A while ago I was talking with my friend about the kinds of books we like to read and the kinds of movies we like to watch. I mentioned how some of my favourite stories were Atonement and Moulin Rouge, both of which have incredibly upsetting endings. He asked me what I liked about those and I said it was how much they made me want to cry (and do in fact make me bawl my eyes out practically every time I watch, or read, them). He wondered how I could love something that made me so sad, and I couldn’t really come up with an answer for this.
The truth is, I love tragedy, especially in terms of a love story. Sure, happy endings are great, and very satisfying, but there’s just something about an ending which upsets you which feels more whole and real, and the unfairness of it all just speaks to me in a way that a happy ending can’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love happy endings – I love that Belle and the Beast were able to get past their differences and learn to love each other, I love that Ariel found her reason and her push to live the life she had always wanted in the first place (note that these are all Disney-related, and that says something too I think, but that’s a whole other tangent). But a tragic ending, to me, will always be the perfect ending. Because it makes you ugly-cry, because it makes you feel and not just hope.
I’m thrilled to not have a tragic love story in my real life, and I would never in a million years want that. I’m glad that I’ve found my Prince Charming and am on my way to my happy ending. But for reading a book, or watching a movie – give me tragedy! Make me cry. Make me feel something that is not happy. And even after saying that I still don’t know what it is about tragedy that I love so much, but I love it and it will always be my favourite.
Give me Atonement; give me Moulin Rouge; give me the Emperor and Empress of Austria, who, upon hearing of her death, he said “You will never know how much I loved that woman”; give me two people that loved each other so much but because of something horrible and out of their control they were forced to leave one another. The unfairness of it is what makes it click with me, if that makes sense. I think the love part of a love story feels all the more real when the two people that loved each other can’t end up together. You feel so much more how much they loved each other when you feel the horribleness deep within your soul at them being separated. I think that’s it. I’m a girl who believes in love beyond anything else, and when two people who love each other can’t be together and it hurts, then the love was real, and that makes it all the more painful that it should end.
Give me tragedy. Give me love. Make me feel it.