Tropes can be amazing or terrible. For me, most of the tropes I find “bad” aren’t actually bad themselves in my opinion. It’s the fact that they’re used so much and more often than not, aren’t done very well. Fresh, lesser-used, well-written tropes are obviously better than overused badly written ones, but that doesn’t mean that the popular ones are always bad – if done right, they can be amazing. Right now, I’m going to talk about romance tropes. I love romance like FieryxMoon (cover), but I didn’t talk specifically about them anywhere here.
Friends to Lovers
This one is pretty simple, and I think it’s alright. I just don’t need every single friendship to become a romance. I think a romance starting out as a friendship is great though – not every romance has to be “enemies to lovers” (which I’ll get to). A good friendship being the foundation of the romance is healthy. It’s just that sometimes characters are better off staying friends, and they don’t always have to end up in a romantic relationship. I feel that way about Neville and Luna, and I’m glad they ended up with other people.
I think it’s okay for characters to start showing some sort of attraction to each other at the beginning, and while, in writing, it could get confused with insta-love, the main thing is just to not have them completely in love with each other until they’ve sort of been together for at least a decent amount of time. I think Harry and Ginny might be kind of like this; Ginny starts out with a crush on Harry, and Harry’s just nice to her in general, then he eventually develops feelings for her, and they end up dating and eventually getting married. It may seem a little underdeveloped, while reading the series, and it definitely isn’t the most interesting romance, but if you really think about it, it’s pretty realistic normal human interaction.
Some people like HeroxVillain ships, and some people use this for Dramione. I don’t think the majority of good opposites attract have been done with a hero and a villain, but I do like Kylo Ren and Rey, to be honest. For the rest of them, like Dramione, I don’t think it’s supposed to be, like, a bad person and a good person. It’s definitely more just that one might be an introvert and the other an extrovert, or something like that, so Dramione doesn’t work with how Draco bullies Hermione, but Romione makes sense and is a good ship. Drastoria is as well.
Enemies to Lovers
Ah yes, a popular trope within books and in discussions. I think one of the first times this has been done was in Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”, in which I think it was done quite well (and I am not a fan of Shakespeare in general – it’s really hard to read – but that specific aspect of the book made it more entertaining). Benedick and Beatrice, despite being adults, acted like children and fought with each other, while also making it pretty clear they were romantically attracted to each other. They ended up getting married in the end.
I think Ron and Hermione are kind of similar, only Ron and Hermione actually were children/teens, and I think Benedick was more immature than Ron, honestly. I like how with Ron and Hermione, it didn’t start out as hatred/bullying. They just didn’t get along and tended to fight (and it was on BOTH sides – not just Ron’s), then they became friends and still argued, and eventually became romantically interested in each other (and still argued). The point is – they aren’t toxic. It actually kind of overlaps with friends to lovers, because they went from “enemies” to friends to lovers, instead of just the sudded enemies-lovers switch. It overlaps with opposites attract as well and what I said about it not having to be extreme opposites/hatred apply here as well.
Now I get to talk about Warrior Cats, which is where forbidden romance is the most popular within the books I read. It can be used to cause lots of drama and tension, and I’d say that’s fine, as long as it’s developed. It doesn’t have to be done to cause drama – it doesn’t have to cause any drama. It just has to be a nicely developed relationship. People say Warriors is too repetitive with this, and while I do kind of agree, I’m also okay with it if it’s done well.
GraystripexSilverstream was one of the first forbidden romances in Warriors, and while I don’t hate it, I’m not a huge fan of it as I feel it was kind of rushed and not really that developed. TigerheartxDovewing, on the other hand, is one of my favorite Warriors ships, since it took time for them to actually fully get together, and they showed their love and dedication to each other time and time again.
In my opinion, this can either be the best one or the worst one, depending on how it’s written. I really hate when it’s either something like “UwU I’ve fallen in love, so now I’m good!” or where the girl just “makes” the guy a better person, and the guy doesn’t do anything himself (it could be a girl who’s bad and the guy who’s good as well, this is just an example). It needs to be that the guy actually wants to better himself and tries to be better. The girl can encourage and inspire him to be better, too. I really like it when it’s the guy wanting and trying to be better, then the girl is drawn to him because she sees how much he wants to change, then she ends up encouraging and inspiring him to continue to be the best he can, and they fall in love.
This is how I see Draco and Astoria. In my fanfictions, I want to show that Astoria really admired how determined Draco was to be better, and Draco is also inspired by her to keep up trying to be the best version of himself. Overall, they really love and care for each other.
In the end, it’s mainly important for a good ship to be healthy and not toxic. It doesn’t mean you can’t play around with making goodxbad or enemies to lovers and make them work. It just means you can’t throw it together without giving it any thought. Healthy ships are good ships.
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