Thursday, 27 January 2011

Tainted Love

Not only one of the greatest songs of all time but today's subject.
Paranormal romance. Isn't it all about tainted love?
But is any love truly pure? Isn't it all 'tainted' one way or another?
Now I'm not an expert on this topic, after all I've still not read Twilight (but did enjoy the movies and am Team Victoria all the way!) but since I am part of the genre (at least, on the very edge of it) I suppose I must have some opinion. But hey, you can have an opinion on many things without knowing anything about them, can't you?
I've recently interviewed Becca Fitzpatrick, author of the rather splendid HUSH, HUSH and CRESCENDO. You'll hear about that interview soon enough. The two main characters are Patch (fallen angel) and Nora (normal teen). Nora's torn between the deep attraction she feels towards Patch and her fear of him. There are disturbing acts of violence, her house is broken into and her best friend assaulted. All the signs are it's Patch. Nora's not stupid. She's a quick-witted and clever young woman and not so naive. But Patch is irresistible. And, my God, does he know it. He can invade her mind, twist her senses, make her doubt her sanity. But like a knife through it all is their mutual attraction, despite the very real dangers.
There's a tainted love at the heart of Maggie Steifvater's SHIVER, between werewolf Sam and Grace. Sam's not the archetype bad boy, he's actually very kind, loving and truly dedicated to Grace. But this is his last summer before he turns into a wolf, once and forever. His curse tainted everything, adds a desperate melancholy to their love, knowing it's going to end by winter and there's nothing they can do about it.
Anthony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Othello. Shakespeare knew all about tainted love. We have conflicting ambitions, family vendettas and jealousy. You cannot be human without tainted love. You think perhaps the love between parent and child is pure, without flaw. Er, what about Cronos? What about Oedipus? What about Electra? A child cannot grow to adulthood without the parent's death. Our children are there to replace us. Some seek that moment sooner than nature intended. And the parents, older, wiser, more cunning, can fight back.
Tainted love is at the heart of my books. The conflicting urge to love and destroy. Look at Arthur and Billi's relationship. A father bringing up his daughter to be a killer. Maybe his killer. Billi and Mike. Two damaged children who are driven to extremes because they never decided their own fates. They are both pawns in the plans of their fathers. No wonder they understand each other so well. No wonder Billi makes some serious mistakes.
Then we have Kay, who, I'd argue, is the purest of them all. His love is not blind, but his feelings towards Billi are tainted, though with the best of intentions. And he pays the price.
Dark Goddess develops Billi's relationships in two directions. The first is her feelings towards a young girl, Vasilisa, who is being trained as a Templar. Just like Billi was, recruited into the order at a young age and given no choice.
Then she meets the Russian prince, Ivan Alexeivich Romanov. Both of them are born leaders, and born warriors. There's mutual respect, and rivalry. There's distrust. Both are willing to sacrifice the other for the cause. Billi's been betrayed before and is wary of it happening again. Ivan knows he's got assassins lurking in every shadow, is Billi just another one? Waiting for his guard to drop?
Tainted Love.

1 comment:

Arya said...

Great post! And terribly true. I can't wait to read Dark Goddess!! =)