Spoilers for The Orville
So I had already written an entire post about The Orville, more specifically about the semi-romantic relationship between Dr. Claire Finn and Isaac. I was exploring how different and unique the relationship played out since he's an android, how interesting the relationship between the two was without any legitimate romance occuring. He was attentive, kind, and thoughtful, though he did so only on an efficiency level.
As I wrote this I had the latest episode of The Orville on. Suffice it to say (LAST CHANCE TO AVOID SPOILERS) the pair become an official couple. It's a cute episode and I have no problems with it, but I feel like there was something unique that was lost when the pair entered into a "normal" relationship. It was so interesting to see the way he worked with her kids, how they adored him despite the fact that he was completely incapable of returning any affection either the children or their mother had for him. He was accidentally proving to be a perfect companion to her. Now it's just like any other relationship, and that's not a bad thing. I just wonder where it could've gone.
So in that spirit, I want to muse for just a moment about romance in stories. I'm always intrigued when there's a way to spin a relationship in a way that we don't see that often. I'm not talking about changing genders or attractions; regardless of the other person, love is still love and we've seen that. I'm talking about a relationship that isn't about a romantic fulfillment. In this era of internet shippers, I wonder if there can't just be some relationships that are platonic, relationships that are deep, intimate, but don't require a sexual aspect to them.
Don't get me wrong. One of my guilty wishes for being an author is to see fans ship my characters; the weirder the better. But for actually writing it, and even for consuming it, I rather enjoy seeing a close relationship between two people that doesn't need to go further.
Today we generally seem to think of love in two forms: romantic and platonic. We can have the love between a parent and child and we can have the love between spouses. Obviously it's more nuanced than that, but I need to wrap this blog up eventually. Point is, I'm much more interested in the classic seven loves: Eros, Philia, Storge, Agape, Ludus, Pragma, and Philautia. I won't go deeply into them today, but suffice it to say that they break love into seven different types, such as familial, erotic, juvenile, etc...
I'm a man who loves nuance and this interpretation allows for more distinctions, from sexual, passionate love to close friendship to the universal love one might have for all humanity. We so often label all these distinct emotions as "love" and I feel like that loses something.
I think that as writers, readers, and just people in general, we can really get something out of understanding different types of relationships, by not just blindly referring to them all as "love." But... maybe that's just me.
What are your thoughts?
Keep your eyes open for my debut novel, The Paladin.