I recently stumbled on this GoodReads group that proposes a weekly meme whose aim is to give a list of Top Five… anything, as long as they are book related. It sounds fun, and something I can manage even with my too-often-limited time.


This week the topic is:  Worst Love Interests (male or female):

I think that the topic might include both badly written romantic relationships and the well-written ones that end badly, because sometimes love can hurt, so I will explore both sides of the equation.


Battlestar Galactica (tv series)

I know this might attract the ire of many BSG fans, but I never felt that the attraction/love/whatever between Apollo and Starbuck was something I could believe in.  It could have been a problem of actors’ chemistry (or lack thereof), it might have been the result of my lack of empathy with both characters, but the result was the same: I could not see them as a couple and I actually felt that anything connected to their relationship was a waste of screen time.  Moreover, there seemed to be a destructive quality to the attachment between them so I guess they fill both of the parameters of this meme.

Demon Cycle – Peter Brett

Renna and Arlen: these two seem to have been thrown into a relationship just… because. In my opinion there is no real attraction between them, and the only thing they have in common is their monster-slaying activity. I could never perceive some real feelings connecting them to each other, and the fact that they end every conversation with a mutual declaration of love (one that becomes stale quite soon…) seems more like a need to convince each other and the readers more than a real expression of feelings.

The Wheel of Time – Robert Jordan

I could not go very far with this series, having stopped around the third or fourth book out of sheer frustration from what I perceived was a meandering story with no goal in sight, and the romantic relationships I encountered up to that point were equally disappointing and given more to contrived sentimental skirmishes rather than true feelings.  I might be wrong here, because it’s been some time since I read those books, but this is the lasting impression I can recollect.

A Song of Ice and Fire – GRR Martin

Martin offers us a great number of interpersonal relationships, all affecting the involved parties in many ways – sometimes harmful or lethal. The one concerning Tyrion and Shae is the most painful to observe because you perceive the Imp’s deep need for love, for someone who would care for him despite his appearance, and though he harbors no doubts about Shae’s motivations for staying with him, there is that unspoken and un-acknowledged hope that she might surprise him in the end. Which makes her ultimate betrayal all the more dreadful.

Gentlemen Bastards series – Scott Lynch

We learn, early on in the series, that Locke Lamora pines for Sabetha, who once was part of their group of thieves and swindlers, and that everyone – especially friend and almost-brother Jean Tannen – advises him to put those feelings behind him, and move on. The reasons are revealed when Sabetha finally materializes on the scene: she is a very independent person, one who actively refuses to be fitted into any mold, or to be constrained by anything, even a lover’s attentions. Meeting her again is bad for Locke, and dulls his con-artist abilities, with catastrophic results.

15 thoughts on “Top Five Wednesday: WORST LOVE INTERESTS

  1. Totally agree with your list — at least the first four. (I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never read Gentlemen Bastards.) It really is amazing BSG spent so much time on the Apollo/Starbuck thing when it never, ever worked. Don’t get me started on how disappointing the Arlen/Renna romance is. And I really wonder if we can even label anyone in WoT or SoIF as “couples” since there never seem to be any feelings involved.


  2. Great list – I’ve not read all these but I agree with the ones I’ve read. And, yeah, not really any chemistry in the Renna/Arlen romance and Sabetha did dull Locke’s brain somewhat!
    Lynn 😀


  3. Absolutely agree re: Apollo and Starbuck. I wish that relationship had not been a thing at all, except that it provided an excellent opportunity for Dee to slap Kara (and then … ugh let me not get into Dee’s fate).

    Arlen and Renna make me angry because that was (A) not a relationship that needed to happen — or if it did, it could have been a lot more organic, and (B) the whole process of how he found her. Gr. That is angry making too… I better not go there either lol


  4. Definitely agreed re: Wheel of Time, the gender stereotypes got silly fast – I’ve heard Jordan was sending up the way young men and women tend to see each other, but it wore me out after a few books 🙂


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