human race dedicated to the ancient fight of freeing the world of demons), who she never new existed. She then learns that she herself is a Shadowhunter and the rest of the story is pretty awesome.

But then there’s Jace a newly met Shadowhunter and love interest, and Simon, Clary’s best friend from when they were little. And while any love triangle shenanigans in the book are brief and I almost positive that we will soon be seeing Team Jace and Team Simon shirts, at least for the first two movies.

I’m hoping that this movie won’t turn into that… but you stick to what sells, right?

 

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One thought on “Our obsession with love triangles: books, movies and hype

  1. If you were to do something more with this, how would you focus it? How would you get the story about our obsession with love triangles into the core? You talk about Hollywood loving to pitt fans against each other, but these triangles existed in the original novels.

    By the way, Harry Potter, oddly enough, was not a love triangle story particularly.

    And finally, have you seen this:

    http://hijinksensue.com/2009/11/25/luna-nueva/

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