Saturday, May 15, 2010

Forbidden Love

There is something inherently appealing about a story of forbidden, or star-crossed, love. It makes you root for the couple who are in love but for whatever reason are not supposed to be together. Despite every obstacle that is put in the way of this couple, you believe deeply that fate caused them to cross paths, that they were supposed to fall in love, and that there just has to be a way for them to be together.

The classic example is, of course, Romeo and Juliet. But being a fan of happy endings, I can't say I like how that particular story turned out.

When I was watching V (the new series) recently, there was a moment when Erica and Father Jack were in a room together and you felt a little awareness. Hobbs walks in and makes a reference to it being a Thorn Birds moment. I was 12 or 13 when The Thorn Birds aired, and I can remember being absolutely glued to the TV. The story of Father Ralph de Briccasart and Meggie Cleary was the ultimate in forbidden love, but there was something that made me root for them, even at a young age. I really need to re-watch that mini-series as I've lost a lot of the details over the years.

The movie and book fields are filled with vampire stories these days, and what could be more star-crossed than a human and a vampire falling in love against all odds? One of my favorite such stories is Buffy and Angel. And unless you've been living under a rock, you're aware of the immense popularity of Twilight among the young and the young at heart. I read each of the four books holding my breath to see how things would turn out for Edward and Bella. And I watch and re-watch the trailers for the movies in anticipation of seeing the full-length films.

Duty or some higher calling often stands in the way of true love, as was the case for Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala in the newest Star Wars trilogy.

Love was forbidden to Jedi Knights, but Anakin would not be denied and he and Padme were secretly married. It didn't end well for them, but for the brief time they were together before Anakin started toward the Dark Side, I felt the depth of their love. I know a lot of people weren't particularly fond of the newer movies, but I actually liked them.

Sometimes duty will mix with some physical impossibility to keep true loves apart. Such is the case for Kahlan Amnell (the Mother Confessor) and Richard Cypher aka Richard Rahl (The Seeker) in Legend of the Seeker. Though they are very much in love, they can't be together the way they want because if they allow themselves to be so, Kahlan's Confessor powers (which take away a person's free will) would be unleashed on Richard, thus robbing the world of the Seeker, the person who is supposed to rid the world of the evil ruler Darken Rahl.

(FYI, I'm having a Kahlan Amnell costume like the white one here made for Dragon*Con. Can't wait to see how it turns out.)

Society is just beginning to accept homosexual relationships, but in many places it's still verboten and even dangerous to admit. Such is the case in Brokeback Mountain, the story of two cowboys who fall for each other but try to keep their relationship secret. Again, this story doesn't have a happy ending, but it's powerful while it lasts. It's sad that two people who love each other can't be open about it because they fear for their lives and know their relationship won't be accepted.

Are you a fan of stories of star-crossed love? What are your favorite such stories? What do you think is the appeal of stories of forbidden or star-crossed love?


limecello said...


Kim in Hawaii said...

Oh, I lost the Golden Rooster because I watched the opening scene of a Magnum PI rerun (I enjoy the shots of Hawaii).

It just happened to be about forbidden love. Well, I'll just go surfing without the GR - may I have a Cabana Boy as a consolation prize?

limecello said...

Trish! Oh my gosh you have have have to post a picture of that costume! I've always wanted to wear something super awesome like that... some day... for some reason...
As for forbidden love... well Pyramus and Thisbe - which Romeo and Juliet are based on... then I guess Tristan and Isolde...
Ok - so I love love love the "forbidden" love stories -as in "Oh no she's my best friend's litter sister I CAN'T have feelings for her." Why? Because there's all that personal introspection. And the angst, really, because since the love is "forbidden" the character must fight him/herself and overcome whatever demons/hang ups to make sure the relationship works...
And at the point where the character has fought him/herself AND the world... well you know that love is real, and will last.
So, not well articulated, but that's one of the reason why I love those stories.

Nancy said...

