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?