Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Writers Camp [ Day Eight ] Happily Ever After

Day Eight: Happily Ever After. Today we are going to discuss movies/books that have good love stories in them, and especially the meaning of Happily Ever After.

What to avoid in a romantic relationship:

Abusive relationships.

The man/woman thinking of his/her spouse as an inferior

I'm going to give a quick example of an emotionally unstable/manipulative/emotionally abusive relationship.

Rumplestilskin and Belle: Once Upon a Time

"You'd never give up power for me, Rumple. You never have, and you never will."

I haven't watched OUAT in over a year, and this is a big reason why.

In Seasons 1-2, Rumple and Belle had an intriguing Beauty-and-The-Beast story. Rumple started out cruel and wicked, but Belle seemed to bring out a side of him that had been buried in darkness for hundreds of years. He wasn't wholly evil. He was trapped in a terrible curse and it twisted his heart, making him colder and colder. But there was still a spark of good in him, and Belle brought it back from the ashes.

However, as the show went on, Rumple's redemption arc was messed up in a big way. The writers went overboard with his darkness. You should never put your character through a great arc and then take him right back to square one. It's bad story telling, and it's unfair to your character. Rumple was growing. He was changing for the better. Then out of the blue, he just decided he wanted to stay Dark and powerful. What?

He was horrid to Belle. Did he care about her? Yeah, that was obvious. Was he more gentle and kind with her? Yeah. Did he try to protect her? Sure, always. But he was incredibly two-faced and hypocrytical. He'd promise Belle to do one thing and then find the loophole in order to get out of it. He lied to her all the time. He pretended to give her his dagger, the only thing that could control him and the link to all his power, as a sign of his love for her, and then proceeded to go behind her back, using his magic to steal power from other people so he could leave Storybrooke. He uses Belle's own friends against her to "Spy" on her by taking their hearts. He manipulates her. He uses her. He's a huge jerk. Does he have a soft side? Yeah. But the bottom line is, he doesn't care enough about Belle to be better. He doesn't care enough about her to give up being the beast, to give up the evil power festering inside of him. He doesn't love her selflessly. He's hurt her over and over, when he's suppose to be the one that protects her.

I just wanted to be chosen.
I know OUAT isn't over yet. Maybe Rumple will eventually give up his own selfish needs, and grow, and be the man Belle actually deserves, but I don't see that happening. Even if it does, how could Belle ever really trust or rely on someone that has betrayed her so often? Plus, what kind of stupid writing takes a character on great arcs only to knock him back into his self-absorbed, twisted ways two episodes later? Wit no explanation??

So basically? Don't write love stories full of manipulation and selfishness. And don't have romances full of needy angst and one spouse thinking themselves better/more important than the other. And never write a romance where a spouse will choose his/her own happiness over the happiness of their loved one.

It is a plague in our society that even such a thing as true love has been stripped of it's true value. So often it seems that marriage just won't last. Divorce happens six times out of ten. Why is this? I think it's because people expect to be perfectly happy. They demand a pleasing, perfect happiness with no trial or suffering. If you and your husband fight, if you have bad times for more than a couple of years, well obviously you made a mistake in being together and it's time to cut it off. I hate how easily people go back on their vow "To have and to hold from this day forward." I think people have forgotten that being in love doesn't mean the end of hardships, and getting marriage doesn't mean you are going to have a picture-perfect life with no problems. Very often it's the opposite. There are struggles in every single relationship. Hard things always happen, sometimes really bad things. What people don't take into consideration is that there are good times too, and you can't give up on a lifetime of good just because a few years have been bad. Marriage is worth fighting for. If someone made you see stars, if someone made you feel light and giddy and free, if someone loved you enough to want to spend the rest of time with you, that is worth fighting for. No matter what.

Now, I get it. Sometimes things happen and they suck. I have personally witnessed some marriages that have hit bad times and there is nothing fun about it. It's horrible. There are fights, tension, lack of peace in the home - all in all, not great. And maybe it's sort of understandable why people want to run away from the problem. But you know what? Statistically if you can just hold on through the rough times - if you can just hang on for a little while - it always gets better. Typically the longest a rough patch will go on is five years. Five years in a lifetime! Isn't fighting for thirty+ years of love better than giving up on it altogether and giving in to heartache and pain?

I know that sometimes you have bad marriages. I understand that. I know sometimes there is No Way for the marriage to work anymore. Like with physical abuse, addiction - whatever. However, legitimately un-fixable relationships are fairly rare. I think some of these issues could be averted if people were more careful. People should stop getting married so fast. We should go back to courting, and it should last for at least a year, even two. You should really get to know the person you've vowed to spend the rest of your life with. That's super important. If people were more careful before saying the magic, I do, things might work out differently.

Another thing is, don't give up on your spouse because they have a couple bad months or even years. It's selfish and stupid. I wonder, if your best friend was going through a rough time, would you give up on them after only a couple of years? Or would you try to help them as much as you could? Your spouse deserves at least that much consideration.

