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Le Cygne

Rethinking Romance: Love Stories of ASOIAF, Part 2

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20 hours ago, Le Cygne said:

Eight narrative events take a heroine in a romance novel from encumbered to free. In one or more scenes, romance novels always depict the following: the initial state of society in which heroine and hero must court, the meeting between heroine and hero, the barrier to the union of heroine and hero, the attraction between the heroine and hero, the declaration of love between heroine and hero, the point of ritual death, the recognition by heroine and hero of the means to overcome the barrier, and the betrothal. These elements are essential.

This is very interesting, and when thinking of Sansa and Sandor I can see this pattern emerge.  Also, thinking about other romances I've read or seen in movies, that pattern can be seen as well.  A good example would be Pride and Prejudice. 

With Sansa and Sandor, I would say we've seen, the society, the meeting, the barriers and the attraction.  Sandor gave his declaration of love to Sansa on the night of the Blackwater (I can keep you safe) and Sansa's is beginning to emerge (the unkiss, among others).  Sandor certainly has had a ritual death taking him to the Quiet Isle, would Sansa taking on the Alayne persona be considered a ritual death as well? 

Thanks for posting this Le Cygne, this type of information is very interesting to me.

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On 8/10/2018 at 8:28 AM, LongRider said:

This is very interesting, and when thinking of Sansa and Sandor I can see this pattern emerge.  Also, thinking about other romances I've read or seen in movies, that pattern can be seen as well.  A good example would be Pride and Prejudice. 

With Sansa and Sandor, I would say we've seen, the society, the meeting, the barriers and the attraction.  Sandor gave his declaration of love to Sansa on the night of the Blackwater (I can keep you safe) and Sansa's is beginning to emerge (the unkiss, among others).  Sandor certainly has had a ritual death taking him to the Quiet Isle, would Sansa taking on the Alayne persona be considered a ritual death as well? 

Thanks for posting this Le Cygne, this type of information is very interesting to me.

Good points, and definitely!

There's  another book on romance you might find interesting. I recently read Pride and Prejudice: the Story Grid Edition annotated by Shawn Coyne, and he discusses a similar narrative structure that is common to good romances (there's commonality with Sansa and Sandor, too):

  • Lovers Meet Scene
  • Confession of Love Scene
  • First Kiss/Intimate Connection Scene
  • Lovers Break Up
  • Proof of Love Scene
  • The Lovers Reunite Scene

More on the Proof of Love scene: The key component in the Proof of Love scene is that one of the lovers must sacrifice for the other's happiness without hope that the sacrificial act will do them any good whatsoever.

Also there are conventions (distinct add-on elements that give the story context):

  • The Rival (without rivals, there is no possibility for crisis)
  • Moral Weight (if the lovers cannot elevate themselves morally, they will not be able to find authentic love; that is, they must have a worldview shift that raises their moral fiber)
  • Helpers, Hinderers (those who help the two come together, those who work to destroy the match)
  • Gender Divide (distinct differences in the ways the two lovers view love must be in play)
  • External Need (external pressures to find a mate)
  • Forces At Play Beyond the Couple's Control (social convention)
  • Forces At Play in the Couple's Control (one or both lovers has to get out of their own way to change their behavior and worldview)
  • Rituals (the lovers develop little things they only do with one another)
  • Secrets
    • Secrets society keeps from the couple
    • Secrets the couple keeps from society
    • Secrets the couple keeps from one another
    • Secrets one of the couple keeps from himself/herself

Some quotes from the annotations:

These run-ins [they keep running into each other] are very important as setup for Darcy's proposal... Austen needed to make sure the signs of Darcy's fascination were actively on the page...

Their verbal teasing is the stuff of intimate connection, which becomes a ritual between them... These two are not afraid of conflict... in fact, it excites them... Darcy thinks they're doing their usual verbal par and thrust and is enjoying it...

Darcy is hitting the truth, the nerve of her internal problems that are preventing her from seeing that this guy is absolutely the one for her... I could have bullshitted you and given you the standard crap guys tell girls in order to get you to accept me. Instead I told you the truth out of respect....

THIS [the rejection of his proposal] IS DARCY'S ALL IS LOST MOMENT... Austen wants to leave the readers terribly upset by this exchange, but also hopeful that both Darcy and Elizabeth will change and come to realize their roles in keeping themselves apart...

Mr. Darcy's proof of love turns the global story and convinces Elizabeth to devote herself to him without reservation. By the way, Elizabeth proves her love for Darcy in an earlier scene (the confrontation with Lady Catherine)...

Also here's a good quote from the book, the proof of love, he did it for her:

"If you will thank me," he replied, "let it be for yourself alone. That the wish of giving happiness to you might add force to the other inducements which led me on, I shall not attempt to deny. But your family owe me nothing. Much as I respect them, I believe I thought only of you."

