Monthly Archives: February 2016

Love in the Genres 4- When Love Saves the World

Love in the Genres 4-When Love Saves the World

This month we’ve explored couples from science fiction, fantasy and paranormal genres who have found love under extraordinary circumstances; that have faced tremendous odds; and who have beaten overwhelming obstacles.  How often do we see a love story so epic that at its heart is the power to save the world?  Each of the couples mentioned tonight have accomplished exactly that, together.

Neo and Trinity live in a world that has been destroyed by a war between humans and their creations.  They have defied the odds to live, to find the truth beyond the Matrix, and to become leaders in the rebellion against the machines.  After Trinity convinces Neo to live again when he is shot in the first movie, she helps set him on his path to victory.  Together they fight enemies that are stronger, smarter, and faster, because they are machines.  Together they pilot a ship into the “heart” of the machines, where Trinity is mortally wounded.  Neo has to save the day alone, but he never would have succeeded without Trinity’s encouragement and love.  For her, he stops Agent Smith and saves humanity from enslavement.

In The Fifth Element, Korben Dallas is not looking to save the world when Leeloo literally falls from the sky.  He is drawn to her from the first moment, despite the fact they do not speak the same language. When he is assigned a mission to save the universe, he draws on dormant skills to take out as many of the enemy as possible, but the ultimate weapon is actually the red-haired girl beside him.  Leeloo is discouraged by what humanity has become, and says “I was built to protect…I don’t know love.”  Ultimately it is Korben’s love for her that inspires her to save the planet, and the galaxy, one more time.  The Supreme Being needs love in her life, and with Korben, she finally understands exactly what she’s fighting for.

Two beings on a faraway planet, Pandora, are a very unlikely match.  One, a native, Neytiri, is deeply in touch with the connection between all living things on her planet.  The other, Jake Sully, is a human from Earth who interfaces with a hybrid Avatar to communicate with the Na’vi and explore their home world.  When Jake and Neytiri learn that the corporation sponsoring Jake’s mission is determined to exploit Pandora, even if it means destroying it, Neytiri has to get over Jake’s seeming betrayal, in time for them to unite her people and save their planet.  Neither of them can accomplish this alone.  Without her acceptance, Jake would die, and without his help, so would the Na’vi.

Great couples come together to help each other achieve their goals, to reach their potential, and to encourage them to strive for greatness.  Few couples will ever achieve as much as these three, but it is good to know that, in love, couples can bring the best in each other.  May you find and keep a love that inspires you, strengthens you, and guides you.

Thank you for reading.




Love in the Genres 3-Girls Who Love Bad Boys

Love in the Genres 3-Girls Who Love Bad Boys

In the last couple of weeks I’ve discussed couples from science fiction, fantasy, and paranormal stories who have loved and overcome conflicts from outside of their relationships.  But what if the conflict came from within the relationship?  What if one part of the couple had issues that could negatively affect the relationship, as well as the world in general?

Tony Stark was rich, intelligent, and an irresponsible playboy.  He created the armor of Iron Man to save his life, but then he frequently showed poor judgement in its subsequent use.  Pepper became a moderating influence on his life, but in return he pawned his responsibilities at Stark Industries onto her shoulders.   He used “the suit” to show off at his birthday party in Iron Man 2, and as a result the technology was stolen.  Pepper actually broke up with him because of his attitude and lack of maturity, though eventually he straightened up his act and they reconciled.  Hopefully, he will overcome his tendencies and be more responsible in the future, but we won’t know until the next movie.

Angel was a vampire with a soul.  He found a kindred spirit in Buffy, the girl whose mission was to kill vampires.  They worked around their differences and teamed up against the forces of evil, but thanks to a gypsy curse Angel reverted to his evil, soulless form of Angelus when he fell in love with Buffy.  He let the bloodlust of the vampire consume him, and Buffy had to fight him.  She swore to kill him, but by a miracle was able to restore him to his former state.  The risk remained, though, that he could turn again if they were together so Angel left his love behind to start a new life (and a spinoff) away from Sunnydale.  Buffy, heartbroken, went on with her life, but she never forgot Angel, her first love.

The challenge of loving a man who was not allowed to have relationships or marry would have been hard enough, without the added problem of him being tempted by the dark side of the force.  Anakin loved Padme with all his heart, but their love was not enough to keep him from being caught in the web of Emperor Palpatine.  The emperor sought Anakin to be his apprentice, and lured him away from the teachings of Obi-wan and the Jedi Knights.  Anakin let his temper get the better of him, and did terrible things, but Padme tried to help him.  It was news of her death that finally finished turning Anakin Skywalker to darkness.  It would take his own death and their grown son to redeem him many years later, but they would not see each other again.

When one part of a couple is irresponsible or vulnerable to darkness, sometimes the love cannot survive.  That does not mean the love was not true; it only means those characters meant to be our heroes have a fatal, humanizing flaw.  Such stories can be tragedies, or they can show the hero redeeming himself after making a mistake.  Whatever the final outcome, these are passionate stories that move us, and inspire us, to search for some truth in ourselves.  What would we do in such an impossible situation?  Could we love the hero, and see him become the villain?  Would we still love, or turn away in sorrow or terror?  Perhaps we are lucky these are only stories, and the fate of the world does not change with our relationship statuses.

Until next time.


