Why Do Everyone Have to be Paired?

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Do you ever feel as though characters are always paired off? One character has a love interest, so the rest have to as well? This doesn’t always happen but sometimes I will be reading a book – usually part of a series – and I start noticing how everyone is being paired off. I don’t always mind but I can’t help but notice.

Can a character not have a great storyline and kick some arse without there also being a love interest involved? The instance that comes to mind which really inspired this post was when I read ‘The Lunar Chronicles’. This is a wonderful series and I am in awe of Marissa Meyers’ twist on these traditional fairytales – I mean, cyborgs as part of a Cinderella retelling…? Ingenious! However, it seems as though each new main character in each book is being paired off with a love interest: Cinder and Kai in Cinder, Scarlet and Wolf in Scarlet, Cress and Thorne in Cress. However, I do realise that Cress and Thorne are not technically a couple but I do think it will head that way (Cress certainly hopes so.)

What if Scarlet and Wolf were only friends? What if something romantic didn’t develop, but a strong friendship instead? Wolf could certainly do with a best friend. This would be different and something I think we really need in YA books: strong friendships, especially between male and females. I do love the books as they are and Meyer certainly did a great job, but sometimes these ‘themes’ jump out at you when you’re reading…

This even – I feel – started to happen in one of my other favourite series: ‘Mistborn’ by Brandon Sanderson. When I saw that there was even a developing love interest for Spook, I was like, “What, is everyone going to be paired now?” Still love this series to bits though, as this doesn’t usually hinder my enjoyment of the book – not usually anyway – but I just wonder, why? I suppose. Is it truly necessary?

What do you think, Dear Readers? Have you noticed this before in books? Does it bother you or do you notice but don’t really mind? Do you think it is necessary? Should there be more strong friendships instead of a number of love interests occurring in series?

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11 thoughts on “Why Do Everyone Have to be Paired?

  1. Ooh, this is a curious discussion. And… I kind of like it. I mean, as a reader, and as I grow more attached to characters, I kind of WANT to see them together. Not all the time. But sometimes it works great. I adore the Lunar Chronicles series and the way they were all paired off. I thought it worked well with the story and character dynamics — even though I can see how it might not be to everyone’s liking.

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    1. Ooh, I agree: when you get attached to characters, you want to see them end up together but I don’t always understand why there has to be a love interest.

      How are the edits coming along on your book? Finished?

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  2. I’ve definitely noticed this. The most recent things that comes to mind is Queen of Shadows, haha. I would LOVE to see more positive friendships of every kind in books. I don’t understand why authors are seemingly so reluctant to write them. I hate reading a book and automatically knowing who the love interest is as soon as he’s introduced, just because he’s a cute guy, or when every male character is considered a potential love interest for the female MC. *rolls eyes*

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    1. Haha, we’re back to QoS, are we? 😉 SPOILER ALERT. Do you see something possibly happening between Dorian and Manon? That would be interesting 😀 You know, this is part of what I loved about The Scorpio Races: in my review I’ve wrote how it is like a love letter. It encompasses love of all kinds: siblings, man and animal friendship, friendship and romantic love. Seriously, I need more of these characters and world.

      *Rolls eyes with you* wouldn’t it be interesting if the book started off with a girl/boy friendship and you think maybe there’s more between them but then it turns out nope, they’re just friends – and they’re okay with that – and one of them is gay? Has this been done…?

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      1. I was afraid you’d say that, haha. SPOILER ALERT. YES, fingers crossed. That’s actually the one ship I can get behind at the moment. I kind of love the idea. What do you think about it?

        Ooh, can’t wait to read your review. You’re so right. That’s one of my favorite things about The Raven Cycle as well. Minus the ani…no, wait, including the animals! I know Maggie Stiefvater has written on her tumblr about writing more than romantic love, and I think it’s great.

        I WANT THIS. I have no idea if it exists, but that sounds great. Or even if one of them isn’t gay, because that’s probably even more rare in the literary world. I bet Twitter would throw a fit about it, but I would be happy. I’m looking forward to Victoria Schwab’s next YA novel, because she says there’s no romance. Not that I’m opposed to romance in books, but it often takes over the story.

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      2. Lol. SPOILER ALERT I actually wouldn’t mind it; it’d be interesting as I imagine Manon would be a hand full. Poor Dorian, lol.

        Every time it looked like Corr and Sean might be torn apart, I was so anxious for him, lol. And that ending… I was like: AWWWWWWWWWWWW!

        I don’t like it when romance takes over the story but I do actually like some romance but as I’ve already said – don’t want to harp on, lol – I don’t feel like everyone needs to be paired off. It just annoys me when the love interest for the MC suddenly becomes their whole world. I want to read more from Victoria Schwab – I’ve only read ADSoM.

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  3. Oh, this is a good question. From my point of view it’s silly and human, I guess. I believe that book should always have something that give us hope and reality. I believe life can get really hard on you and you don’t get fary tales very often so it’s an escape and hope for some. It’s human. We look for something we can’t get in real life.

    I still love great romance stories but lately it’s all about the characters and the whole story. So no you don’t need it but every reader should find their own matter of opinion. I used to need love to make book intresting now I just prefer kick-ass characters, with or without a love story.

    Maraia I soo agree with what you said – “I hate reading a book and automatically knowing who the love interest..” having the same problem. So, I just look for something different.

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    1. Yes, I agree; it’s an escape from life. I haven’t always really been a fairytale fan, but I’m loving all the retellings that authors have been writing. Ooh, yes, I love kick-ass characters – a book is always better if it has a kick-ass character. 😀
      Thanks so much for commenting! 🙂

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  4. Oh, this is so weird! I was just having a conversation about this with a friend on the weekend.

    I hate it. SO MUCH. I don’t understand why all the main characters in a book/series need to have a romantic partner.

    What really brought this to my attention was Queen of Shadows. There was a desperate pairing off of every single character in that book, and I was so not on board for it at all. Not everyone NEEDS a romantic partner to have a fulfilled life. Some don’t even want one at all. So it was actually pretty disappointing to see every. single. character paired off with someone. Character growth can occur without a romantic subplot.

    To be honest, I would love to see less romantic pairings in books. I mean, I cannot even think of one YA book where the main character doesn’t have some kind of romantic interaction. I know romance draws in a lot of readers, but is it always necessary? I don’t think so.

    Great discussion topic, Chantelle! 😀

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    1. Omg, I totally agree! Not everyone needs a romantic partner to be fulfilled – so true! I actually didn’t hate QoS, although I’m not totally on board with who Celaena is paired with – I just can’t love that relationship.

      I do wonder though what message it is sending the younger audience reading YA? That you need to have a boyfriend/girlfriend? That you’re not normal or won’t feel fulfilled if you don’t? It’s just annoying to see.

      Thanks, Chiara! 🙂

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