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?