Love in the Genres 2-Love Lost and Found

Love in the Genres Part 2-Love Lost and Found

The most moving of all love stories involve conflict, tragedy and/or angst.  It is not enough that our heroes and heroines fall in love; they have to suffer for it, lose it, and then find it again to make a story satisfying for their audience.  We want to see them happy and sad, joyful and in tears; we want to experience their love with them through a full gamut of emotions.  Are we living vicariously through our favorite fictional characters? Probably.  Do we feel the least bit guilty?  Definitely not.

Perhaps one of the most unlikely pairings in the history of movies was of two children who fell in love in one instant, and in the next were separated.  The girl left her entire world behind and came to find the boy when they both grew up.  In Splash, Allen and Madison were meant to be together; never mind that Allen was a human who was afraid of the water since his near-drowning, and that Madison was actually a mermaid.  Allen predictably freaked when he learned the truth, but in the end was ready to risk everything for the woman who held his heart.  He rescued her from being a science experiment, and then cast off his fear of the water and followed Madison to a happily ever after.

The center of the original Star Wars trilogy developed the love story of Princess Leia and Han Solo, who were just on the verge of realizing their feelings for one another when they were captured on Bespin.  Darth Vader’s cruel order to send Han into suspended animation finally prompted Leia to admit what was in her heart.  Han’s iconic answer, “I know” was either an example of his general cocky attitude or acknowledgement of a sentiment he was not ready to share, depending on who you asked.  Either way, we had to wait until the third movie and Han to be unfrozen for the couple to be reunited.  Han’s near death changed him for the better, and led him to put Leia’s feelings above his own, even if that meant she preferred Luke.  Of course, that’s not how the story ended, but his willingness to sacrifice made the difference in their relationship.

The first time I saw The Princess Bride I was still in high school.  I loved everything about it, but most of all I loved the onscreen romance between Wesley and Buttercup.  Wesley was the perfect romantic hero-strong, brave, and completely devoted to his lady love.  Every teenaged girl wanted to be Buttercup, or at least have someone half so in love with her.  Then, Wesley’s ship was attacked by pirates, and Buttercup was devastated.  We no longer envied her, but we felt her loss as if it were her own.  When Buttercup was forced to marry the cruel prince, but was kidnapped by a pirate, we didn’t know quite how to feel, until the pirate turned out to be Wesley in disguise.  He explained everything to Buttercup with a simple “Death cannot stop true love; it can only delay it a little.”  Oh, to have that kind of devotion!

While we shamelessly and with rapt attention watch our favorite fictional characters suffer for romance, who among us wants to experience that sort of upheaval in our own lives?  It is one thing to see it on the screen or read it in a book, but quite another entity entirely to experience it for ourselves.  May all those out there find nothing but perfect romance on this day dedicated to love, without the accompanying trials of angst, loss and emotional baggage.

Happy Valentine’s Day!





Love in the Genres-Fantasy Couples

Love in the Genres-Fantasy Couples

There’s something incredibly profound and absolutely terrifying about loving, and being loved.  Love grants us our greatest heights and deepest lows, and can be simultaneously our strength and a weakness.  The same emotional upheaval applies to our favorite fictional characters.  Any well-designed literary or movie creation with the capacity for emotions can be at risk of meeting their perfect match-the one being that holds the power to complete or destroy them.  And when they succumb, the fallout can be epic.

From the times of ancient gods and myths one recurring them is of the deity who falls helplessly in love with a mortal.  Modern interpretations of this classic theme have included a number of popular storylines and characters, each replete with obstacles and consequences the lucky or unlucky couple will have to face.  That beings from vastly different backgrounds strive to have a relationship should give us hope, or encouragement, but mostly we just like to watch them angst and love.

The immortal elf, Arwen, fell in love with a mortal, Aragorn, in the epic Lord of the Rings.  Aragorn was not an ordinary man, he was destined to be a king, but Arwen lived centuries on Earth with the chance to travel to another realm and continue living forever.  To realize her love for Aragorn, though, meant staying in a world filled with strife and encroaching evil, and giving up her immortality.  Aragorn tried to persuade her to leave, but Arwen insisted on staying with him, even knowing she would far outlive him in the end.  They ultimately were married and established as king and queen in Middle Earth.

An immortal of a different type, Edward Cullen, was smitten with a mortal Bella Swan in the Twilight series.  Edward was not strictly speaking a god, but instead a vampire with god-like powers.  His family quickly welcomed Bella into the arms, but doing so put her in danger, and Edward tried to leave Bella behind for her own safety.  Once again it took the stubborn human to make the love connection work, and ultimately Bella joined the clan as one of them.  Theirs was a different type of happily-ever-after, but in the end, they were together, so they were happy.

When Thor met Jane Foster in the Marvel movie Thor, he was not looking for a relationship.  He had literally had his world taken from him, along with his powers.  Temporarily forced to be human, he learned humility and found a respect for the humans of the earth realm, but overall found he could not deny a great attraction to one feisty, beautiful scientist.  He gave his heart to her, even knowing he had to leave to save the universe, and then suffered the tragedy when he was unable to return.  While Jane pined for Thor, not knowing his fate, at least until the next movie, Thor had the guardian of Asgard, Heimdall, to watch Jane for him.  The ultimate fate of these two lovers has yet to be revealed.

There are countless other-world romances, some with happy endings, some not, and I plan to address a number of these in the month of February in celebration of one of my favorite holidays, Valentine’s Day.  Please check in again as next week I will have the next installment in this month-long blog series.

Thanks for your support,