We more cynical Shakespeare geeks can point out that Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, less about the romantic ideas of “how far would you go for love” and more “look what happens when adults are stupid,” but that doesn’t change the fact that the world at large loves a good tragic love story.
Over at GeekDad they’ve got Top 10 Tragic Love Stories in Geek Fiction. I think I’m stretching the Romeo and Juliet connection a bit as all of their examples are tragic in the sense that only one of the two lovers dies, leaving the other alone. I suppose that makes it even more depressing? At least Romeo and Juliet ended up together, kinda sorta. In all these examples, one lover is left to wander through life alone.
This being the realm of scifi,it’s a sad truth that 3 out of the 10 stories have been ruined by film interpretation, and you have to go back to the source material to get at the good stuff. They do offer up a classic, though – Lancelot and Guinevere make the list.
Got any favorite “tragic love stories” along these same lines? I’m tempted to bring up Tale of Two Cities, and Sydney Carton’s legendary “Far far better thing that I do” speech. Or perhaps Jean Valjean in Les Mis, devoting his life to the protection of Fantine’s daughter Cosette?