1. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    Love Triangles in YA (e.g. Hunger Games)

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by funkybassmannick, Apr 10, 2013.

    I just finished the Hunger Games Trilogy, and it seems to me that there are a lot of love triangles in YA. It seems like it's female characters that have to choose between two males, as we see in Hunger Games and Twilight. They both offer different things to her, whether it's a different view on life, or a different view of her. It's usually long and drawn out, and the female can't decide which male she prefers until the very end. Toward the end of Hunger Games, I started to wonder if she was just going to not pick and end up marrying them both. She kept saying she needed them both for different reasons, and they both love her unconditionally, why not enter a polyamorous relationship?

    Are they like I said, usually 1 female and 2 males?
    Why do you think they exist?
    Do you think a polyamorous relationship could work in YA?
    Assuming their characters were written to be okay with it, could Gale and Peeta both marry Katniss?
     
  2. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I never read all the books( I only saw the first movie), but I think that depends in the Hunger Games Universe. If it is a world where one girl can marry two guys, then that is how it is. But in real life, that would be taboo to people. Usually one girl can marry one guy.

    Katniss probably likes them both and couldn't choose one to stick with. But I think she should be with Gale. He seems more like her true love, and Peeta is just the third wheeler. She barely knows Peeta and he never helps her in the first book. She only said she loved Peeta to get the Capital people to like her for her survival. And Peeta barely knows her too, and he is more of a friend to Katniss. All he did was toss her a bread and hid in the bushes in the Hunger Games. If Katniss has to choose one guy she has to marry, then it should be her true love. !@#$ Peeta.
     
  3. Xatron
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    While Katniss was almost likeable in the otherwise boring (and best of the three) first book, she did a 180 from the second book onwards. I believe that the love triangle was the only reason people read the 2nd and 3rd book and more out of curiosity than interest. Katniss probably didn't love either one of them by the end of the third book, so even a nuclear relationship would be too much.
    But i get your point. I think polyamorous relationships wouldn't work in that kind of books for a number of reasons. That kind of books (hunger games, twilight etc) mostly attract teenage girls, and those same girls 99% of the times want the princess story. Meaning they want princess and prince charming ending up together after all the hardships.
     
  4. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    What I really hated about the love triangle ending was how she never chose who she wanted to be with. It just sort of happened. If anything,
    Gale
    chose for her by moving away. I think she should have made her own decision.
     
  5. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    A love triangle is a very common plotline through all kinds of stories for adults, too - not just in YA. I don't know if they're more prevalent in YA -- I've only read the first Hunger Games book and I read almost no YA. I suspect it's possible in YA for there to be more stories of love triangles because figuring out relationship issues, while they loom large at any age, can seem particularly all-encompassing at this age, and since the relationships are somewhat immature (simply by definition of the participants), and since they are in a social situation where there are very few truly "attached" people, there is probably more opportunity for the people involved to consider whether a different person is a better love interest.

    The stories are not always one female and two males, but I wonder if within the YA genre, those types of books that even touch on relationships are more likely to appeal to girls, and therefore more likely to have the girl be the object of desire? I don't know -- I could just as easily see a story with a girl vying for the affection of a boy, but a rival girl being in the way.

    Polyamory would be a pretty dangerous subject to tackle in YA -- a lot of people are very strenuously against it, so there'd be an uproar. Aside from that, I'm just not sure it would really work. In the adult world the vast majority of polyamorous situations are of one man with more than one woman. Generally, this stems from the male-dominated hierarchy, with the goal being for the man to have as many children as possible. There's really almost no limit to the number of children a man might have in these societies. Outside of these situations, I think it would be difficult to sustain a polyamorous relationship over the long term. But there are people who do it -- so it is possible. I'm just not sure it's common enough for a lot of people to relate to. It's somewhat of a tough call, though.

    And Miles -- with respect to your other thread, about male/female role reversals -- at least in the first book, Peeta was about as feminized as you could get. He was almost useless, and his only kill was by accident. Katniss, on the other hand, was a smart, strong, warrior. There's a scenario for you.
     
  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Goodness, I must have read a different book. And Miles, you can tell how much one loses from only seeing the movie. Plus, you don't know how the story ends because you haven't seen the rest of it. You may want to pick up the books or don't read my spolier.

    Gale did not choose by leaving, he was responsible for Katniss's sister, Prim's death. Katniss hated him for it. That was the end of their relationship. Losing her sister created an all consuming hatred which culminated in Katniss killing the new president. She was never consumed by love in the story, it was nothing like the Twilight triangle where everlasting love was the central theme. Katness was consumed by survival and talked often about not having kids given how tenuous their futures all were.

