Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Books and Their ~Ships (3): On Trios


OK. OK. I am not accusing Rick Riordan of anything. Having recently reread the first three Percy Jackson books, with the intention of reading them all soon, I can assert that they are a top-notch series.

I just think it's interesting that this is the prevailing trio demographic.

I was considering the reasons why this might be. My first thought was about invisible gender double standards: the idea that has slipped into our consciousness that whilst it's fine for a girl to have male best friends, a boy with all female best friends must be effeminate/camp/in some way less than a man. Therefore, the only acceptable trio dynamic is one girl and two boys.

However, on considering it further I wondered if there's a more simple reason: merely that every MC wants a best friend of their own gender, for fraternity/sisterhood. Thus, Harry and Percy need their Ron and their Grover. 

It's also interesting to note that the boy/boy/girl structure is also dominant in love triangles. Again, this can be understood two ways, the first by gender double standards: that a girl with two boys chasing her just can't help it, and they are both noble/devoted/in every way in the right to be pursuing her even if there's another man in her life. However, a boy with two girls chasing him can be seen as a bit of a player, and the girls as obsessive harpies who need to back off.

The other, perhaps more likely reason, is that in a book with a love triangle, the girl is almost always the MC, and maybe it's easier to like the object of two people's affections, rather than one of the two "chasers". Therefore, the girl ends up being the one who is chased by two guys.

As you can probably tell, this is all idle speculation on my part. I have no answers, or even strongly formed opinions. So, you have to tell me what you think. Help me figure it out! Why is the boy/boy/girl structure the common one? Can you think of other trios that follow a different pattern? And what about love triangles? Any girl/girl/boy ones that spring to mind? And can you think of any other reasons that both the Harry Potter and Percy Jackson trios fall into the roles they do?


  1. Oh, I so agree with you! I definitely think the boy/boy/girl structure works best, since girl/girl/boy probably makes the boy look like a flirt. I also definitely agree with that whole Harry Potter/Percy Jackson idea - except Ron ended up with Hermione and Percy with Annabeth!

    1. It definitely does, though I don't know if this is a problem/embedded sexism .... I don't think it's very fair!
      Haha, yes! I was thinking, that is the one difference between them! I was considering putting it on the graphic XD

  2. Wow, I never noticed this. I'm trying to remember a girl/girl/boy trio, but I can't!

    Why do people seem to think that a girl/girl/ boy trio is strange? And if it's a love triangle then why do all three of them get looked down on? Just because multiple girls pursue a guy doesn't mean anything about him. He might not encourage them. Maybe he just has an attractive personality. As for the girls, I don't see why it would put either of them in the wrong to like the same guy unless he already has a girlfriend.

    I was watching the last episode of The Mentalist last night and something similar to this kind of came up to me. The leading man and leading lady are both pursued by other people (I don't know if you've seen the Mentalist or not). But I realized that it doesn't make either of them look like a flirt or a player or unfaithful, etc. It makes them look desirable. They're both attractive people with attractive personalities so it only makes sense that more than one person would want to be with them. It may also have something to do with the way the show pulled it off that didn't make either of them look bad. For instance (it's a detective show), the other lady who likes the leading man is on the same FBI team as they are. Both the ladies get along well together. They work really well together. Their scenes always leaving you cheering for them as strong yet still female characters. Now, when the leading man is in a scene with them, you can feel subtle, under the surface tension, almost competition between the two ladies. But it's not overbearing. Neither one of them changes their normal behavior for the sake of "winning" this guy's attention.

    1. Right?? In the chapter of le novel that I was writing today we're currently operating on a girl/girl/boy trio, but only because the other boy (they're a group of four) is away. I've never read a book where it's done. But I have a vague plot bunny and a girl/girl/boy trio seems to be blowing on the wind ...
      But Emily, focus. You need to finish this novel first!

      Exactly exactly exactly! So many gender stereotypes.

      I have never seen The Mentalist but it sounds like it's doing things well. This is exactly the problem: the idea that if two girls like one guy they are both scheming/manipulative/artful. As if it doesn't happen in real life, between friends; as if it isn't just a part of life!


Thanks for commenting! :)