Villain turned love interests are the so-called ‘bad boys’ to a greater, more palpable extent– that is to say, the heroine turns against him at one point in time, though most are adversaries to begin with, at least until she cuddles up to the irresistible charms, and stays there, snug as a bug in a rug. In which case, she realizes that she can’t be with or without him (it’s an inevitable tragedy, but not really). These beautiful nightmares are usually widely misunderstood, where behind the evil veneer, lies a heart of pure gold.
Try to match each quote to the corresponding VTLI who said it from the examples shown above! I may have removed some of the names so that it won’t be such a giveaway! Also to avoid spoilers 🙂
“I love you. I love you more than any other creature, because you are cruel, and kind, and alive.”
“Your soul sings to mine. My soul is yours, and it always will be, in any world. No matter what happens. I need you to remember that I love you.”
“I want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with. The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world you keep trapped in your head.”
“I’ve been waiting for you for a long time. You and I going to change the world.”
Kidding! (but goddamn I miss the innocent Stiles)
Okay, not gonna prevaricate, but I think the notion of a ‘bad boy’ is far too common these days, to the extent that the idea of them feels a little hackneyed, which, much to my detriment, subsequently relinquishes their X factor (you know, that one thing, haha. Mmkay I’ll stop with the One Direction references now). But this quandary applies to me (and/or you) especially, because they recur predominantly in Young Adult books, though the occasional author here or there can make them work with exceptional writing. Villains as love interests, however, are a discrepant matter altogether. For one, it could be that many authors are reluctant to turn the tables, because it’s hard to rationalize the actions of an outward rapscallion, and furthermore, give the heroine an upstanding reason to fall in love with him beyond his strange charms. And if the author lays low on his nefarious reputation, does that make him a believable character?
So there lies the dilemma. I, for one, have a hard time tolerating the fact that someone capable of murder and torment is also perfectly capable of love and kindness, although I’m not going to deny the fact that their frequently impervious, almost inconceivable beauty makes it hard for me to spite them wholly. And whenever the heroine speaks of unfurling an affection for such characters, it always makes me controvert her reason, and to an extent, her sanity, because I myself would never think to love someone who engenders an almost unbearable amount of pain and misery.
But guess what? It happens anyway, and sometimes it even works. I guess my sentiments on the matter depend on how the romance is written— I don’t favor unceremonious changes in character, or villains who cut the heroine slack and antagonize everyone else, or even the sympathetic villains, if they continue to walk the path of destruction. Redeeming value is a must, of course!
So I guess it all depends on the pretext. Sometimes, the heroines just happened to have judged them prematurely, such that they’re more decent and accommodating than what one would expect. But as long as they’re not full-blown, cold-hearted, and insensitive bastards who torture and kill with neither rhyme nor reason, I cling to the hope that they’ll make for befitting love interests, and hopefully spice up the lives of the heroines hopelessly in love with them, but who, in the end, can’t ever help it anyway.
What about you? Do you approve of villain turned love interests in YA? Who are other examples that you know of, and which are your favorites? Do tell me in the comments below 🙂