A really important point for me, is whether the RO in question actually have feelings for the MC or not. I would be pretty devastated, if it turns out the RO never actually cared for the MC at any point, and was just using them.
The romance started out as a means to an end for the RO, but they developed feelings for the MC over time? Love it.
The RO was secretly the big bad, or some sort of betrayer all a long, but fell for the MC anyway? Yes, give me that delicious evil drama.
Plot forces the RO and MC apart, but they still care for each other? I can go for that tragic love.
The RO dies / is murdered / sacrifices themselves? It depends on how it’s done, and when it happens, but sure, sometimes that fine.
But do not tell me my MC was unwanted and unloved all along, that the intimacy and vulnerability and bonding really meant nothing.
Obsessive/possessive characters. Red flag love interests, basically yanderes. I am not romantizing them, but I would love to see more stories about them. Everyone writes stories about buliding a kindgom, going to the academy, defeating a demon lord, being a superhero… that’s why I would love to see stories more focused on relationships and it’s hardships.
Don’t know if it’s very common (or if even counts as a troupe), but I would love to see more “undeniable loyalty” character archetype. Someone who’s devoted by you (not romantically, at least in start) and by your actions (either good/evil/mid).
Oh hell yes. This, combined with the “Will burn the world down for you, if you would but ask it of me” is my absolute bias. (For examples, Hua Cheng from Tian Guan Ci Fu, Harley Quinn from Harley Quinn, And in a platonic example, Sirius Black from Harry Potter.)
Hmm the two that have been on my mind the most as of late would be truly monstruous RO’s(not necessarily in terms of appearance but more outlook/mindset like a eldritch horror that’s taken a humanoid form) that finds softer/more “human” parts of themselves through their bond with the MC and MC or RO’s with disabilities(not for any kind of “savior” complex kinda stuff but rather for tender moments and romantic versions of the “blind and the beast” trope; blind mc falls for gorgon/medusa kinda char anyone?).
There was a wip called “Until the Colors Bleed Gray” that had a blind mc in a modern setting(sadly i think its not active) that had me daydreaming of tender moments like my mc tracing their ro’s face to 'see" them.
The loyal friendships. I’m thinking like lord of the rings as an example here, so many strong friendships between multiple characters without a hint of romance.(In fact the friendships tended to be stronger than any of the romances portrayed.) It kinda seems so often in IF, if there’s a strong friendship, co-workers, etc happening, it has to progress to being a RO which I think is a huge shame as it one notes all the different kinds of relationships with others that are possible. I’d like to see more strong ties that don’t even have a hint of anything to do with romance (friendships, family, duty etc) portrayed in CSGs as it just seems comparatively rare. Grim and I is one of the few I can think of that gives priority to exploring the relationship between the two main characters in a platonic way.
More robot ROs, and exploring what would come of such a relationship. And I don’t just mean “oblivious confused but interested” robot RO, I want more explorations of what such a dynamic could be. Would be very interesting to have the MC be a robot, and have the other ROs have certain preconceptions or questions that the MC could either tear down or play into. Would be funny to have a “hey I’m a robot” reveal and the RO just responds with “AYOO REALLY??? THATS EVEN BETTER LETS GOOOO”
So I was thinking of what kind of love interests I want to see more of, and this is what I came up with:
More red flag romances. More villainous love interests, more enemies/rivals to lover romances.
More reincarnated lovers. Basically one party is immortal, the other is not. The immortal keeps seeing their dead past lover in you. Which leads to the protagonist wondering if the love interest truly loves them or who they used to be. There is something so tragic yet beautiful about this. Every time i see it, I eat it up. Delicious.
More heart-breaking exes. Either you dumped them or they dumped you. The history, the tension, I eat it up.
More green flag romances. Golden retriever energy like Watson from that Sherlock game. I can’t help but find it so adorable and sweet and I need 20 more romances like this one please.
More childhood friends. They met each other when they were children or they have a history as friends. Add some mutual pining and I love this trope.
More dorky, nerdy love interests. I just love dorks no other reason.
I just read a short story with this and it. AUGH. MY HEARTT. Anyways, I’m not entirely sure how this would be achieved in the way I’m envisioning, but more “ragtag group of friends who are really good fighters and heros and whatnot go through life together having achieved great things except they’re different species so they die at different times, and there ends up only being two (immortals) left.” It’s just such a. Like. The found family but it’s DEAD and you’re ALL THAT’S LEFT of this great age of heros who did amazing things, and you cling to eachother like lifelines.
This is kind of weird with an IF that would have a very varied RO list, as I imagine the MC as one of the pair of immortals, but I’m envisioning a scenario where the other Immortal is an insanely close friend and very important to the MC + relevant to the MC’s story regardless of any romance with them. That whole “after thousands and thousands of years our relationship is so murky that defining it is difficult, but I know that you are The Most Important Person In My Life, and I would die for you tens of times over.” QPR vibes, y’know?
Back on topic: an underused RO archetype that I really adore, and that I didn’t even know I adored until I read the Shadow Society, is the ‘bubbly/silly RO that’s actually a lot more mature/dark deep down’. And the bubbly/silly aspect of their personality doesn’t necessarily have to be a front either: it can genuinely be a part of who they are, just like the more mature/dark side is a part of who they are.
Idk, I love that idea so much. It’s not seen super often, and I feel like the contrast gives the character so much more depth.
It’s a little weird for me to think of this considering I can’t remember the name of the story that used it, must’ve been years ago. But I like the trope where the mentor figure is actually just an average, everyday person who simply has better perspective, life experience, humility, etc than the hero does.
Ah yes! Now I remember, I must’ve been thinking of Uncle Ben from Spider-Man. And other super heroes who learn stuff from their family members as well.