Shivers and Sighs Week: The Tragedy, the Pain and the Romance

By Melissa de la Cruz

Our guest writer today is Melissa de la Cruz, whose novella Bloody Valentine (part of the Blue Bloods series) is out now.

What makes a good romantic heroine? Or a good romantic couple?

For me, my favourite romantic couples are those that have a tragic sadness ingrained in their story. My favourite romantic couple is Aragorn and Arwen. I read Lord of the Rings when I was thirteen and their story isn’t even in the main text; there’s a little side appendix about their love story that is one of my favourite parts of the book. I just found their story so romantic because they’re not meant to be – loving each other will just bring sadness, especially on Arwen’s part. Loving Aragorn means that she is dooming herself to an immortal sadness – his life is so short compared to hers that, when he dies, she will miss him forever.

Also, loving him means she has to give up so much: she can’t go to the Grey Havens with her people; she has to live out the rest of her long years alone. There’s so much at stake, and there’s no happy ending for them at all, at least on her side. And for Aragorn, the sadness comes, I think, from knowing that your mate is giving up so much to be with you, and you only want them to be happy, so it’s just sad all around.

In a way, their story is everyone’s story. At some point, those we love will die and we will be alone, or we will die first and leave our partner alone. Theirs is a very human story, and it’s very quiet. There are no daggers or drama. It’s just…sad from the beginning and if they didn’t love each other, maybe the other person would have been better off – but then, isn’t that the whole point of falling in love, that we risk the pain because of the joy? I think that’s deeply romantic. And every time anyone falls in love and makes a huge commitment, they’re risking this tragedy because everyone dies alone and it’s going to be so hard to live on your own when they’re gone, regardless of whether one is an elf princess or not.

So, I think for me, a good romantic couple is a couple who have chosen each other above all the obstacles, and knowing that with love comes pain, but choosing to love anyway. It’s a huge part of Blue Bloods, not just Schuyler and Jack, but Allegra and Bendix, and even Mimi and Kingsley.

As for what makes a good romantic heroine, for me, it doesn’t really matter whether they are a Buffy or a Bella. To me, that’s immaterial, whether she kicks butt or trips on her feet. My favourite type of romantic heroine is a girl who will sacrifice everything for love – that, to me, is deeply romantic. And no one said romance has to be practical. That’s why it’s called ‘romance’. Love isn’t practical.

Bio: Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens, including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series, and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat.