Quick! Close your eyes and think of your favorite movie. It’s alright, I’ll wait. You have ten seconds. Go!
Got your movie? Great! Don’t tell me. Let me see if I can guess some things about this story you chose. Because that’s what great movies are: stories.
The story you chose probably had a hero of some sort. Male? Female? Doesn’t change the greatness of your movie either way.
I’m guessing this hero of yours had to overcome some sort of obstacle. Yes? Slay the dragon? Shoot the bad guy? Deliver the crushing report to Karen in the office?
Last but definitely not least I’m willing to bet there was an overarching love story tossed somewhere into this favorite movie of yours. Am I right?
I might not have been completely accurate with my guess, but I’m willing to bet ninety-nine times out of a hundred I at least got the love story part of your movie right.
This is because love stories are as universal as storytelling itself. Did you also know that the romance/erotica genre is the highest selling genre time and time again when it comes to book sales?
According to Thomas Stewart’s article “Which 5 Book Genres Make The Most Money?” he finds that the romance genre paves the way with over a billion dollars in sales, “For similar reasons, romance novels contribute to the money-making power of the romantic/erotic genre. With the biggest name in the genre being Danielle Steel – with $610 million to her name – the genre is undeniably popular” (Stewart). I will leave a link down below where you can read the full article.
So why am I bringing all of this up as someone who mainly writes in the fantasy genre?
The answer is genre blending. I love genre blending! Taking two writing genres and mixing them up in a single story is sometimes where the best stories are made.
This is why you get sci-fi/horror blends like Ridley Scott’s Alien. Or mystery/thrillers like Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.
For the intents and purposes of this blog, I am going to be examining fantasy and romance blends, as well as fantasy stories which utilize romantic tropes well. To do this, I will be getting help from a writer in the romantic genre. Allow me to introduce you to Terrie England. She’s a romantic novelist, she has a fab blog about Jane Austen found here at http://allthings-jane-austen.blogspot.com/, and she also happens to be my mother-in-law. With that said, welcome Terrie England.
TE: Thank you Daniel for having me on the site.
DG: Thanks for being here Terrie. I’ll kick things off.
Fantasy/Romance Blending #1: Pirates of the Caribbean
DG: First, let me start by saying you can definitely argue that this is solely a fantasy adventure film. Because it basically is. Pirates. Sword fights. War on the sea.
But layered within this fantasy story is a romantic story. Using the common romantic trope of “Will they or Won’t they?” we the audience become invested in the love story between two of the main characters. Will Turner and Elizabeth Swann.
While the love story never becomes the main plot, it is an important subplot which uses romantic tropes. Their two characters go through many obstacles and misunderstandings. They do however come out of the story loving one another, and though their love story is tragic in the sense that they will only see each other once every ten years, you can argue that they do indeed get their happily ever after.
Fantasy/Romance Blending #2: The Princess Bride
TE: “As you wish.” Most people recognize this line from The Princess Bride. Among the many quotable lines in this story like, “Life is pain, highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something,” “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die” to name a few.
TE: “As you wish” becomes the identifying moment. She [The Princess Bride] knows the Dread Pirate Roberts is her Westley from the moment he says it because he has been saying it to her from the beginning. Only he would say it. It works as a trope because “as you wish” is a metaphor for their true love.
DG: Well spotted Terrie. I love The Princess Bride and this has always been one of the best examples of a classic romance/fantasy blend.
Fantasy/Romance Blending #3: Frozen
DG: Well I couldn’t help myself. I had to use a Disney reference. You might say it was hard for me to just…
The great thing about this story is that they were sort of pointing out the flaws with a lot of romance stories. It warned against falling in love too early, but used fantasy tropes to tell the story. Mainly the super heroine Elsa with all her “icy” goodness.
However, one of the best uses of a romance trope within this story came with the “Romantic False Lead.” Princess Anna falls for the dashing prince Hans, only to discover that he is not such a great guy after all.
Princess Anna instead finds her true love in another, Sven. Thus, the kingdom in this fantasy world is saved.
Fantasy/Romance Blending #4: Midnight in Paris
TE: Midnight in Paris is a perfect example of irony. Gil arrives in present day Paris with Inez, who the audience dislikes. He falls in love with Adrianna, who everyone hopes he ends up with and stays where it seems he belongs – 1920’s Paris. But in the end, he ends up walking in the rain with modern day Gabrielle discussing how much they both love Paris in the rain.
TE: Gabrielle is unexpected. She has a shop and she and Gil had pleasant conversation, but she was not an expected outcome – irony.
DG: I’ve not seen the film, but this sounds like another perfect example of the “romantic false lead” trope. And this film definitely falls into the fantasy/romance genre. Nice catch Terrie.
DG: Anyways, we are curious if you guys can think of any other examples where romantic tropes found in fantasy movies/books/or television shows made for a much richer storytelling experience. Please be sure to leave a comment below. And I want to say a special thank you to Terrie England for helping me with today’s blog post.
TE: Of course!
DG: Write strong, write long, write on!
#frozen #theprincessbride #forrestgump #romance #fantasy
Stewart, Thomas. “Which 5 Book Genres Make The Most Money?” The Richest. 31st Jan. 2014. https://www.therichest.com/rich-list/which-5-book-genres-make-the-most-money/. Accessed 26th July 2019.