Love Conquers All?

I’ve been reading The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson for a while now. To my defense, they’re three huge books. Exactly how huge is hard to tell since I have them on my Kindle. The progress through all three books is measured in a percentage on the bottom right of the screen. Currently, it’s just 56%, and I have no idea how much longer I’ll be in book 2.

During a recent reading session, I found myself in the middle of a familiar situation. The protagonist had to choose which of the two men in her life that she loved.

Up until this point, I thought we would avoid this sort of decision. The protagonist is not a typical damsel facing a fraught romantic relationship. She doesn’t have it all together, but her motivations are noble. She’s trying, and I think she’s going to make it in the end.

But then it happened. The run-away-with-me moment. The moment when she has to decide which man she loves more and act on it immediately.

I have to confess, I sighed and set the book aside for a moment. I get it. Love is tough. Sometimes loyalties are divided and decisions need to be made. Sometimes it’s time to move on. In stories, though, this sort of situation often annoys me. I understand that it is justifiable sometimes, but other times, it feels like it’s just thrown in for the sake of cheap conflict. Not because it’s the best decision for the story.

Or maybe it just annoys me so deeply because of my parents’ counseling background and the advice I grew up overhearing. Because I’ve watched struggling couples make it through hard times and be better for it in the end. Because I know from experience that the things that try to pull you apart can actually pull you closer together. Because some things are always worth fighting for.

In any case, it took me a couple of minutes to muster myself and pick the Kindle back up. I half breezed over the next few lines only to find, much to my surprise, that the situation changed drastically. In a nut shell, the run-away-with-me moment transformed into something true to the protagonist and completely satisfying. I was shocked. Pleasantly shocked. Brandon Sanderson hadn’t let me down after all.

So now I continue to read The Mistborn Trilogy with a new appreciation both as a reader and a fellow writer. Maybe other authors believe that, as the saying goes, love can still conquer all too.

Do you have a pet peeve in storytelling? Do these sorts of decisions drive you crazy too?

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4 responses to “Love Conquers All?

  • Anthony Lee Collins

    Pet peeves? How much time do you have? :-)

    The sudden insertion of a romantic (love) element in a story that was going along just fine without it is definitely one. I still remember that sinking feeling when I was watching The Matrix and the Trinity/Neo romance thing was suddenly shoved in there.

    Sometimes that can be true of family situations, too. The people who made A League of Their Own apparently thought that the (true) story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League wasn’t interesting enough, so they tried to juice it up with a (phony baloney) sibling rivalry element. It’s still a good movie, but that part of it was, as my father used to say. schmaltz.

    • S.B. Roberts

      :) That irks me too. When the story is based off a true story, why add things like that? How would the writers feel if someone introduced a fake conflict into a movie based on their lives and it ended up painting everything contrary to real life?

  • C.B. Wentworth

    A needless death of a character always bothers me. I understand that sometimes happens in real life, but sometimes it feels like authors do it just to add shock value. If it doesn’t serve the story, why put it in???

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