    In the end, Peeta's love for Katness proved true and Gale turned out not the be the person he seemed.
     
  7. GingerCoffee
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    I also don't think YA has a monopoly on triangles. If it weren't for two popular current stories, it might not even seem like triangles are common in YA.

    It's also common for triangles to have the two suitors who are polarized figures. And it can be two guys one girl, but it's often two girls, one guy. Usually we root for the underdog and one of the suitors is wrong for the protagonist in some way but has their clutches in, like a fiancé who's the wrong one for the betrothed.

    In the Hunger Games Peeta is the underdog, but he also has feminine qualities (he's shown as a baker in an apron, he isn't a macho hunter like Gale), so the reader doesn't root for him in the beginning.
     
  8. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    That's one interpretation of the ending, and a valid one at that, but it isn't clear so we have to come up with our own hypotheses as to their motivations.
     
  9. Jetshroom
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    Jetshroom Active Member

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    This is pretty much it. Love triangles are always a great way to add tension to a romance, but in YA romances it would really strike a chord with the young girls. As an example, take my Sister in Law.

    She's 14, and recently she stayed a few nights at our place. When she arrived she had 1 "boyfriend." By the time she left, she had 3. All she'd done was spend time on facebook, but these "relationships" were serious to her. Because, to paraphrase Zelda from Sabrina the Teenage Witch (TV show) She's a teenager, it's always true love.

    I think love triangles are used so often because you can add tension without compromising the relationship. The beautiful boy is perfect for her, but so is the scruffy scoundrel. You can more easily fantasize about these possible perfect relationships, rather than fantasizing about a relationship where the two people are in love but may not actually be perfect for each other.

    I'm not sure that there is a 'usual' in terms of 2m1f/2f1m triangle composition. Just different types of story. With 2m1f, the Girl can't decide between two guys. With 2f1m the Girl is competing for the Guy's affection. This of course doesn't take into account the LGBT factor, which comes up surprisingly often in YA romances.

    As far as a polyamorous relationship goes, it probably doesn't come up often because it's a fairly weak way of resolving the tension. That said, I don't think it would pose a huge problem in the genre. But, as Xatron said, girls like the princess story.
     
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  10. GingerCoffee
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    How was it not clear?
    She's asks Gale if it was his bomb and he says, "would you believe me if I said it wasn't?"

    It didn't matter at that point, they were so far apart ideologically there was no connection left between them.

    Love doesn't work very well when people have such different values as whether it is OK to kill innocent people for the supposed 'greater good'. Then when Katniss killed the President that was proof she did not see any greater good at all resulting from the death of Prim.
     
  11. chicagoliz
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    Great explanation. I think this makes a lot of sense.
     
  12. Terralala
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    I don't know how to do the spoiler thing so all I am going to say is that I took away the same impression from the books as you, GingerCoffee.

    Also, am I the only person who didn't feel like there was really that much of a love triangle in the books because we had Katniss's internal thoughts and that it was played up a bit more in the movie. I know a lot of people don't like The Hunger Games but I really did enjoy the books and the movies did a very poor job, but I didn't expect any different.
     
  13. funkybassmannick
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    I think you would need to handle polyamorous relationships a lot differently if you want it to work. Instead of waiting until the climax to decide, make it halfway through. That way, there is still tension and struggle as they adapt to it. But if it's left until the climax, then it really would deflate the tension, I agree.

    Gingercoffee,

    I'm aware of that part of the book, but that's only one sentence and is very ambiguous to how she really feels. She doesn't mention one way or the other if she forgives him, or really reflect on it to any level at all. While that's a valid point, I don't think that's enough to conclude with certainty that that's why she didn't go with Gale. In fact, when she does reflect on the love triangle, she never mentions the bomb specifically:
    She talks about what she needs as if she had still been open to a relationship with Gale. Also, this reflection comes after Gale got his job in 2, and after Katniss and Peeta start kissing and possibly make love.

    That is why I think she never really made a choice. The choice was made for her by happenstance, and potentially Gale choosing his job in 2, and she decides it was for the best.
     
  14. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    I am pretty sure it is because most YA novels are geared towards girls. Because it's a common misconception that boys of that age don't read. But the real issue is that there isn't enough books out there for boys that age because of this. So publishers don't want to take the risk, since their numbers say boys don't read.

    It's a viscous cycle.

    P.S. The love triangle in The Hunger Games was handled extraordinarily bad in my opinion.
     
