Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Star-crossed or Star-crushed?

Wendy Crutcher wrote an interesting post yesterday, and it got me thinking of what bugs me. In paranormals, specifically.

I'm not a fan of vamps (shag a zombie tick, ewwww, gross) and don't get me started on rhyming witches, but what really bothers me is the "fated-to-be-mated" plot device.

It can be vamps, Carpathians, shapeshifters, you name it; our heroine meets the hero and he knows. He knows she is his through telepathy. Empathy. Because he can see the world in color and has her scent in his nostrils. Tattoos magically burned into their hands. Sudden inexplicable lust.

Some deux ex machina has decided that our couple is fated to be together; nevermind that she hates him, his country, his family, the fact that he's always in danger and, you know, has to suck on people to live. Give in, baby. You're trapped. Besides, he mates for life, and can only mate once. And as time goes on, if you don't sleep with him and go through the Elaborate Mating Ceremony he'll DIE without you! DIE!! Do you really want that on your conscience, you heartless tramp?

It just seems like such a contrived situation; I'd be much more impressed with a heroine who falls in love because he's a great man in spite of his alternative lifestyle. And a lot of these heroines seem to be assaulted with almighty fate, and are somehow unable to consent, but also unable to protest. She'll sure enjoy her One With The Cosmos with him, though. Reminds me a great deal of the old Rosemary Rogers-type romances of the 70's in that way.

A woman who decides on her own, with no help from the stars, that she'll take a very big chance on the love of her life is waaaay more interesting than a victim who is pulled in against her will.

What say you? Does star-crossed do it for you or tick you off?


Mama Drama Jenny, the Bloggess said...

I love vampire movies. Vampire romances on the other hand? Meh.

StarvingWriteNow said...

I got sick of star-crossed with Romeo and Juliet. Let me make my own decision, stupid or otherwise!

I always figure fate is a shifting entity; each decision you make alters things. That whole ripple-in-the-pond thingy.

Everything going okay on the daughter-emostalker front?

Mark said...

What an interesting thought. Never thought of them that way. My wife likes the Carpathians though, I guess its the fantasy of being pulled into an Alpha Male against your will and then learning to enjoy it.

December/Stacia said...

I loves me some vampires, but I too dislike the "fated mates" stuff. I want to fall in love because of the person, not because I'm forced to. (I even played with the trope in one of my early books, where the couple was tricked into thinking they were fated, only to realize it was a lie--so "Chosen one" or not, they were Chosen because they actually loved each other. I had fun with that twist, although some people didn't get it, and the book otherwise wasn't great. I may mess around with the idea again one day.)

Robyn said...

Jenny, the Dracula with Frank Langella in it made me drool. He was so, so sexy.

Exactly, Beth. I don't like that Fate is set in stone. And emoboy got the message, thank you for asking.

Hi, Mark! I read quite a few of the Carpathians; but after the first heroine got turned when she couldn't really consent left a bad taste in my mouth.

DQ, I would have loved that twist! And BTW, Black Dragon was fabulous! Kind of a goth Julie Garwood. Great stuff.

December/Stacia said...

Thanks so much, Robyn! I really appreciate that.

Bernita said...

With me it depends on how it's handled.

Robyn said...

Of course, it's all in the execution, Bernita. I don't mind if a couple has a sense of destiny about them, or if they keep getting thrown together and then they just give in. I'm more objecting to "you must mate with him whether you want to or not" kind of device.

Missie said...

I left a really long, witty, unbelievably funny comment..then blogger wouldn't accept it. So now I am not commenting at all. Take that.

Kimber An said...

I'm with you. Maybe it's the fantasy of getting the love of your life without having to go through all the work to get it. Everyone has a fantasy, I suppose, but this one doesn't work for me.