Top Five Reasons We Love Star-Crossed Lovers

By Kayla King, Editorial Assistant to Harlequin Intrigue

From Romeo and Juliet to Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter, there are a lot of reasons to love having our hearts torn apart by this timeless trope.

1. There are so many different scenarios in which this trope can occur. It’s been used across species in paranormal romance, between stations in historicals, and very inventively in contemporary—like engaged to one person and in love with their brother.

2. Perfect If you love especially angsty relationships. In extreme cases, these lovers are only united in death. Preferably, we get our happily ever after and a lot of will-they-or-won’t-they along the way.

3. A great way to explore character growth in terms of reconciliation with whatever the obstacle to love is. I think it’s easy to over-simplify who the characters are in this trope, but they can actually be quite complex with the right writer!

4. A tried and true classic with excellent modern adaptations. *clears throat and gestures broadly at the gifs*

5. Perfect catharsis. Star-crossed lovers seem destined to be apart, and seeing them overcome fate itself to be together—well, it’s very satisfying, wouldn’t you say?

What are some of your favorite movies and novels featuring star-crossed lovers? Let us know in the comments!

9 replies on “Top Five Reasons We Love Star-Crossed Lovers”

A few that come to mind right off, other than the obvious Romeo & Juliet ( I love the late 1960s version best ) : 1. While You Were Sleeping, where the heroine has a crush on one brother but falls for the other brother whilst pretending to be the first brother’s fiance (he’s in a coma). 2. Sleepless in Seattle, a sort of remake of An Affair To Remember with Cary Grant, I believe. In fact, that’s a good movie too. I love romantic comedies best, but any good romance will keep me reading/watching. Angst is important. Oh, there is this very old movie from the 1930s-40s that I used to watch with my mom. It starred Jeannette McDonald and Nelson Eddy, two awesome singers of the era and was titled Maytime. My mom swore the two actors were lovers all their lives but they never married and even married others, but never fell out of love with each other. Their life story is a star-crossed story in itself.

Gosh, I don’t like any of those stories. I thought Romeo & Juliet were idiots. (Sorry, Shakespeare, I do love you, just not that one.)
I do like Jack & Rose in Titanic, but not because of the star-crossed lovers thing. I love how he sacrifices himself for Rose, and she for him throughout the story. The star-crossed lovers can keep their angsty trope. Sacrificing one’s self for a loved one is the very definition of love and that’s the kind which lasts a lifetime in reality. That’s what gets you through cancer, dying dogs, and rebellious teenagers. 😉

Sorry you’ve had some pretty nasty experiences. I’ve lost loved ones to cancer and so many pets I have a graveyard in the back pasture, but those things/losses are what make us strong and the people we are. I think that is what star-crossed lovers is all about. They fall in love but for whatever major reason don’t get together. I do agree with giving and sacrificing for others. Maybe those stories weren’t the best examples, but they are the “wish I had but now I don’t and then I do” kind of tales. What are your favs in the star-crossed lovers genre?

I’m always cheering for King Arthur and hoping he tosses Guinevere out the gate. Lancelot breaks his sacred oath because he can’t keep it in his pants. Great nooky will not transform him into a faithful life partner, sorry Guin. Nope. Don’t like any of them.
This is just not my trope.
Gimme a dashing daddy who isn’t scared of poopy diapers and I’m all over it. 😉

In First Knight Richard Gere is Lancelot but Sean Connery is King Arthur. I’m not sure I’d take Gere over Connery. Hmmm…I had to laugh at your poopy diaper comment. My vet son, whose wife abandoned him and their 2 yr old daughter, is the best daddy ever. When he returned from his tour of Afghanistan, he went on to raise her to the beautiful 17 yr old girl she is now. There are great dads/men out there, just hard to find. 🙂

Movies…I’ve loved many but still watch some years, decades later. I have always loved While You Were Sleeping, Sleepless in Seattle and An Affair To Remember for the same reasons Chrissie described but my list goes on…

Bridget Jones Diary books and movies came out when I was of a similar age to Bridget and I still do a double play weekend near Christmas with them. The Wedding Planner, how perfect. She is planning a wedding for a couple just after meeting a possible Mr. Right. Only to find out he is the groom! Another great film is The Lake House. I loved these two actors in the high action of Speed but to see them together again, leaving notes to each other is beyond star crossed but when they discover 2 years separate them in reality? Plus when he goes to meet her, she witnesses the accident and tries to save him without realizing who he is. Perfect!
Now Under The Tuscan Sun…WOW, someday I will visit the Villa Bramasole! Ditched by her husband she finds herself learning to live again in a house she bought on a whim in Tuscany!

Dina – hi! I love The Lake House too, and I total agree about Bullock and Reeves. I also adore Under the Tuscan Sun. I am a huge Diane Lane fan. I loved her in Must Love Dogs, and Nights in Rodanthe, one of my fav Outer Banks places to visit. Talk about star-crossed love.

I am surprised that nobody mentioned the perfect example of star-crossed lovers: Almasy and Katharine Clifton in “The English Patient”, one of the most tragic love stories that has been brought to life on screen.

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