All The World Is A Stage, But Who Are The Players Again? | Romance In Books

Friday, March 13, 2015

Paper Bindings | All The World Is A Stage, But Who Are The Players Again? | Romance In Books

Part two of a three part discussion dealing with romance in books.

Tropes or Stereotypes, every book has them. 

We have our protagonist and our antagonist. We have our mentor and our sidekick. Sometimes there is even a love interest or two thrown in too. But more than just these main archetypes, there are certain types of characters we see over and over again, especially in romance stories. It’s what the author does to the characters that differentiates them from their fellows. But sometimes, they still fall into the same old traps.

Let me break this down real simple: "Bad Boys;" "Good Guys;" "Bad Ladies;" and "Good Girls." Pretty much all the romance stereotypes I can think of fit nicely into those large categories.

Sometimes these characteristics mentioned work well for the character, sometimes they drag him/her down an inescapable road of danger. Some of the known alias we will mention are good examples, and some are bad ones, but they share the same characteristics.

Are you ready?

Let's dive in...unless, of course, you cannot deal with humor and snark.

Rebel/Bad Boy 

Dark and mysterious, he waits and broods.

Traits To Lookout For:
  • Radical in Politics - Hot, sexy, smoken new guy with questionable alliances? Wears leather or maybe owns a motorcycle? *ding* Oh, yeah, bad boy alert right there. Along with their need for rebellion against a parent or teacher or mentor, etc. these guys typically end up as the rebel leader or something similar. Because hell forbid a "good guy" take that spot.

  • Obsessed with Revenge - This boy has an ax to grind, maybe even literally, and nothing better get in his way. In fact he is often so focused on his vengeance that he cannot see or doesn't care who gets hurt along the way. Usually endures a break up at least once with heroine because of his actions.  

  • Outsider - Especially if he is the new guy, the dark and mysterious stranger who cannot be bothered to talk to anyone. This guy runs alone. Black clothing? Check. Own Transportation? Sleek motorcycle/rundown truck, check. Scary vibe? Got that covered. Snarky/just plain disrespectful sexist comment when heroine attempts to be nice? Damn straight. Unless were being picked on or are having an off day, there is usually an important reason why someone is set aside from the whole.

Unforgivable Sins:
  • Stalking - IN NO BOOK IS THIS EVER OK. Animals stalk their do not stalk your love interests. You do not hunt down because you are going to kill a member of the opposite sex, but then upon seeing them decide that you <3 luv <3 them. Just no.

  • He-man antics that domineer - She ain't your property my dear friend, you don't get to control her life or her actions. If she damn well wants to risk herself to save her friends/family/way of do not get to decide her sacrifice is not worth it and lock her up.

  • Violent Tempers - YOU DO NOT BEAT SOMEONE YOU LOVE. Ever. The end.

Known Aliases:
For. The. Record. I love bad boys. Especially the tortured hero bad boys. *hugs* It's okay, I will love you until you are healed.

  • Warner from The Shatter Me series - I LOVE WARNER. He's completely mental, off his rocker, pretty scary as hell. Wouldn't want to date him myself, I'm not a masochist, but I did ship them in the book. (Mainly because what's-his-face aggravated me.)

  • Tobias/Four from the Divergent Series - Runs around kicking ass, taking names. Check. Does stupid things for the cause? Check. Has a scared history of abuse? I'm sorry Four, check.

  • Gale from The Hunger Games -(Not my pick, so I must assume this is payback for saying Peeta is a sickening good boy. Isn't it?) Gale is definitely the bad boy of the main trio. Illegally hunts wild game, doesn't toe the line around peacekeepers, grumbles like a macho boy, and goes completely off his rocker. I loved him until that moment, then he took a turn towards the crazy side of the spectrum.

  • Jackson from The Arcana Chronicles - I positively LOATHE you Jackson. Do not tell me you love her. Do not say that horrible lie. Your treatment of her is closer to abuse than anything even closely warm and fuzzy. You don't even want her, but "have" to have her for a reason that absolutely makes me want to strangle you. And your motives for having sex? *grabs mallet* Even worse.

The Boy Next Door

He’s so adorable it’s almost sickening.

Traits To Lookout For:

  • The Need To Please - This boy is always on the lookout for how he can help the heroine. But sometimes it gets a bit aggravating. If she wanted someone to follow her around waiting to please, she should get a dog. Less of a hassle.

  • Inability to See Faults in Others - Because he is so honest/loyal he expects others to be. Sometimes he has been known to ignore the obvious because he doesn't always see the darkness inside others.

  • Patient - Want to dip your feet in the bad boy pool? Not a problem. This boy next door will be right there...on that chair...waiting to pick up the pieces.

  • The Best Friend - If your best friend is a guy, and you're a girl (especially if he is the boy next door, double whammy then) then chances are you are going to fall for him at some point in time. Or vice versa. It's rare for the best friend to be the bad boy because there is something stable about having a loyal person in your corner while your off seeking an adventure with said bad boy.

Unforgivable Sins:

  • Being GOOD - Seriously, no one is good all the time. No one toes the line every time. No one obeys all the rules/laws placed upon them. No one is that well behaved.

