It’s almost Valentine’s Day, and that means it’s the best time of year to indulge in some romance! To mark the occasion, I went through some of the romantic tropes on TV Tropes and put together a list of my favorites. So to help inspire your romantic creativity for Valentine’s Day, here’s a list of my top five romance tropes. Enjoy!
1) The Power of Love
Of all the romantic tropes I’ve ever seen in fiction, The Power of Love is by far my favorite. It’s the main reason romance has always been one of my favorite genres. I have a weakness for stories in which love triumphs over hate and helps characters grow and change for the better. Call me a hopeless romantic, but I honestly believe that love can indeed conquer all. This one doesn’t even have to be a romantic trope, as love comes in many forms, none of which are necessarily the strongest or most influential of all. Whether it’s the healing magic of True Love’s Kiss or the driving force behind a mother and father‘s protection of their children, The Power of Love can change the world!
2) Love at First Sight
I admit it’s ironic that this trope is on my list given that I’m not sure I completely believe it can happen in real life, but I absolutely love reading about true love at first sight in fiction, especially when it works out in the end. There’s just something so uplifting about the idea of two people instantly connecting on a spiritual level and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that they’re meant to be together. Love at First Sight can go either way: the couple may really be perfect for each other and eventually earn a Happily Ever After, or they may simply be sharing a passion that’s doomed to burn out (in which case it’s really more of an infatuation at first sight).
Of course, if the two lovers are a good match but the story calls for them to be kept apart anyway, this can become a tale of…
3) Star-Crossed Lovers
Admit it, you knew this was coming: another chance for me to gush about Romeo & Juliet! The most famous Star-Crossed Lovers in literature (and the trope namers), the young protagonists of my favorite romantic story shared a passionate and dangerous love affair that was doomed to a tragic end. Though a strong case can be made that Romeo and Juliet were indeed soulmates, the sad truth is that their love was not strong enough to overpower fate. Of course, it’s still fair to say that their love did triumph over hatred in the end: by taking their own lives to be together eternally, they finally ended the feud between their families.
The tale of Star-Crossed Lovers is one of the greatest literary devices that can demonstrate the powerful contrasts between love and hate, and that’s probably what makes it one of the most enduring plot structures in the history of romantic fiction. It seems no matter how many times this tragic story is retold, Romeo & Juliet never gets old!
4) Childhood Friend Romance
On the other side of the love spectrum, we can also see two people who have known each other their whole lives but who only develop feelings for each other in maturity. Some of my favorite love stories involve a Childhood Friend Romance, a story about characters who’s affection for one another started at a young age and eventually became the foundation for a solid loving relationship (my favorite example is the seven-book buildup to the relationship between Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley).
It doesn’t have to be a romance that began in childhood, of course; my parents, who met in their young adult years, are a perfect example of how any relationship that started as friendship can blossom into everlasting love. Still, there’s something about a story of two lovers who were meant to be together since childhood that warms my heart every time. Can you say “D’awww”?
5) Babies Ever After
Whether two characters fell in love at first sight or grew to love each other over time, a happy ending is a happy ending, and my favorite kind of happy ending is one that keeps on going. I don’t know about you, but I’m not always satisfied with just “and they lived happily ever after, The End”; I want to see what happens next! That’s why I love a good epilogue, especially one that shows the main characters in the future with children of their own!
I’ve made it only too clear in the past how much I love the Babies Ever After trope: the most popular story I’ve ever written is a second-generation fanfiction set in the universe of my favorite video game characters. The idea of the canon characters having families in the future was so fascinating to me that I just couldn’t resist writing my own story about it! Not that I have anything against the choice not to have children; I just happen to have a soft spot for family love and next-generation characters. May the stories live on!
What about you? What are your favorite romantic tropes?