If there’s one thing that can ruin a good story, it’s a bad love triangle. We’ve all seen it before: dull, uninteresting girl meets hot boy, they fall in love, then an even hotter boy comes along, and all teenage hell breaks loose. Because what with everything else teenagers have to worry about(school, assignments, grades, social anxieties, friends, parents, peer-pressure, etc.) it makes perfect sense — apparently — for the most important thing to be going on in a girl’s life is to be liking two boys at once.
And why is it always aimed at girls? Why is it always the girl who falls in love with two different boys? Are these YA writers implying girls are weak? That they cannot resist a hot boy (or two)? Are they implying boys don’t have the capacity to have those same feelings? Why do these love Bermuda Triangles always pop up in YA novels — specifically YA novels that sit in the general genre of fantasy/supernatural? Isn’t it fairly insulting to assume all teenage girls want to pick up a YA novel and hope to read about another human/vampire/werewolf romance? Isn’t it more than slightly disappointing to pick up another fantasy book and put it back down again because the front cover looks something like this?
There is something these that specific middle-aged, love-starved, reality-impaired YA writers need to understand, and it’s that you don’t need a love triangle subplot — let alone a whole plotline itself — to make a book good and relatable to teenagers. Harry Potter was a brilliant YA series and there were no love tringles in the entire book/movie franchise. Skulduggery Pleasant was an exceptional YA book series, and once again no love triangles. And before all you Skuttle-Bugs out there call me out on the whole Valkyrie/Fletcher/Caelan drama, that wasn’t a love triangle. Not really. You want to know why?
Because it didn’t suck balls, that’s why.
So I’ve come to you today, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, to lay down my top five worst love triangles of all time. Hold your noses, because these whoppers really are a bunch of stinkers.
I’ll be ranking them from five to one, five being the most tolerable, and one being oh my god no.
First Love Triangle Tragedy:
#5 — Meggie, Farid and Doria – The Inkheart trilogy, written by Cornelia Funke:
This love triangle has been ranked as most tolerable because it’s almost understandable. Meggie doesn’t see the new boy and instantly run off with him. She falls out of love with Farid just in time for her to fall in love with Doria. I mean, it’s still a stupid and unnecessary subplot, but at least it is just a subplot.
The Inkheart trilogy is a YA series perfect for those who love fantasy and adventure. If you love reading about magic, travelling to other worlds, and ghosts, ghouls and grim reapers, then this is the YA series for you. (Yes you, reading this right now. Specifically you.)
Throughout the first two books, we follow the journey of Meggie and her father, both gifted in the art of bringing books to life. They read themselves in and out of their favourite books, helping save the characters from their horrible fates, and helping the good guys vanquish the bad guys.
And then of course, our leading lady, Meggie Folchart, meets Farid, the lovely young lad from a faraway land. They fall in love by the second novel and it’s genuinely heart-warming. I remember their first kiss, and how Meggie’s heart leapt in her chest, and how her world stopped turning for a few moments. I guess you could say they became my OTP.
(One True Pairing, for those of you who need stuff explained.)
But as the series goes on, you quickly come to discover that Farid is actually kind of a one-dimensional douchebag who’s more interested in spending time with his magic mentor than his actual girlfriend, and she quickly falls out of love with him. But before she can properly cut the apron strings, as it were, along comes Doria, the brown-haired, blue-eyed boy next door. His charm, good looks, and sweet demeanour captures her heart almost immediately. Come the last book in the trilogy, Meggie has traded in foreign Farid for dreamy Doria.
Why did I rate this as our most tolerable love triangle? Because it was realistic. It happens. People actually do fall out of love with each other, and Meggie handled the situation remarkably well for a sixteen year old girl. She didn’t string anyone along. She didn’t break any hearts. She was a respectable girlfriend through and through.
That being said, it was still a really stupid love triangle that added nothing to the storyline, and she should have never broken up with Farid.
Ahem. Moving on…
Second Love Triangle Tragedy:
#4 — Wanda, Ian, and Jared — The Host, written by Stephenie Meyer:
This love triangle is almost tolerable, purely for the fact that The Host is a good book, and also because the love triangle is only a subplot. However, it appears in my Worst Love Triangle list because it is indeed a clichéd, sickly-sweet, reader-pleaser of a subplot, and if it wasn’t there the book would have turned out exactly the same. Possibly even better.
The Host is a sci-fi body-snatcher story. Basically, aliens have invaded planet earth and are slowly wiping us all out by possessing the human race. At first the humans are unaware of what’s happening, and by the time they catch on the last few handfuls of humans have to go into hiding, and the aliens begin to hunt.
But wait! It’s not what you think! These aliens are a peaceful kind (sort of…). They don’t want to harm the humans, they just want to make them better — kind of like The Stepford Wives. For years, the aliens have been watching the human race murder each other and pollute the earth, and they decide it’s time to stop them. In their own minds, like any great villain, they view themselves as the righteous heroes. It’s one of those ‘who are the real monsters?’ sci-fi thrillers. (I can practically hear all the sci-fi fanatics out there rubbing their hands together in anticipation.) It’s original. It’s interesting. It’s a great read.
And then along comes the love triangle, just in time to ruin the whole thing. Let me break it down for you…
Before the leading lady, Melanie Stryder, was possessed by the alien Wanda (stupid name for an alien, I know), she was in love with a boy called Jared. Perfectly fine. Nothing to complain about there. However, years down the line Melanie gets captured while Jared escapes with his human brain intact. Melanie is wiped out and only Wanda remains. We follow Wanda’s journey as she tries to search for her Host body’s old love, and we watch as she falls in love with another human boy, Ian, on the way. With her mind saying Ian, and the body of her Host saying Jared, it’s a whole mess of a love triangle up in that alien-chick’s head.
