YES. I’ve been looking forward to this Top 5 Wednesday topic all month.
I came up with a list of awful love interests while at work and found it made me ANGRY.
Sure, people are complex, but there are LIMITS to bad behavior.
Okay. Without further ado…
(By some strange coincidence, the bulk of this list comes from YA fantasy novels.)
(Oh, and spoilers.)
The Reece Malcolm List
I have a zero-tolerance policy toward self-absorbed martyrdom.
Have you ever tried to get a proper apology out of someone who falls to the ground moaning about their own awfulness?
I don’t respond well when this happens.
It’s my personal pet peeve.
Love interest Sai is BEYOND full of himself. His interest in protagonist Devan proves confusing when he starts dating someone else.
He continues to show interest in Devan…while dating someone else.
Devan calls him on it several times, demanding he either break up with his girlfriend or leave her alone.
Each time, Sai makes the situation about him. “I’m the WORST,” he cries, slumping dramatically on furniture or running his fingers through his artfully-messy hair. “I’m SO messed UP right now! Things are so COMPLICATED! This is so HARD for me!”
Confrontations with Devan turn into therapy sessions where Sai complains that he can’t possibly face his problems.
By the end of the novel, he’s STILL HASN’T BROKEN UP WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND.
Devan agrees to wait for Sai to figure things out. She justifies this by saying that love can be messy.
I don’t believe Sai actually wants to work things out. He just wants to wallow and use his “I’m awful” routine to continue his bad behavior.
He won’t get around to making good, Devan. He’ll continue to perform regret expecting your comfort.
I think you can do better.
His Dark Materials series
I never finished The Amber Spyglass (despite trying twice), so I missed the beautiful love confessions between Will and Lyra.
Maybe I’ll get there one day, but I doubt it.
I hate Will SO MUCH.
I hate that he absorbs so much of the series’ focus.
Go AWAY, Will.
Stop mucking up the plot!
Quit chopping off your fingers and let Lyra have her moment!
The Selection series
I don’t get it, Aspen.
Your girlfriend loved you SO MUCH that she tried to provide for you and your family, and you BROKE UP WITH HER?
You hold THAT tightly to gender norms?
Your fragile masculinity does NOT need to be preserved; get over yourself and accept this loving care.
Of course, we can’t stop there:
You manipulated your one true love into an affair that endangered BOTH of your lives. How SELFISH can you get?
THEN you fell for someone else…without mentioning it?
You just fell deeply in love and carried on without…ever…saying…a word?
HAVE YOU EVER HEARD THE PHRASE “COMMON COURTESY” BEFORE?
The Infernal Devices
I will never forgive Will for sullying my favorite trope, the Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
Cassandra Clare wants me to believe that Will’s meanness comes from past trauma.
I don’t buy it.
When does he ever do anything nice for Tessa? Besides saving her life, which is IN HIS JOB DESCRIPTION. It’s not like he went above and beyond.
Seriously, when did he do anything nice?
Did he buy Tessa hand lotion?
Did he make her a special mix tape?
Did he dress up to defend her in court?
All he has to offer Tessa are his strong feelings.
That’s not good enough.
And I will never get over the time he generously offered to let Tessa be his mistress because, as a warlock, she couldn’t get pregnant.
You went too far.
Enjoy this song I wrote titled “I Hate Your Stupid Guts.”
Malyen “Mal” Oretsev
The Grisha trilogy
HERE WE GO. THE WORST OF THE WORST.
I wrote a mini essay at work about this chump.
I thought Mal was WAY too easily forgiven.
He interrupts an argument with Alina – an argument where he slutshamed Alina for showing interest in someone else – to say, “We found our way back to each other, Alina. That’s all that matters.”
YOU DON’T GET TO LET YOURSELF OFF THE HOOK THAT EASILY.
This statement whitewashes their entire history (not to mention the fact that he PICKED A FIGHT IN THE FIRST PLACE.)
It erases the fact that Alina’s relationship with Mal has been uneven from the beginning, that the bulk of the effort put into the friendship was Alina’s.
It ignores the fact that Alina suppresses herself (and her powers) to stay with Mal. She acknowledges this fact in the first book, a move I LOVED. YOU DON’T HAVE TO STAY WITH SOMEONE WHO HOLDS YOU BACK.
Mal, what have you done for Alina? How have you been a friend to her?
Is she benefiting from this relationship at all?
You don’t get to take her for granted only to decide she’s yours.
You don’t get to stake a claim out of jealousy.
You’re a toxic, self-centered user.