Spoilers for ships/otps in A Court of Thorns and Roses/Shatter Me trilogies ahead!
Ah, love triangles. So easily able to manipulate our emotions, to have us grab signs and megaphones to proclaim our love for Hot Guy 1 (HG1), use all the gifs and CAPS and bold to show how perfect he is, while running at Hot Guy 2 (HG2) with pitchforks and knives, bashing on how horrible he is, and now bent he is on ruining out perfect OTP.
From what I’ve seen, there seems to be a few common ways to resolve love triangles.
- Kill HG2
- Resolve it peacefully, leaving half the fans on the losing side of HG2
- Turn HG2 into a complete monster so that EVERYONE will be on the side of HG1
Honestly, all of these ways annoy me. I just don’t like love triangles in general. (Along with most of the bookish community I’m sure). But lately, the one that’s been annoying me most of all is Method 3.
I’ve seen this in several books. (Need, Hunger Games, Shatter Me, A Court of Thorns and Roses, etc). But I’d never seen it done to such a severe degree as Sarah J Maas used it in A Court of Mist and Fury, to such a degree that it infuriated me. Tamlin infuriated me, of course. I was sick of his abusive nature, I hated how he treated Feyre. But even more than that, I was infuriated by how Sarah J Maas treated Tamlin,
In book one, it seems like most people ship Tamlin, the magical faerie, while Rhys is made out to be a cruel and manipulative. And then in book two, that’s completely turned around, with Tamlin turning into a horrible monster. And then everyone loves Rhys and hates Tamlin and that’s that.
The first thing that annoys me about this is how uncharacteristic/unrealistic it seems. SJM set up Tamlin’s personality in ACOTAR, and then in ACOMAF his behavior is COMPLETELY different. I know some people say that they found Tamlin to be a bit overprotective in the first book, but he really seemed a good guy at heart. A person who cared about his court, a great friend to Lucien, a person who would save Feyre when it meant dooming himself. And then we find out that he’s willing to sell out all of Prythian to Hybern, to be involved in schemes with Feyre’s sisters, to be a complete jerk to Feyre and Lucian and his entire court? It just seems so…inconsistant.
I found this also with Adam and Warner in Shatter Me. I found Adam to be really caring in the first book–adorable with his brother! And then we suddenly find out that he would rather Juliette dead than with Warner? It just doesn’t line up.
My next issue with this is that it feels manipulative by the author. When the author makes HG2 a complete villain, what other choice do we have than to like HG1? I feel like I can’t come to my own conclusions about the book and experience all sides; rather, I just have one guy shoved down my throat.
What I dislike most about this resolution to the love triangle is that it sort of seems to me that the main character ends up with HG1 because he’s so much better than HG2. Adam pushes Juliette down, Warner makes her better. Tamlin is controlling, Rhys gives her freedom. It feels to me that the main character is really just ending up with HG1 because he’s so much better than HG2, not because he’s good on his own merit. I want to love Rhys because he’s Rhys, not because he’s not Tamlin. Would we still like him as much if he wasn’t comparatively so much better than the other one?
This is why, when I see people rushing after Tamlin with their pitchforks, saying that he’s better off as dead and they want nothing more to do with him or the Spring Court, I’m hesitant to join in. I love Rhys, I dislike Tamlin, but I can’t fully embrace this love triangle feeling as manipulated as I am. As much as I embrace the books and the fandom, I can’t help but have that small part of me still dwelling on Tamlin, not loving Rhys as much as SJM wants us to.
What are your thoughts on authors making one person in a love triangle turn into a sort of “villain?” On Sarah J Maas’s treatment of Tamlin? I’m super interested to know, so leave a comment down below and let’s discuss 🙂