Musings on Fiction and Tropes

Making the usual unusual – how I fell for Paranormal and Urban Fantasy

When I was young there wasn’t much urban fantasy to choose from. I remember the delight of Which Witch (a story I recently read to my own children), and a multitude of children’s stories about witch schools (all pre-Hogwarts and all of which I desperately wanted to visit). I was an avid reader of Maurice Gee and Margaret Mahy, and The Changeover and The Halfmen of O were perennial favourites. I’m not sure I would call The Halfmen of O urban fantasy so much because, like the Susan Cooper Dark is Rising sequence books and C.S. Lewis’ Narnia, children leave the real world here and are whisked off to a magical realm. The magic happens elsewhere.

 

I loved magic. I so wanted it to be real. When we played witches at school I was always the witch. Except that one time they said someone else could be the witch. I wasn’t happy about that. #notstillbitter #okayjustalittle Continue reading “Making the usual unusual – how I fell for Paranormal and Urban Fantasy”

Musings on Fiction and Tropes

A good Romantic Trope is a Beautiful Thing

couple love handsThe beauty of romance is that while you know what the ending will be, it’s the journey that matters. This means that the tropes in romance can be reworked and merged and used again and again and it doesn’t have to detract from the story – sometimes it enhances it.  So what are a few of my favourite romantic journeys?

 

The love triangle is a bit of a staple in some genres, and it’s one I confess I find both exciting and frustrating. I prefer to not be constantly thinking the heroine has chosen the wrong person, and my innate loyalty means I dislike playing people off each other. That said, one of my favourite romances of all time is Bath Tangle by Georgette Heyer. The total mess everyone ends up in is entertaining mostly because you know right from the beginning who will end up with whom. Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is another such romp. Not so much a love triangle as a love jigsaw puzzle.  Viola’s unrequited love for Orsino struck a chord with me and I relished my performance of her speech to Olivia where she says she would ‘build a willow cabin at your gate’. It is both comical and tragic, but you know from the beginning that she will end up with Orsino. And therein lay its appeal to me. I like to know I’m in for a happy ending.  Continue reading “A good Romantic Trope is a Beautiful Thing”

life, Personal, self care

Tragedy, Heartbreak, and Healing

Love is easy to write about. It’s easy to read. We all want it, in some form or another at least. But what happens when your heart breaks? When it seems like it will never be able to love again? When you start wondering if you even believe in love anymore?

 

Romance stories always include a bit of tragedy, a bit of tension and conflict and misunderstandings to keep the readers or viewers desperate to find out how the happy ending is reached. But there’s usually no doubt that there is a happy ending to be had. We can watch the arguments and hurt without any real worry that this is it; the end of love.

 

Real life doesn’t quite work like that. Loss of love, especially love you thought was pretty solid, or love you assumed you’d work out and everything would be okay, is a wound to the soul. It turns your world around. Things you took for granted are no longer there, and with their disappearance goes a lot of your trust of the world working out okay. Continue reading “Tragedy, Heartbreak, and Healing”

Musings on Fiction and Tropes

The Romantic Hero – Has He Really Changed That Much?

 

Think about the romantic heroes you love. The ones from your childhood, the ones who formed your idea about what romance looks like. Now think about what you like today – how far have they changed?  Shows and films and books and tropes get tweaked, but I believe that, at heart, what we look for in romantic heroes has remained much the same.

 

The first romances in Western literature were those that stemmed from the chivalric adventure tradition, but began to focus on courtly love and devotion from the 14th Century. Familiar characters might include Sir Lancelot, whose love for Guinevere is legendary, and the tragedy of Tristan and Isolde.  From the late 18th century the romance had moved from the gothic adventure to a story with a female protagonist focusing on the development of a courtship.  The proliferation of the novel and the lending library and serialisation is likely to have had a big impact on the shifting nature of the romance. The heroes of these works exemplified the traits valued by the age they were in, but the fact that they still resonate with us says much. Continue reading “The Romantic Hero – Has He Really Changed That Much?”