I’m actually making it sound a lot more interesting than it really is, but basically she wants to bang both dudes and get away with it. When someone can tell me how that fits into a sci-fi thriller story, please get back to me and I’ll take it off this list. Until then, this love triangle is at number four for most tragic. Case closed.
Third Love Triangle Tragedy:
#3 — Damon, Stefan, and Elena — The Vampire Diaries series, written by L.J.Smith:
Believe it or not, before Twilight was spawned into dreary existence, there was a vampire love triangle that already existed. Welcome to the much better (if albeit slightly ruined by a love triangle) world of The Vampire Diaries.
When I first picked up the debut novel in the TVD series it was mainly because I was promised faithfully by a friend that there would be cool vampires, people getting their necks ripped out, real werewolves, ghosts, monsters, demons, and all sorts of other nightmarish creatures running around.
I wasn’t, however, warned about the love triangle.
Now, people that know me well know I can’t stand romance novels, let alone really corny, clichéd, eternal love stories. And I hate love triangles with a burning passion. So when I picked up TVD and I started reading about vampires and demons and werewolves (all totally my kind of thing) imagine my disappointment when leading protagonist, Elena Gilbert, falls for the hunky new boy, Stefan Salvatore. Then imagine my even more immense disappointment when she realised Stefan had an even hunkier older brother, Damon.
I’d like to say there was more of a storyline to it than that, but there really isn’t. The whole eleven-book series is all about who will Elena eventually pick, Damon or Stefan? It’s boring, it’s insufferably drawn-out, and it’s full of YA paranormal-romance clichés.
You have Elena, the popular, pretty, perfect in every way protagonist. You have Stefan, the noble through-and-through hero, who’s fighting against his inner vampire urges to kill. And then you have Damon, the cool, leather-jacket-wearing bad boy, who drinks, curses, and acts like a villain when he’s actually the nicest character of all.
It really is dreadful. No novel should rely solely on a love triangle to carry it along through a nine book series, but there you go.
Hey, at least it’s consistent.
Fourth Love Triangle Tragedy:
#2 — Katniss, Peeta, and Gale — The Hunger Games series, written by Suzanne Collins:
Where do I even begin to explain how wrong and inappropriate this love triangle is? In a story where all a girl wants to do is save her sister, why in God’s name would you ever need a love story to go alongside that? In a story where the basic plot is locking twenty-four children in an arena and watching them fight to death, would you ever need a love triangle? Katniss doesn’t even like boys! She doesn’t have time for boys! All she wants to do is look out for her friends and family, but along comes a cliché to try and build up an extra wall of readership from the love-story leeches out there.
Imagine a world where every year, every child between the ages of twelve and eighteen is at risk of being entered into an annual death match competition. Imagine a girl volunteering in order to save her sister from being entered into said death match. Imagine the only way for that girl to save herself in said death match is for her to enter into a romantic relationship with another one of its contestants. Imagine a corrupt world where the nation only wants the two main protagonists to survive so they can ship their relationship.
THAT’S WHAT WE’RE DOING.
(You know, minus the annual death matches…)
By including a love triangle into this story, you’re giving its audience the opportunity (and it’s not a good opportunity) to ship the characters. You’re letting them focus more on their OTPs and whether they support Team Gale or Team Peeta more than letting them focus on the real story at hand. The story isn’t about who will Katniss pick? It’s about Katniss stepping up to the plate, saving her sister, saving her district, and leading the rebellion against the corrupt Capitol and its dictator, President Snow.
Team Katniss all the way.
And lastly… yep, you’ve probably already guessed it…
The Fifth Love Triangle Tragedy:
#1 — Bella, Edward and Jacob — Twilight, written by Stephenie Meyer:
Oh, come on, you all knew it was coming. The terrible love triangle to end all terrible love triangles. The paranormal-romance-cliché to end all paranormal-romance-clichés. The crème-de-la-crème of supernatural love stories gone too far.
I won’t waste too much time summarising what this book series is all about, because most of us already know, even if you haven’t plucked up the courage to read the misogynistic likes of Twilight. Basically, a stupid human girl meets a male chauvinist vampire boy, and she loves him more than anything until a handsome (yet exceedingly thick) werewolf boy comes along to rock the proverbial boat.
Is there anything more to it than that? Not really.
The entire four-book saga (and it really is a saga) is all about leading lady, Bella Swan, and her eternal love for Edward Cullen, even though it can’t really be that eternal as she’s ready to drop him like a hot brick when Hottie McHotpants, Jacob Black, comes along.
Bella tries to convince herself and the readers that she loves Edward more than anything by marrying him (against her will, really) and having his vampire-baby-devil-child. And at every turn in this turbulent, unhealthy, abusive relationship, Jacob is there to offer her comfort and kisses, and to take his shirt off repeatedly for no reason.
Stephenie Meyer’s feeble attempts at an actual storyline amounts to little more than a crazy redheaded vampire woman hell-bent on killing Bella for reasons not properly explained — but it falls flat against the never-ending tragic love triangle.
It’s just awful, it really is.
Why has the Twilight ranked as number one on my top five worst love triangles of terror? Because it’s pointless. It’s dumb. It’s insulting to its own characters as well as its readers. It’s the main focal point of the whole series. It promotes an unhealthy view on relationships. Stephenie Meyer’s characters are bad role models for young readers everywhere.
So there you have it: my top five Worst Love Triangles. Let me know if you agree or disagree. Let me know if there are any other diabolical love triangles I missed out. I hope you enjoyed reading, and put it all in the comments below. As for me, I have a bed calling to me.
My bed is weird like that.
Seriously though, who even cares about love triangles? Girls don’t want boys, they want chocolate and dragons. Get it together, Stephenie Meyer.