Marriages can work. They can last forever. You just need to be brave enough to keep your promise and stay faithful to each other. Even when money is tight. Even when work gets in the way. Even when you have family issues. It's time we have stories beyond Happily Ever After. Happily Ever After is just page one. Happily Ever After isn't something that's guaranteed, and I think people have forgotten that. You have to fight for your happily ever after. You have to chop down the thorns to get to the golden castle. You have to overcome the trials, bear with the irritations, work through the times when things are rough or just plain hard, and you feel like your whole marriage is failing. You have to get through the night to witness another day. That's just how things go. The trouble with the world isn't that marriage can't be happy. It's that people are no long willing to put up with each others issues every now and again in order to get to a point where they can be happy again. They think if something isn't fixed within a few months, or even a year, it must mean they're no longer meant to be together. In reality, they just need to hold out until the sun rises, and they'll realize the new day was well worth the wait.

"It should be hair-rasing," he added.

There is no such thing as being happy all the time. That would be dreadful. Imagine being in a constant state of excitement?? You'd feel jittery all the time, and it would get exhausting. Every relationship has dark spots. It's okay to have a few fights. It's normal to have long periods of time when a Marriage isn't growing or supplying any happiness at all. Humans are silly and they make mistakes. We all have issues. Sometimes problems take more than just a year to fix. Sometimes they'll take three, five... it's just a matter of fighting for the soul that made you feel loved and whole. Fight for the soul that made you believe in a fairytale ending. You want to be happy? Fight for it. Don't give up it. Don't let the nights, however long, scare you away. Be brave and wait for the sun to rise. I promise you, It always does. When you meet someone that makes you feel that alive, that loved, and that happy, even for one day, he/she is worth holding on to.

So, what are some good, realistic married couples in books and shows today? *rubs hands together*

Amy and Rory Pond: Doctor Who

"You and me, always."

"I don't care that you got old. 
I care that we didn't grow old together."

Amy and Rory are pretty much the OTP to end all OTP's. Their love is set up kind of like a fairy tale too, so I'm going to use it as my first example. Rory and Amy are friends first. They are the definition of falling in love with your best friends. They put their friendship before the romance, before sexual need, before the necessity of happiness. They put each other before themselves continually, willing to risk their happiness to keep the other safe/make them happy in some way. They care about each other deeply, and would do anything to save each other.

What I loved about Amy and Rory was how little could seperate them. Not time, not space, not struggle. I loved that SPOILERS!!! Amy broke herself out of a nightmare, crafted to seem perfectly real, just to save Rory's life. I loved that even after Rory died and was erased her memory, Amy still had this feeling of loss and grief. I love that Rory waited 2000 years outside a box of stone to keep Amy safe. I love that, when Amy was trapped in another time-stream and grew old, Rory told her he didn't care that she was old, only that they hadn't grown old together. (And then he still tried to save her. Her age didn't matter to him. Not at all.) I love that Amy tore time apart, sacrificing that version of herself so to save the younger Amy, and giving Rory all her days; So she could still grow old with him. I love that Amy and Rory wanted a baby, a family, a home. I love that Amy tried to leave Rory because she realized she could never have kids, and he had always wanted them... but Rory wouldn't let her. I love that it was proven, once again, divorce is not the answer. When you love someone, you fight for them. No matter what. *END SPOILERS* I love that they fought, but never walked away for good. I love that they always waited for each other, that they put each other first always, that they were brave enough to face the stupidity of the world together. I love that they almost got divorced but realized their love was more important than any problem. I loved that they grew old together. I loved that they stayed faithful. I love that they were friends.

Carl and Ellie: Up

"You don't talk much. I like you!"

Carl and Ellie only had something like ten-fifteen minutes of screen-time, but by the end of it you were a dripping mess of emotion. They were childhood friends that got married when they grew up, built themselves a house, and had the essence of Happily Ever after. Like Amy and Rory, Carl and Eddie wanted to have dozens of kids, but the Doctor discovered Ellie would never be able to conceive children. This was a devastating blow, but Carl helped Ellie through it, and together they were still able to have a beautiful life with a lot of joy, laughter, and adventure.

Carl and Ellie have a sweet, romantic relationship, with a foundation rooted in friendship and devotion. They have the type of love we should all aspire to have, the never-giving-up love.

Arthur and Molly Weasley: Harry Potter

Yes, well, your father and I were made for each other."

As a note, I'm not wild about the Harry Potter books. I don't think much of J.K. Rowling either. That being said, Arthur and Molly are pretty great. I have only read to book five in the Harry Potter series, but I have watched all the movies and I enjoy them when I'm in the mood. I think the movies were better, to be honest. The Weasley's are my favorite part about the story. I really loved that Arthur and Molly raised a big family in a small house, and that they were always full of humor and happiness, even though money was tight and they weren't always able to afford lots of things. I loved how much they cared about all their kids, and how they were able to give them happy, beautiful lives even though there were lots of hand-me-downs and not much that you didn't share. I think they showed that you don't have to be rich to be happy, and that having a lot of kids is a blessing, not a curse. They were cute and sweet, and I just really like them. I like them a lot.

Martin and Iantha Penderwick.

