Top 5 Wednesday: Favourite Angsty Romances

Top 5 Wednesday is hosted by Samatha at Thoughts on Tomes. The guidelines and topics can be found on theย Goodreads group.


Talk about your favorite ships that have a healthy side of angst. (definition: adj.: describes a situation or literary piece which contains dark, depressing, angry, and/or brooding emotions from the participating characters.)

I’m not a fan of romances, but it turns out there are some I can’t help but adore. Romanticism and the Victorians take the stage this time! (Tbh, most of these are not healthy at all.)

1. Catherine and Heatcliff (Wuthering Heights)

So much angst in this one! Both Cathy and Heathcliff have their issues, and they are not exactly likable (especially Heatcliff). However, they are well-rounded, complex characters and they have reasons for their actions, though that doesn’t necessarily justify them. This love story is more than a love story, and that’s what made it a classic.

giphy.gif

2. Lestat and Louis (The Vampire Chronicles)

Don’t you dare tell me theirs is not a love story! And it’s angsty as hell. Louis is angsty in general, actually. XD

tumblr_ntynucEZKS1u17twro1_500

3. Batsheba Everdene and Gabriel Oak (Far From the Madding Crowd)

This is the only positive one on this list, I think. XD The relationship between these characters develops slowly, and unlike most Victorian male characters, Gabriel is actually a nice guy.

tumblr_nsubt9buWQ1r2igv7o2_250.gif

4. Anna Karenina and Count Vronsky (Anna Karenina)

There is so much pain, misfortune and angst in this love story… Most of you probably know what happens but I’m still not going to say much, because I don’t want to spoil anything to anyone. This book is wonderful, and it rings very true even today. I do have some problems with Tolstoy’s portrayal of an “ideal” love – Kitty and Levin – but I’ll leave that discussion for another time.

P.S. I actually really liked the 2012 film with Keira Knightley, though most people seem to disagree. The fact that it was filmed in a theatre is a nice way to express how people wear masks and play the roles they are supposed to (actually the roles the society expects of them). It was very artistic.

large

5. Werther and Lotte (Theย Sorrows of Young Werther)

Werther’s one-sided love for Lotte was the one that started (or at least made popular) a lot of literary tropes, so I had to include it. Readersย identified with Werther so much that many young men comitted suicides just like he did – yes, a wave of suicides happened after the publication of this book. Sometimes the influence of books can be horrible. And even though Goethe strongly criticized the Romantic movement later on, he still said:

It must be bad, if not everybody was to have a time in his life, when he felt as though Werther had been written exclusively for him.

I’ll leave it to you to decide if you agree with this. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Honourable mention:ย Countess Ellen Olenska and Newland Archer (The Age of Innocence)

Apparently, I don’t like romance at all! I wouldn’t call this relationship romantic, but it is very angsty – and I really wanted to include it so I’m putting it as an honourable mention. Newland falls for Countess Olenska, or to be more precise he becomes obssesed with her. She knows their relationship is doomed, but cannot help falling for him, too. Tragedy ensues…

What did you think of these books? Do you find these angsty couples as influential as I do?

 

 

 

Advertisements

The Accolade

I see the sword drop. Sun rays are reflected off the sleek metal. The intense light almost hurts my eyes. How many have seen the same image, and then never saw anything, ever again?

To me, the sword doesn’t mean death, at least not for now. ย What it brings to me is knighthood; honour and glory. It taps me on the shoulder as a kind friend who wants to make me feel proud of myself. But somehow, I feel the opposite. I feel shame.

“Hail to our brave hero!”

The Lady smiles. Everyone cheers, but all I can hear are screams. My nostrils can still smell blood.

Hail to me!ย Hail to the hero who saved us all!
Hail to me! Hail to the murderer who murdered them all!

 

the_accolade-edmund_blair_leighton

Edmund Blair Leighton (1852 – 1922) – “The Accolade”

 

Quote for Thought: In Appreciation of Mary Shelley

quote-for-thought-goth

But in truth, neither the lonely meditations of the hermit nor the turmulos raptures of the reveller, are capable of satisfying manโ€™s heart. From the one we gather unquiet speculation, from the other satiety. The mind flags beneath the weight of thought, and droops in the heartless intercourse of those whose sole aim is amusement. There is no fruition in their vacant kindness, and sharp rocks lurk beneath the smiling ripples of these shallow waters.

Mary Shelley, The Last Man

Yes, Mary Shelley wroteย Frankenstein.ย But it wasn’t the only book she wrote. Frankensteinย is actually one of my favourite books ever, which I mentionedย in my My Top 7 Books post, but The Last Man should definitely not be overlooked.

The Last Man is great and largely underappreciated, and its Goodreads rating is horrible. Most people explain their dislike for this book in terms of “it’s not SciFi enough”. And that’s quite true. Yes, the topic is the end of humanity, but in a way it also isn’t. When Mary Shelley wrote it, she left like she was the last of her “kind”, the last Romantic who was still alive. She was the only one to witness the end of an era. She was the last man.

The main characters inย The Last Man are fictional versions of Mary Shelley, Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron. A large part of the book deals with their ideals and the different ways they perceived the world. If you are interested in Romanticism, it’s definitely a book you should read. Not to mention Mary Shelley’s wonderful, poetic language and vivid imagery. She was a truly great author. And a perceptive one.

Mary Shelley looked up to the idealism of Percy Shelley, which can be noticed in her novel. However, she herself seems to have been more of a realist, which is why I chose this particular quote to share with you. In this paragraph, Mary Shelley concludes that a person cannot live only on idealism and meditation, as she puts it. People need to experience things, live their lives to the fullest. But at the same time, those who only live for small pleasures remain shallow as well. People are complex, and they need both. Interestingly, this quote also seems to unite the worldviews of Percy Shelley and Lord Byron.

To be honest, no one can be certain what these authors truly thought of each other, but it’s interesting to speculate and this book offers an insight into Mary Shelley’s mind, even though it may be wrong to entirely accept fiction as fact. In any case, I felt I should defend this book from its negative reviews and at least briefly put in its rightful perspective. I just have a lot of love for the Romantics and I wish to spread it! ๐Ÿ™‚

Mary-Shelley_Female-Fright-Writer_HD_768x432-16x9