  • Being BORING - Just because you are the good guy doesn't mean you have to be the loser, dull guy as well. Plenty of boy-next-door types are capable of being adventurous and fun. Don't drag the story down.

Known Aliases:

  • Peeta from The Hunger Games - He's the boy next door....ish. He is the new best friend type person. He is the overly patient, would totally die without her, but unwilling to leave her, loyal hound.

  • Jem from The Infernal Devices series - This boy would do anything for Tessa and Will. He would do anything for his fellow shadowhunters. He's willing to back out of a possible last romance with Tessa just to keep Will from being hurt, if that is what they want. You cannot be a better man/friend than him.

The Leading Lady 

 Look how she shines

Traits To Lookout For:

  • Daggers - Seriously, you have to watch out for sharp objects because this lady is going to kick your butt, pick you up, and chew you to dust. 

  • Alpha Status - These women are top of the pack. Whether in talents, smarts, or personality, it doesn't matter, these women know who they are and are more than willing to tear the world down a peg or two if they have to. They quickly (or not so quickly, but steadily) amass a group of loyal followers who will follow them into the pits of Mordor if needed to see the job done.

Unforgivable Sins:

  • Baby I'm Bullet Proof -  I love empowering female characters. But, baring certain paranormal attributes, physically a woman are at a disadvantage compared to most men. So I really don't get why some she-womans cannot accept a man's help. Seriously sometimes you just need a little back up because you cannot do everything on your own.

  • Trading Boxing Gloves For Glass Slippers - I really hate it when a kickass female character gives up everything that she it when she gets a man. Sure she can explore her girly side, but expecting her to place the damsel in distress role when I know she is capable of helping herself gets old quickly.

Known Aliases:

  • Celaena from The Throne of Glass series - If I could only pick one woman to go into battle beside, this assassin is top of the pile. She is smart, resourceful, and determined. Oh, yeah, did I mention ASSASSIN? No one is going to put this girl down for long.

  • Katniss from The Hunger Games series - Katniss may be a reluctant hero, but there is no question that once this girl decides to do something it will get done, or she'll die trying her hardest.

The Timid Librarian

 Also Known As the Virgin Cat Lady

Traits To Lookout For:

  • Books - Seriously, if the girl is smart or reads, then chances are she falls into this category. Studious overachievers who know more about how the world works, but not how to live fully within it's boundaries.

  • Dateless/Boyfriendless/Never Been Kissed - Do I even need to comment on this one?

Unforgivable Sins:

  • Naïve - Being a "good girl" is one thing. But we are all human after all, no one is that pure, that naïve, that dumb, etc. And if the character is honestly sheltered -I really do not expect everyone to know everything, especially if they never encountered it in their entire life- then they are not going to be making out with the hottest guy EVER in the next scene.

  • Purity - Why is it always the maleslut with the never been kissed virgin!? Why? Is she a bad person if she's had sex before? Are you telling me women should never have sex until they meet that ONE who is so experienced, his exes could line the globe? And I'm supposed to believe that one look, one kiss from her is enough to tame his wondering eye? *gag*

  • Uselessness - Just because someone fits into the smart/geeky role, doesn't mean their only contribution to the story has to be in that capacity. It's just wasted potential and nearsighted authors that don't let these girls branch out.

Known Aliases:

  • Cath from Fangirl - Cath is your typical, not very social girl who goes off to college, but would rather be writing M/M fanfiction. Her sister is a social star, and her dad has problems, but that doesn't stop Cath from orbiting her own star. Yet, there is something endearing about her the more we get to know.  

  • Cress from The lunar Chronicles - Stuck in her satellite orbiting space with nothing to do but hack newsfeeds, Cress is the definition isolated female. But she is no stereotype, Cress is willing to act when necessary, seeking her own adventure. She may not have all the skills necessary to survive on her own on Earth, but she is smart and resourceful, and that won't last long. Plus she gets Thorne. So automatic WIN.  

  • Bella from Twilight - I'm not even going to touch this one..

What do you guys think? Are there certain roles that you love/hate in romances? (Or stories in general?) Is there a certain character we missed that you think fits in one of these categories?

Paper Bindings

Even when you are not looking for a love story, romance is all the time appearing in novels. Some times it is expected, sometimes it is a surprise, but either way, it gives us a lot to talk about.

Part One:

Part Two:
All The World Is A Stage, But Who Are The Players Again? - Stereotypes
(You are here.)

So we’ve set the stage and met the cast, but what happens when we have too many

Part Three:


  1. LOOL I actually love and giggled at a lot of your points - I love Four from Divergent too<3 & I disliked Bella from Twilight. The stalkers in books creep me out as well, and the girls who are shown as saint, but fall in love with the most hottest bad boy ever, reminds me of fifty shades. I love this post of yours, it creates a great discussion :) <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

    1. Thank you. I always find it fun to talk about the characters and their relationships from books. Lately it seems like they are all the same, when I know that authors are capable of taking the old and turning it into something new. But there are a few things I wish we'd leave behind.

      I haven't read Fifty Shades, a coworker keeps pressuring me to. But I'm afraid of the character drama mishaps I might come across with all the fuss over it.

      Thank you for stopping by.

  2. Good points! I definitely didn't sneak Gale in there ;p.


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