Well, since Suzanne covered all the negative aspects of so-called “True Love” last week, I thought I would mention some good examples of real true love in fiction, as well as how they correlate to the Love Chapter of the Bible, I Corinthians 13.
Mr. Knightley & Emma
I Cor. 13:4 “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not, charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”
Emma, in the beginning of her story, was prideful and arrogant. She considered herself a matchmaker after one successful pairing. She became overly confident in her “abilities” and was eager to try again. Mr. Knightley, her good friend and only critic, attempted to dissuade her from meddling in other people’s lives. Despite Emma’s exasperating and somewhat disastrous attempts to “improve” her social circle, Mr. Knightley expressed patience with her while gently guiding her to a higher level of character. He was very honest with her, keeping her grounded to reality with his critiques of her character. Originally, she ignored his advice and went ahead with her plan, bringing heartache to everyone involved. Mr. Knightley expressed his disappointment in her, and she strived to fix the wrongs she has created. When Knightley returns from being away at his brother’s house, they meet, and after clearing away previous and present misunderstandings, he proposed, and it’s just so perfect, I simply have to quote it: “I cannot make speeches, Emma. If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it. Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you you have borne the..But you understand me. Yes, you see, you understand my feelings…”
Edward Ferrars & Elinor Dashwood
I Cor. 13:5 “Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; ”
Edward and Elinor met and became friends before she left Norland to move to the country. There was mutual attraction, but, both having reserved personalities, they did not make their feelings known. Later in the book, Elinor found out that Edward had been long engaged to another woman. She was understandably surprised and hurt, but she did not treat Edward any differently when they came in contact with each other. She continued to treat him with the highest respect and regard, even in the face of apparent betrayal. The situation was resolved when Edward’s engagement was broken, and Edward and Elinor were free to be together at last.
Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth Bennet
I Cor. 13:6 “Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;”
Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet’s story is one of the most widely known literary romances. His pride and her prejudice kept them from getting to know each other properly. Her opinion of him poor to begin with, but it was decided when she heard about his “injustices” to Wickham. Her dislike of him intensified when she heard of the part he played in ending the relationship between his friend Mr. Bingley and her sister Jane. Then, he proposed horribly (it really was a rubbish proposal, wasn’t it?) and she refused, vehemently expressing her dislike of him. After the botched proposal, he gave her a letter, explaining his actions concerning Wickham and Bingley and Jane’s relationship. Once exposed to the truth of Wickham’s devious dealings, she better understood and even somewhat sympathized with Mr. Darcy. Her opinion improved further after seeing him in Pemberley, his home, and seeing how kind and warm-hearted he really was. She was with Darcy when she heard about the scandal involving her youngest sister Lydia and Wickham. She rushed home to be with her family while Darcy went to find Wickham and remedy the situation for her. When Elizabeth learns the truth about Darcy’s actions concerning Lydia and Wickham, she expresses her thanks on behalf of her and her family. He tells her that he did this for her alone, explaining that he still loves her. She admits that her feelings have completely changed and she is in love with him too.
The 10th Doctor & Rose Tyler
I Cor. 13:7 “Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.”
“…if I believe in one thing…just one thing…I believe in her.” Of course, this is 10 talking about Rose in the the Doctor Who episode “The Satan Pit.” 10 and Rose sure went through a lot, didn’t they? Battling a myriad of aliens, defeating a werewolf, and the like. Then one day, the battle was won, but she was ripped away from him and had to live in a parallel world for years without any contact with him. Forced to go their separate ways, 10 went through two companions and many more adventures, while she started working with Torchwood in the parallel world to find a way to make it back to the Doctor, never giving up hope that she would see him again.
Aragorn & Arwen
I Cor. 13:8 “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”
Aragorn and Arwen met in a strikingly similar way as Beren and Lúthien met in the Silmarillion. He was walking in the woods one day close to Rivendell and heard someone singing. He saw Arwen, and not knowing who she was, called her Lúthien. From that moment on, she was the only woman he ever loved. However, their budding relationship could not be allowed, being that she was an elf and immortal, and he was just a man. He left the sanctuary of Rivendell to begin fighting in the war against Sauron. He returned to the elves, to Lothlórien this time, and was surprised to find Arwen there. They spent some time together, but soon Aragorn was pulled away from her again to go fight in the War of the Ring. He did not expect to see her again, the elves were leaving Middle-earth and sailing to the Undying Lands. When the war was won and the Ring destroyed, Aragorn was crowned King of Gondor. Peace began to fall on Middle-earth and Elrond allowed Aragorn and Arwen to marry.
Faramir & Eowyn
I Cor. 13:13 “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.” In Return of the King, Eowyn was injured during her battle with the Witch-king and was forced to stay behind in Minas Tirith to heal while the armies went to the Black Gates. This is when she met Faramir, who also stayed behind to recover from his near-death experience with the Ringwraiths. She had fallen into depression, losing the hope that they would survive this war against Sauron and Mordor. “The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has fallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Eowyn, Eowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure.” (Return of the King, Chapter 5,”The Steward of Gondor”) Faramir, on the other hand, was a light for her in the overwhelming darkness of their situation, giving her much needed hope.