These two are just adorable. They're there for each other through all the rough times, they take care of each other, they love each other, they both like being a Mommy and Daddy; - Basically, just read the Penderwicks. Everything created in those pages is perfect.

Marriages that take you by surprise but somehow work:


Eugenides and Attolia. Oh. My. Gosh. Definition of saved through love. That marriage is so layered and complex. They both care for each other deeply, but their love functions on a rather different level. Eugenides brings out the girl behind the mask, while Attolia draws out the Eugenides not many people see. Rough, coarse, and vulnerable.

River and The Doctor:

I'm not even sure why this marriage works. I think it is very much a Love-Comes-Softly situation. Neither River nor the Doctor trusted each other at first, and the Doctor took a long time to warm up to River, but somehow these two time-travelling oddities, forever meeting in the wrong order, fell into a peculiar, hesitant love, burning through time and space. I know some people don't ship The Doctor and River, but I think the fact that he breaks her out of jail every night to take dates and take her dancing is proof enough that they're in love. Plus, he literally settled down on a planet and spent twenty-four years of happily ever after with her. (SO CUTE, YAR???) River and the Doctor are a complicated love story, but I want to show the different marriages that work and last. Capisce?

Aragorn and Arwen: The Lord of the Rings

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I know they aren't a huge plot line, but I liked how Tolkien showed Aragorn and Arwen's love. It was mysterious and beautiful. To think that an Elf, blessed with long life, would accept mortality in order to marry a mortal man. I love that Aragorn was willing to let her Journey to the Undying Lands and leave him forever, but Arwen wouldn't do that. She wanted to be with him, because she loved him. Isn't that beautiful?

I also liked the special touch in the movie, where Arwen was travelling to the Ships going West, but then she saw a vision of Aragorn and her son, and she realized that there were things that meant more to her than immortality, than leaving with her family and her people. She wanted to be the wife of Aragorn, the mother of his son. Isn't that the most beautiful, tender thing you've ever heard?

"I would rather share one lifetime with you than face all the ages of this world alone."

The same goes for Faramir and Eowyn:

"Would you have you proud folk say to you: "There goes a lord who tamed a wild
 shieldmaiden of the North! Was there no woman of the race of Numenor to choose?"

Jimmy and Mae Braddock:

I know they aren't fictional, but I had to use them. They're sweet, they're strong, and they are actual real! So ha! There is proof marriages can last a lifetime! Jimmy and Mae did it, and they had to live through the Great Depression together. If they can survive that horror, you can survive the bad things that happen too.

"I can't win without you behind me."
"I'm always behind you."

I really loved that Mae was a supportive wife. I loved that she stood up for Jimmy and never quit on him, but would get upset if he pushed himself too hard. I really love how much respect Jimmy had for his wife, how much he cherished her, how he treated her like a lady at all times. I love that they were solid walls of support for each other, and even when they fought and argued, they always came back for each other. Every. Single. Time. It was adorable and sweet, and it was real, and I think everyone who gets married should try to hold the same courage as this couple that survived Depression and sickness and fear, and got through it, still married, still in love, still the very best of friends.

You're everybody's hope, and your kids' hero.; and you are the champion of my heart, James J. Braddock."

That's all.

I mostly wanted to talk about married couples, but any love story should be built strong and made to last.

Shawn & Juliette, Jaron and Imogen , Michael & Sara, Hale & Kat, Sam & Jules, Sophos and Eddis... These are good romances.

What do I want to see in a romance? Give me romances that love. Fall in love. Stay in love.

I leave you with this song.

Peace out y'all!

*Swings around cape and leaps off stage*



  1. Awesome post!!! Courting for a year, maybe two...YES. We're taking about the rest of your life here; you don't want to rush into a partnership lasting that long! I also think the families should get to know each other too--and how the potential love interest acts around his/her own family indicates a good deal about his/her character. (Also, moms will probably catch flaws in the potential wife that the son missed, and dads will probably catch flaws in the potential husband that the daughter missed. :-) )

    Ooh, good point about helping a friend through tough times!

    Often, my characters get married long before the story is over. Sometimes it's because the plot specially requires it; sometimes, it's because the couple's marriage brings a new aspect to the theme. And it's more realistic, I think.

    Wow, Amy and Rory sound like an awesome couple! (I haven't seen Doctor Who, but I know bits and pieces about the show thanks to blogs and Pinterest.)

    Ooh, yiss, Carl and Ellie! That montage was so sweet (showing how powerful the "show, don't tell" principle is). When we saw it in theaters, pretty much everybody was crying by the end of the montage. Oh, and I liked that they had opposite personalities--Carl was the quiet one and Ellie was the talker, yet they had similar interests.

    I haven't read HP at all, but that gif is precious!

    The LotR matches are precious!!! I was annoyed that Faramir and Eowyn's story was left out of the film, but seems like I read somewhere that Tolkien really liked what he wrote for Aragorn and Arwen. So it makes sense for that to feature in the films.

    1. First of all, I can't believe you actually read this whole post. It's super long. I had too much to say. 8-)

      CARL AND ELLIE WERE SO SAD!!! But they're lives turned out to be beautiful, and I loved that.



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