Monday, November 21, 2011

What is TOO implausible?

I'm thinking mostly in reference to fairy tales. I am a self-acclaimed Disney princess addict. No, not even a Disney addict, just a princess addict. So it stands to reason that the external drive that I brought to University with only movies on it has a good number of princess movies.

Yesterday, while I was procrastinating on writing my 9th essay of the quarter (I'm losing count), I watched The Princess and the Frog. I LOVE the music, so I naturally was belting out Down in New Orleans loud enough that it probably annoyed by male neighbors.

But anywho. I was thinking about it later that day, and I realized just how insulting Naveen is to Tiana when they first become frogs. And I thought "I wouldn't have wanted to be anywhere near him after that." And of course I know they come to know each other and fall in love, but that guy was truly insulting. But you love him in the end.

Is it because he was a frog when he was insulting? The two main characters are animals for a large portion of the movie. Do we end up forgiving Naveen for his insults because he was unaccountable for them somehow when he was a frog?

This is what I was thinking of when I wrote the title of this post. How far can a character go in being a jerk before they have passed the point of no return? In some teen lit I've read, there's always the mean popular girl who is actually misunderstood, and the boy who is cruel to the protagonist (genders can be swapped here) before they end up together.

But can a character go so far that the reader goes "NO, RUN AWAY!" when the inevitable finally happens? Have you read any books like that? What were they? 


  1. It does make you wonder sometimes what these characters are falling for, doesn't it? I see that with some YA with bad-boy love interests. Even (to quote a well-known example) Bella's attraction to Edward. A guy glares at you and stalks off anytime you come near, giving off I-don't-want-anything-to-do-with-you vibes that are almost tangible, and you're thinking oh swoon? Also, those annoying he-loves-me,-he-loves-me-not yo-yoings that are common in YA (and maybe adult, too) romances as a source of tension.

    I can't think of any books I've read where I've been SO put off by the love interest that I was disgusted with the protagonist for hooking up with them anyway. Nora and Patch of the Hush, Hush books might be the closest; it's one of the worst yo-yo books I've read, at least recently. Of course you're rooting for them to work it out, but you're starting to get really annoyed with the guy by the end, too.

  2. I think it all comes down to whether you think the two characters are a true "match." If we have that feeling right up front that they're cute together...then we're willing to forgive some of the jerk-i-ness that's disguised as early flirting. Not sure what that says about us... ;)