Today we're happy to have Kris from Voracious YAppetite giving us a delicious view of the Supernatural Love Triangle.
If you’re a fan of YA supernatural romance (like me), then you’re familiar with the basic tried-and-true formula: human girl meets mysterious supernatural boy, they fall in love; danger, disaster, and lots of cheesy-but-swoon-worthy scenes ensue.
In a lot of cases, though, the human girl meets and falls for not one boy, but TWO. Evidently, one hot alpha stud isn’t enough -- authors keep writing love triangles, and we fans of the genre keep eating it up.
Yup, love triangles are all the rage in supernatural YA these days, and for good reason:
- Nothing says romantic literary escapism like two boys fighting over one girl -- it's all of the benefits of a vicarious existence, with none of the drawbacks of a real-life love triangle.
- It satisfies both camps of girls: the ones who tend to gravitate toward the bad boy, and the ones that prefer the good boy. (Of course, some girls will be swooning over both boys, and that’s not a bad thing, either.)
- Inherent conflict; with a love triangle, there’s no need to look outside the relationship for drama and plot --the “one girl, two guy” dynamic takes care of that. The author typically has outside forces pitted against the trio as well, so the triangle itself is the proverbial cherry on top.
- And the reason I’m focusing on today: teams!
Teams are a brilliant concept, don’t you think? I mean, they can do a lot in the way of generating and maintaining interest in a story by encouraging ongoing dialogue between readers. Readers talk to each other about what team they’re on, why the object of their team is hotter and better suited for the main character, what the author has written so far that indicates their “team leader” will win the girl’s heart in the end, yadda yadda.
How many times have you seen “Team So-and-So” buttons on a blog’s sidebar? Read comments on a blog post about a certain book that say “Team So-and-So all the way!” or “Sorry, I’m Team _____, not Team _____.” I leave comments like that all the time! (And if you’re a supernatural romance fan, you’re probably guilty of this, too.)
Declaring what team you’re on and why is common, encouraged, and (usually) completely good-natured. (I’ve never witnessed people getting upset when debating which love interest they like best, although I’ve heard that it happens. But that’s another story for another time.)
Teams are an easy, fun way for fans of the same book to connect, interact, and discuss the book. It’s exciting, too, to represent your team and build a sense of camaraderie with other readers who are on the same team as you are. Sometimes this “team-building” is as simple as the blog buttons or post comments that I already mentioned.
But sometimes, it gets a little more interactive, a little more interesting. A recent example is the “Team Ash vs. Team Puck Face-Off” that author Julie Kagawa herself masterminded. YA bloggers flocked to the 4 hostess’ websites, commented, and drummed up publicity on their blogs and Twitter accounts. Pretty smart and effective way to rekindle existing fans’ interest as well as draw potential readers to the book, wouldn’t you say?
Also, once a book is popular and its fan-based teams become widely known, merchandise pops up. (Hello, Benjamin!) From YA to Adult supernatural series, we’ve seen it all: T-shirts, coffee cups, messenger bags, necklaces, buttons, bookmarks…the list goes on and on. Fans buy the stuff or sometimes even make their own team-inspired gear.
The best example is, obviously, Twilight’s Edward and Jacob merchandise. It used to be just a specialty store thing, but now you can walk into a Target, online shop, Barnes & Noble, etc., and Team Edward, Team Jacob paraphenilia is everywhere. Merchandise is a great source of publicity as well as a money-maker.
Without teams, would supernatural series be as popular as they get, for as long as they are? Maybe, but I’m not convinced. Many supernatural series with a strong romantic element are based on the love triangle; it’s the catalyst behind much of the action and plot development. They inspire loyalty out of fans that I’m not sure would be as strong and lasting if there weren’t two very different guys to choose from.
Can you imagine Vampire Academy's Dimitri having to vie for Rose’s love without Adrian in the picture? Wings without Tamani and David? Wicked Lovely without Keenan and Seth? The Mortal Instruments without Jace and Simon? The Forest of Hands and Teeth without Harry and Travis? Eyes Like Stars without Ariel and Nate? The Darkest Powers without Simon and Derek? I could go on, but let’s just put it this way--can you imagine Twilight without Edward and Jacob??? Me, neither!
What do you think? Are teams one of the main reasons that love triangles in YA supernatural stories are so pervasive and popular? Do you participate in the “team mentality”? What’s your favorite love triangle, and which team are you on? My current supernatural love triangle fave is Richelle Mead's Rose, Dimitri, and Adrian -- and I'm with Adrian all the way. ;)
Kris, Thanks for visiting and providing such a fun and insightful post! And you'll find lots more when you visit her at Voracious YAppetite!