Do you have a favorite fictional couple?
1. True Love’s Kiss
Granted, I know that this is mostly an overused plot point engineered by Disney for its interpretation of fairy tales as a means to defeat the antagonist’s spell/curse and save the damsel in distress from certain death. Got it. But some people still have it in the back of their minds that once they share true love’s kiss (or TLK) with their true love, then all their problems will be solved (Anna from Frozen, for example). And in some cases, TLK is kinda creepy…take Snow White, for instance. The dude kissed a dead (or mostly dead) girl in the woods. She was in a COFFIN, for goodness’ sake! There’s something severely messed up about that…
For these reasons, we have decided not to use TLK in our books—well, at least as it’s used above. Like everything that we kept from the old fairy tales, we incorporate those elements with a unique twist…
2. Love at First Sight
Out of all the concepts of “true love”, love at first sight (LFS) has the most credence to it. Hey, it even occurs in the Bible when Jacob first sees his future wife Rachel (Genesis 29:10). However, I don’t have much faith in this one for me personally. Maybe it’s because the idea of “hate at first sight” (aka Lizzy and Darcy) appeals more to my realistic worldview, and maybe it’s just because I’m a girl and this concept applies more towards the male gender, since science proves that LFS is based on visual attractiveness and guys are more prone to that sort of thing. Am I saying that guys are more shallow than girls? No. There are plenty of girls who fall for this trap, too.
Is outward beauty enough to build a strong, lasting relationship? I think not. Indeed, beauty is only skin deep, and age will eventually fade it. A strong, loving relationship is built on trust: therefore love should not be based on something as transient as a person’s looks.
3. True Love should be your life’s ambition
I’m not sure that I have ever seen this concept overtly stated in a movie (except maybe a parody of some sort), but it often underlies a heroine’s tale in rom-coms and stories of that ilk. Thankfully, however, “true love” doesn’t have to be your life’s ambition. Can you imagine how depressing it would be if it was? You would be forced into unhappiness until you had found your “one true love” (which we’ll discuss later) and went off to your proverbial castle in the sky with him or her.
What I hate the most about this falsehood is that some people don’t think you SHOULD be happy if you’re still single…that your happiness should be dependent upon someone else. Well, if that’s love, then it comes at much too high a cost! *insert Idina Menzel singing* Some of the most influential people in my and Marie’s lives have been joyful, contented, single ladies who did not rely on a man to make them happy.
Well, these are only a sampling of my thoughts on the cultural lie that makes up “true love”…I’m sure Marie will continue the discussion in her next post. Meanwhile, as always, your thoughts are welcomed below.
Do you agree or disagree on the points I made?
…are our characters. That’s what the whole story is about right? The characters and their prospective lives. Will they be likable? Believable? Who knows.
Suzanne and I love our characters, we like to think that they are realistic, flawed, and distinctive–not simply cookie-cutter characters that are soulless and heartless. That being said, I’m still sort of scared. Characters are under a lot of scrutiny, most especially the female characters, which I find equally interesting and frustrating.
I know that there are a lot of good fictional female role models out there, for example: Eowyn (Lord of the Rings), Hermione, (Harry Potter series), Katniss (The Hunger Games), Elizabeth Bennet (Pride and Prejudice), to name a few. These fictional women are exalted, and for good reason. They are interesting, smart, lively, witty, sarcastic, stubborn, and above all else, flawed. I love a good flawed character, don’t you? I love to read about people who make the wrong decisions and have to suffer the consequences.
This leads me to my point. There are two types of female characters that have no flaws, the “perfect” characters. On one end of the spectrum, you have what is called the “Mary Sue,” and on the other is the “Strong Female Character” (SFC).
Mary Sue is infuriatingly perfect. Ugh. She is unbelievably and irritatingly beautiful, though most of the time she is unaware of this. She is innocent, charming, and loved by all that come in contact with her (probably including the villain). She is either very good at everything imaginable or extremely helpless. I probably don’t have to continue describing why she is a lame character. I’m sure you can all think of examples.
And then there is the SFC…sigh.
The SFC is essentially a guy in a girl’s body. They can do everything a man does, only most likely they can do it better! It’s frustrating to me. Before the SFC came along, there were more Mary Sues, so women pushed for STRONG FEMALE CHARACTERS, and I don’t blame them (Mary Sues are dull)! Women who are not afraid to wield a sword, battle dragons, shoot people, whatever the story calls for.
My problem with the SFC is that she generally tends to not have a weakness. She tends to be written without emotions, and that is one of the reasons why she is so frustrating. Another reason that I hate the character is for her unexplainable skill with weapons. If she can wield a sword, great. But why can she? Is it because she just saw one and picked it up and now she’s the next Joan of Arc? There needs to be a point to her being able to use them so well. They can’t be strong for the sake of being strong, there needs to be more than that. Characters need to be diverse.
As I said before, I love flawed characters. Weak characters. Characters that have made mistakes, and those mistakes molded them into the “person” they are today. So, yes, not all of our women are going to sword wielders or archers or whatever, but that doesn’t mean they are weak. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses, and we want to apply that to all of our characters, not just our women.