Trish, I do like star-crossed lovers. Cannot wait to see you in the Kahlan outfit at Dragon*Con. We must be photographed together. :-)

It's late and I'm brain-fried, and I was about to hit publish, saying that's why I couldn't think of such a story, but I got one! Striking Jaguar and Leah in the Nightkeepers series, (Book 1: Nightkeepers). He's the king, supposed to put serve the gods above all else, and she's supposed to be sacrificed to help avert the apocalypse. Just one little problem--they love each other.

Limecello, congrats on the rooster. :-)

MsHellion said...

I'm not a fan of Romeo & Juliet because they're teenagers and they don't have sense. And also because I don't really believe in love at first sight. 2nd or 3rd sight maybe, not first sight. (My Deerhunter argues with me about this because he claims he loved me at first sight. Yeah, whatever. Considering the circumstances, I think that's unlikely.)

But I *DO* like star-crossed lovers. I thought the couple from The Notebook were pretty star-crossed, and I was so happy when they ended up together.

Nancy said...

Kim, I loved the opening credits of Magnum. That show had a nice sense of humor. The forbidden love in the episode you're watching wouldn't be Magnum and his former wife, would it?

Of course you can take a cabana boy surfing. Try Lars. I think Sven doesn't like the ocean--clearly no Viking blood despite his name.

MsHellion said...

Awesome star-crossed references by the way! Great blog!

Nancy said...

Ms. Hellion wrote: they're teenagers and they don't have sense.

LOL! This is all too often true, alas.

I'm not keen on love at first sight, either. An inclination toward it, okay, but real love--no. Though the dh, like your Deerhunter, claims he knew on our first meeting that we were meant to be.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Sure, Kim, I think we have a spare cabana boy or two. :)

lime, I'll probably do a post about the costume and DragonCon, maybe in September.

Oh, good example, Nancy. Now, you need to get costume. :)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

MsHellion, I liked the couple in The Notebook, too.

I'm not sure I believe in love at first sight, but I like the idea of it, especially in stories.

Okay, I'm off to hit the hay. Check in tomorrow (oh, I guess that's later today).

flchen1 said...

Ooh, nice visuals, Trish, and yes, I totally want to see you and that costume, too!

It can be fun to read about star-crossed love (at least the ones with happy endings--otherwise it's kind of depressing...) because as others have said, if they get to the point where they decide it's true and worth bucking convention for, that's a good sign that it's important enough for them to make it last. Because while you might be attracted to someone right off, I do think it can take quite a bit of work to stick tight with them in the long run.

Have fun with the GR, Lime!

Jane said...

Hi Trish,
I'm not a big fan of stories featuring star-crossed lovers, but if I had to choose a favorite it would be Tristan and Isolde. The forbidden is always appealing, but it's the consequences that gave many of these stories their tragic endings.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Fun post, Trish, and GORGEOUS pics!

Well, considering the tag line for The Wild Sight contained the words "forbidden love" I guess you could say I'm a fan. :-P Actually, my publisher came up with that tag line and I didn't like it, but the fact that the H/H MIGHT be half-siblings is forbidden all right.

Actually, I wrote the whole 1485 storyline in Treasures of Venice because I wanted to give Romeo & Juliet a happy ending! ;-) And my contemporary couple quote from the play also. I couldn't resist.

Do I believe in love at first sight? Maybe... I definitely believe in LUST at first sight! LOL!


hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I like a little of the star crossed thing as long as I know for a fact there will be HEA, if not, nope, not going to go there.

Pissenlit said...

I love, no wait, love stories! But not Romeo & Juliet...I just want to smack them upside the head. Uh, can't think of any besides the ones you've already mentioned at the moment. It's too early and I haven't had any caffeine yet.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Fedora, I totally agree that I much prefer the ones with happy endings. That doesn't mean I can't enjoy a story that doesn't have one, but I can't take one of those and then need a bunch of happy ending ones.

