A very popular trope that has sparked discussion in recent years is the Enemies to Lovers trope. The reason that i say it has sparked discussion is because of the nature of the trope, what qualifies as enemies, and to what extent do enemies to lovers turn to abuse apologising?
Should enemies to lovers be categorized as the captains of the two opposing football teams? Or should it be two people who are on different sides of the same war, and who have tried to kill each other?
Both scenarios can be good reads, it just depends on the person – some people might prefer enemies to lovers, where the enemies element is some small rivalry; while others prefer it when the enemies happen because of a war, where one’s the leader of the rebels, and the other is the person the rebels are trying to take down.
Setting is another element that’s necessary to take into consideration when making these conclusions, do you believe that characters in fantasy novel have another moral compass to follow than those in contemporary novels? Because when you’re engaged in a full-out war, the steps that you need to take are different from the ones you must take if you’re rivals over the school play. In the first example attempted murder might be more accepted than the other example.
So at what point does it go from being a trope, to being people being abuse apologists? Is it when the antagonist tries to kill everyone the protagonist holds dear? PErsonally i belive that in order for this trope to be executed good there must be some sort of redemption arc. This does not mean that the antagonist must become good, it just means that their motives, and actions must be explained. If the reader does not understand what makes the antagonist do these things, then it will be harder for the reader to sympathize with them, and their relationship with the protagonist.
Some of the elements that often appear in this trope are:
- similar traits
- The protagonist and the antagonist must be able to relate to each other on some level, and there has to be something that draws the protagonist to the antagonist in the first place.
- They fight their feelings
- As the two are enemies, there occurs some internal conflict in the process of falling in love, they might even start acting moe spiteful of the other person in an attempt the make themselves sure that no they don’t like them.
- Sexual tension
- The characters might not like each other, but they’re still attracted to each other, this creates a difference in interest within them, that make the realization process much harder for them
The two characters might not always end up together, but that does not make it any less of an enemies to lovers novel, as they still have this period where both of them are in love with each others, and it might turn into something more between them, even if they don’t end up together.
Some novels that fit the Enemies to Lovers trope:
- The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo
Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.
I felt that pull, the longing of a frightened girl. Even now, after everything he’d done, I wanted to believe the Darkling, to find some way to forgive him. I wanted Nikolai to be alive. I wanted to trust the other Grisha. I wanted to believe anything so that I wouldn’t have to face the future alone. The problem with wanting is that it makes us weak.
- Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Warner was supposed to be dead. Warner was supposed to be dead because I was supposed to have shot him but no one supposed I’d need to know how to fire a gun so now I suppose he’s come to find me.
He’s come to fight.
- The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.
Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
The trick is to find that one person who can give it back as good as they can take it.
- The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.
To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.
As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.
Most of all, I hate you because I think of you. Often. It’s disgusting, and I can’t stop.
- Bloodlines by Richelle Mead
Sydney’s blood is special. That’s because she’s an alchemist – one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiences in question, her future is on the line.
When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she’s still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir – the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir – is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill’s guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.
The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside – and within – the school grounds. Now that they’re in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.
“You’re killing me here, Sage!”
“I’m not doing anything.”
“Exactly my point.”
- From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.
After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.
But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.
Including Ivan Lukov.
Love to me was honesty. Being real. Knowing someone’s best and worst. Love was a push that said someone believed in you when you didn’t.