so, let's talk about destined rivals!
this is a trope I can either love or hate, depending on the execution. i mean, on one level it's really quite silly, this idea that you have ONE PERSON who is your DESTINED ONE, whether it's for romance or enmity or anything else. but i do think you can have 'true love' (though of course that does not make other loves false) with someone, where you can feel yourself falling inevitably in and down, down, down.
so i can find the trope of destined rivals very interesting indeed. it's true love without the happy ending, soulmates without romance. two people who are eternally opposed, though in the end they may be very much alike. but they are not enemies; there is always this expectation that if something truly terrible happens, they will back each other up against it. --but also, there is the knowledge that for them there is no happy ending. or rather, that their happy ending is to fight and clash for the rest of their lives, wary glances across a room, blood and death waiting in the wings.
their destined and fated end is to die at each others' hands.
--in a lot of ways this is more interesting to me than romance, though of course it's definitely less healthy for everyone involved. very tragic. yet satisfying!
as with most tropes i like, this one is too often about guys when I think it would be more interesting with female characters.
---and yet, I think it can also be much more interesting to take this trope, with its inevitable ending, and have one character decide that this is not how they want things to go. because as powerful as things like that are, big dramatic feelings things, there are other things much stronger and more important. which would you rather have, a destined and perfect rivalry, or a real, flawed friendship (one where you don't have to worry about getting stabbed)? and if you can't get a friendship, then at least lay those old ghosts to rest. get out of the game. you, at least, will not die upon an old friend's sword.
actually, that would be a great fic: younger, they are infatuated with this feeling, the knowledge that there will always be one person they can fight with honor, one who can oppose them perfectly. and older, they realise that this slow-burn life-long fury is not something to hold on to; rather, it is something to set into a jar on the mantle and look at now and then.
because that life, that relationship, does inevitably end in death, because either they or you will come back to try again and again until the other is permanently gone. this is not a sustainable way of living; it has a build-in endpoint. and you have to plan to live.
The above is all just me thinking to myself, which is why it's all in lowercase, but I read something today that made me dust it off and post it. This thing
, in fact, and much thanks to aintgotnoladytronblues
for bringing it to my attention. For those of you who don't want to click the link, it's a post on True Detective, and -- more importantly -- about the fact that the whole Destined Rivals thing is a really misogynistic trope that ties into the whole Great Man theory of history, where it's all about heroes and kings and villains having their epic destined fights, and never you mind all those hundreds of thousands of people who won't eat this winter . . .
I don't know. It's a very interesting trope, especially if you look at it through its natural mirror of soul-mates, but also I feel that it's ultimately pointless. The brilliant detective and the clever murderer, yeah yeah, who gives a fuck.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go watch True Detective.