  15. chicagoliz
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    Actually I see a lot of agents seeking YA and MG with male protagonists, to appeal more to boys. There is some belief that boys prefer to read books with a male protagonist. I don't think they'd be seeking these if they didn't believe that publishers wanted them. So the problem might not lie with the publishers, but with authors not supplying sufficient numbers of quality stories for boys, starring boys.
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    It wasn't only one sentence. There was a whole discussion between the two of them about
    the tactic of a second bomb set to kill rescuers who would arrive and then the public reaction to the deaths of the martyrs that would turn the public against the government and favor the rebels. Gale believed in the tactic and Katniss was appalled by it. The fact such a tactic later killed Prim was a HUGE part of the story.

    Think about it. A bomb explodes killing rebels. More rebels rushed in to help the casualties and Prim and her medical training put her in the front of the rescuer line. Too late, Katniss realized the rebels would use the tactic Gale and she had discussed and the worst came true, a second bomb killed Prim. The government was blamed but all the discussion ahead of time told the readers this was a rebel bomb intended to sacrifice rebels in order to turn the public against the government.

    It was an absolutely key moral question in the story. When the bomb exploded and killed Prim, the one person Katniss had spent her whole life protecting and caring for, all love for Gale was lost, irretrievably. They both knew it thus the statement by Gale that it didn't matter if he built the bomb or not, he knew she knew he believed in the plan to use the second bomb to kill people on their own side.

    At that point, she had no idea if Peeta had healed from his brainwashing and loved her again, but it didn't matter. She only cared to strike out and avenge the loss of Prim. Nothing else mattered, not Peeta, not love. The story was never about finding that one true love. Love was an undercurrent but by no means the theme of the books.




    No, I too did not think the love triangle was more than an undercurrent to the rest of the story.

    I'm curious as to how the second and third books in the trilogy are going to look as movies. I agree though, if one is going by the movies and not the books one loses half the story.

    As for spoiler tags: [noparse][/noparse]

    You may find this page of board code useful.
     
  17. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Hopefully that is changing. I myself am righting a YA novel that should hopefully appeal to both girls and boys. But I read a few articles about this in the past couple months and when I look at publishersmarketplace, it backs up the claims in the articles. Almost every single YA deal is geared towards girls. And every single YA film adaption lately is all books for girls.

    So whether it's publishers, authors or a combination of both, young boys have it rough. I hope to help change that.
     
  18. Jhunter
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    Jhunter Mmm, bacon. Contributor

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    Hopefully the second and third movie adaptions will lose the shaky-cam--that annoyed me so much.
     
  19. DeathandGrim
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    There can be a love triangle with 1 male 2 females just with the male making the decision on who'd be better in his life

    Some people just can't make up their bloody mind

    Teens all cheat

    Haven't read or Watched the Hunger Games couldn't tell ya
     
  20. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    :rolleyes:

    Have a rough time with romance as a teen, did you?
     
  21. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    That can work.

    Not to be sexist to girls, but it seems being feminie can make you patheic in a way.
     
  22. chicagoliz
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    In some ways, that can be true. Girls can get away with things that guys could not. That's one way that gender stereotypes/expectations can be harmful to both sexes. When girls don't conform to a "girly girl" image, that's usually okay with most people. When boys don't conform to a macho guy image, there seem to be a lot of people who have problems with that. At the very least, there seems to be less hostility toward a non-conforming girl than there is toward a non-conforming boy.
     
  23. GingerCoffee
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    Women don't have a monopoly on pathetic. There are more than few in both genders. :D

    Just my personal experience:
    That really depends. Assertive women are called aggressive, and that's crap. There's a small percentage of girls who aren't into girlie girl stuff, that's made it harder to find BFFs but I wouldn't say I've ever felt disliked by the girlie girls for it. I do think some guys are put off, but I've never had trouble finding guys who weren't. I've always had adventurous boyfriends that appreciated a girl who didn't mind hanging a hammock in $1/night shack in Costa Rica and other such things.

    I do think the less macho males might have a harder time when they are younger. But once some girls see that guys like Bill Gates have, er, um, other qualities, I think the imbalance evens out. I'm not talking about the female gold digger stereotype, just that intelligence and financial security increase in the attractiveness factor when one gets older.
     
  24. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    I guess this can cause the same problem to an army in the middle of a battle.
     
  25. Yotam
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    all related to the hunger games love story...(where is the "spoiler" option?) from what i understood by reading the trilogy and finally, katniss's conclusion. didn't chose peeta nor gale. she was so lost after the death of her sister (the thing i most hated) that she didn't care anymore about her love triangle. what come after was the peeta appeared by her side and with time gave her the thing gale could never give her, as katniss herself said...



    in terms of ya love stories, i believe my favorite one is "graceling". much more simpler than any of the few that i read, with less drama, teenage stupidity and all in one book.
     

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