Edited by Le Cygne

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From Beauty and the Beast: Diary of a Film by Jean Cocteau:

I have decided to write a diary of La Belle et la Bête as the work on the film progresses. After a year of preparations and difficulties, the moment has now come to grapple with a dream. Apart from the numerous obstacles which exist in getting a dream onto celluloid, the problem is to make a film within the limits imposed by a period of austerity. But perhaps these limitations may stimulate imagination, which is often lethargic when all means are placed at its disposal.

Everybody knows the story by madame Leprince de Beaumont, a story often attributed to Perrault, because it is found next to "Peau d'Ane" between those bewitching covers of the Bibliothèque Rose.

The postulate of the story requires faith, the faith of childhood. I mean that one must believe implicitly at the very beginning and not question the possibility that the mere picking of a rose might lead a family into adventure, or that a man can be changed into a beast, and vice versa. Such enigmas offend grown-ups who are readily prejudiced, proud of their doubt, armed with derision. But I have the impudence to believe that the cinema which depicts the impossible is apt to carry conviction, in a way, and may be able to put a "singular" occurrence into the plural.

It is up to us (that is, to me and my unit―in fact, one entity) to avoid those impossibilities which are even more of a jolt in the midst of the improbable than in the midst of reality. For fantasy has its own laws which are like those of perspective. You may not bring what is distant into the foreground, or render fuzzily what is near. The vanishing lines are impeccable and the orchestration so delicate that the slightest false note jars. I am not speaking of what I have achieved, but of what I shall attempt within the means at my disposal.

My method is simple: not to aim at poetry. That must come of its own accord. The mere whispered mention of its name frightens it away. I shall try to build a table. It will be up to you then to eat at it, to examine it or to chop it up for firewood.

Edited by Le Cygne

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From A Natural History of the Romance Novel by Pamela Regis:

The romance novel is old. The form is stable. Since the birth of the novel in English, the romance novel as I have defined it here - the story of the courtship, the betrothal of one or more heroines - has provided a form for novels. What is more, the form has attracted writers of acknowledged genius - Richardson, Austen, Bronte, Trollope, and Forster to name just the ones examined here. Using the eight essential elements of the romance novel form as identified - society defined, the meeting, the barrier, the attraction, the declaration, the point of ritual death, the recognition, and the betrothal - doubled, amplified, diminished, echoed, made as comic or as serious as context required - these and other canonical romance writers have employed this form to free their heroines from the barrier and free them to choose the hero. Joy and happiness, both for the heroine and hero, and for the reader, follow. Trollope, Forster, Richardson, Bronte, and Austen are in the literary canon and on required reading lists; the romance novels they wrote were best sellers in their day.

The romance novel, as we have seen, is a species of comedy with the heroine displacing the hero as the central character. The great societal shifts toward affective individualism, property rights, and companionate marriage, coincide with the rise of the novel in English... The courtship novel, up to the twentieth century, is the story of the heroine's struggle for one or more of these great goals... The heroine's and hero's struggles in each of these novels are not trivial yet the tone in these novels is often lighthearted. When the outcome is freedom and joy, and in the romance novel these are the outcome, the tone can be light, even if the issues are serious.

In the twentieth century the romance novel become the most popular form of the novel in North America. Rather than achieving affective individualism, property rights, and companionate marriage through courtship as the earlier heroines did, the twentieth-century heroine begins the novel with these in place. The book still focuses on her, but the hero steps forward to take an equal place with her. The novel chronicles the heroine's taming of the dangerous hero or her healing of the injured hero, or both. Taming and healing can work the other way as well. Heroines can need taming and healing, too...

In chronicling the courtship through the eight essential elements of the romance novel, the twentieth-century romance focuses on emotion. Literature that focuses on emotion and that ends happily veers towards the sentimental. Romance novels are, therefore, profoundly out of step with the prevailing contemporary high culture simply because of this emotional sensibility. My litany throughout this book has been that, despite their quality, popular romance novels of the twentieth century might appear on the New York Times Best Sellers List, but they are never reviewed in the newspaper itself. Other popular forms  - mystery, science fiction, and horror - are. Romance novels are excluded, I suspect, because of an ignorance of the form itself and of the sensibility - the reliance on emotion - that suffuses the form. Emotion is suspect. Emotion is especially suspect when it is joyful, and every romance novel ends in joy. The practical critics of prevailing high culture ignore romances.

Academic critics, as we have seen, also condemn romances. I have already offered a defense of the romance, but would like to add one more observation here. The story of the courtship and betrothal of one or more heroines is, finally, about freedom and joy. In the twentieth century, for the most part, romances are stories written by woman and read by women. They feature women who have achieved the ends fostered by affective individualism, control over their own property, and companionate marriage. In other words, romance heroines make their own decisions, make their own livings, and choose their own husbands. I admit, unapologetically, that these values are profoundly bourgeois. I assert that they are the impossible dream of millions of women in many parts of the world today. To attack this very old genre, so stable in its form, so joyful in its celebration of freedom, is to discount, and perhaps even to deny, the most personal hopes of millions of women around the world.

(fixed typos)

Edited by Le Cygne

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