Jane, I like Tristan and Isolde too. The movie with James Franco and Sophia Myles, anyway.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

AC, you mentioning your books brings up another good topic for us to discuss. What are some of your favorite romances (or books in any genre) that have what at the outset looks like forbidden love?

And I like your dedication to giving Romeo and Juliet a happy ending.:) LOL on lust at first sight -- yep, have experienced that.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Dianna, I totally understand where you're coming from. There is definite comfort in the knowing there will be a HEA for the couple. That way you can experience all their ups and downs with them without worrying that this is all going to end badly.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Pissenlit, I laughed at your love/hate dilemma with these types of stories. Can totally relate. Since you can't think of another, I'll toss one out I just thought of -- Jack and Rose from Titanic.

Pissenlit said...


Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog! It had both DOOOOOOOOOM and BOOOOOOOM! Sort of.

...I think I need more caffeine...

jo robertson said...

Oooooh, star-crossed lovers! Wonderful theme in a romance novel or romantic film. Great topic, Trish!

I read Colleen McCullough's THORN BIRDS long before the mini-series, and adored both. Something about a man in "uniform" LOL.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Pissenlit, I love Dr. Horrible! I have the soundtrack. :)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Jo, LOL about the "uniform".

Susan Sey said...

Hi, Trish! I like the star-crossed love stories where about half way through I'm thinking, "Okay, there's no possible way theses people can pull out a happy ending."

And then the author brings it home.

Darn, that's satisfying. It also makes me think I'm a tragic hack who'll never write a decent story. Then it makes me want to go try. :-)

Thanks for the little dose of inspiration today!

Louisa Cornell said...

Our own star-crossed lovers Lime and the GR !! Together again!

I do like the star-crossed lovers theme, but I prefer the ones that end with a happy ending.

I've performed a few as a singer. My favorite is La Traviata. Violetta, the older courtesan and Alfredo, the young man from an aristocratic family are definitely two people in a love destined for heartache. Great story and one of my favorite death scenes to sing. (only in opera can a woman dying of consumption sing herself to death.)

In romance novels I do like a love that seems impossible right up to the very end when the lovers decide to take that leap over society's barriers, their own shields and walls join their fates on what to the rest of the world looks like the tattiest of rafts on an enormous, stormy sea. The rest of the world sees it as a disaster in the making. But the lovers see past even the roughest journey to the paradise on the other side. Now THAT's the kind of love story I want to read.

Christian and Maddie in Flowers from the Storm

Kylemore and Verity from Claiming the Courtesan

Dain and Jessica from Lord of Scoundrels

Devlin and Madeleine in The Mysterious Miss M

Anna Sugden said...

Interesting post, Trish. You've made me think!

I like the idea of forbidden love/lovers who have to overcome almighty odds to be together. I can't stand sad endings - viz The Thorn Birds and R&J.

I can enjoy a film, but get frustrated by sad endings eg Atonement and The Bodyguard and Casablanca and Roman Holiday and Shadowlands and Remains of the Day and Brief Encounter. (I think that's why I'm not a fan of Gone With the Wind.)

One of the things I love about the movie Falling in Love is that it's Brief Encounter with a happy ending!

And, I have to mention Tombstone - there's a 'forbidden love' story with a lovely ending.

Another one that has a happy ending is The Ghost and Mrs Muir. Oh, and Heaven Can Wait/Here Comes Mr Jordan and the David Niven film A Matter of Life and Death. - kind of heard to cross the boundary of life and death.

And, for books, PC Cast's Goddess of Spring - with the love story between Persephone (sorta) and Hades - is fab.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Susan, repeat after me: "I am not a tragic hack." :)

Good book suggestions, Louisa.

Anna, I love Tombstone. I need to watch that again.

Christine Wells said...

Ahhhh, Trish! What a great post. I love, love, love starcrossed lovers plots! And I think they're even more powerful when it's not only some external force that stops them being together, but there's an internal struggle, too. Isolde Martyn is a historical writer who does lovely star-crossed lovers --- usually from different sides of a war or some other upheaval. They reconcile their own prejudices while they deal with those of their families.

VA, I am frustrated by Roman Holiday, too, but I do feel that the lovers' sense of honour would have been compromised if they'd gotten together in the end. Maybe they could have written it differently, perhaps that the princess had a worthy successor who was ready to rule in her place? But I'm not sure that would have been as powerful, somehow. It's still one of my favourite movies even though I'm NOT a fan of sad endings.

Nancy said...

Anna S., I also want HEA for the lovers, star-crossed or not. If it isn't there, I won't see the movie or read the book ever again. No repeat business from me. It also makes me wary of that author or producer in the future.

Caren Crane said...

Congrats, Lime! Kim, I hope Magnum was worth it (I'll just bet he was!). Since Tom Selleck let you down, grab a mustached cabana boy as a parting gift. *g*

Trish, I adore Forbidden Love stories. My favorite Claudia Dain is "The Marriage Bed" which is about a monk-in-training who falls in love and marries. Ahhh, Richard. So, yes, definitely forbidden love for me!

Even tragic stories can be quite moving, though I MUCH prefer a happy ending! I think in romance, it can be tough to pull off a happy ending if the lovers are truly star-crossed. If they are able to make it happen, there is often a huge sacrifice required (think Lord Of the Rings and poor Arwen, who became mortal for Aragorn). Great love requires great sacrifice, I suppose.

PinkPeony said...

Hi Trish...
I want to say I like star-crossed lover stories, but they usually end tragically. I'm recalling Dr. Zhivago and the my all time great but disappointing story/movie...Tristan and Isolde. Ugh! When the movie ended my mouth was gaping! NO!
And I take major issue with Roman Holiday! Gregory, Audrey, Rome and a Vespa! Why isn't there a happier ending??? One of you Banditas need to rewrite this so he gets the girl in the end!
Hope everyone's enjoying their weekend!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Louisa said: "(only in opera can a woman dying of consumption sing herself to death.)"

ROFLOL! You are sooo right! But getting there is ALL the fun. ;-)

I'm also with you in loving the novels where you just keep thinking right up to the very end, "NO way! They can't possibly be together." And then they are... AHHH!!!


Caren Crane said...

Louisa, you reminded me of Moonstruck - my favorite!

Copied from IMBD:
Loretta Castorini: [after seeing La Boheme] That was so awful.

Ronny Cammareri: Awful?

Loretta Castorini: Beautiful... sad. She died!

Ronny Cammareri: Yes.

Loretta Castorini: I was surprised... You know, I didn't really think she was gonna die. I knew she was sick.

Ronny Cammareri: She had TB.

Loretta Castorini: I know! I mean, she was coughing her brains out, and still she had to keep singing!

Deb said...

Hi, Trish. I like star-crossed lovers stories if there is a HEA, like Dianna posted. Romeo and Juliet needed a HEA, so it's a bummer of a story. And, no bias or anything, but I only do/read/like male-female HEAs.

Hubby says he loved me at first sight. Hmmm, glad he did. It wasn't totally love at first sight for me, but, ooh, he sure looked g-o-o-d in his tight Levi jeans, denim shirt, and cowboy boots when I first met him. ;)

Louisa Cornell said...

I love that bit from Moonstruck, Caren!! We always poked fun when we rehearsed stuff like that which drove our German directors nuts! We couldn't get through the murder scene in Otello without cracking up. BUT, the nights of our performances it was all poignantly real. One of the last times I sang La Traviata was a young American tenor. His singing was magnificent, but he brought the house down at the final curtain after I finished singing and collapsed to the floor (bruised my butt in the process)He fell across my body crying like his heart would break all the way through the last notes of the orchestra. The curtain fell and the audience went nuts. He was an awesome singer and an even better actor - not to mention five years younger than me, hot and he always smelled good. (Very important when some guy falls on top of you and has to stay there until the curtain falls!)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Thanks for all the great comments today, everyone. I was away from the computer tonight because I went to see Robin Hood with a friend. So good!