It’s no secret on this blog that I love Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy pairings (“Drarry,” for the uninitiated) in fanfiction. I found that Drarry was the pairing I read the most, by a large margin, in 2018. I think like it and certain other pairings because I have an unabashed love for the enemies-to-lovers trope in romance. I like watching characters who hate each other fall in love.
Unfortunately, this is a hard type of romance to write in traditionally published fiction. That’s because I also need to get to know the characters very well before I would truly buy into them becoming friends and then lovers. This tends to drive me to fanfiction because I have gotten comfortable with certain characters enough to believe many of the different ways that they could come to trust and then love each other.
That’s why I tend to get this out of Drarry fanfiction. I’ve gotten to know both of the characters from the books and movies. I’ve also gotten used to how they might be portrayed in fanfiction to start thinking about how their character types (as they appear in canon or non-canon) mesh and what similarities could draw them closer.
Today, I’m answering the prompt for the I Heart Characters! Meme about my favorite romance trope. In trying to examine why I’m drawn to Drarry fanfiction, I have to think about why I like enemies-to-lovers fanfiction. If there is a type of romance I am drawn to and read a lot of, it’s enemies to lovers.
My first reason for loving the enemies-to-lovers trope is that I like exploring the fine line between love and hate. A connection already exists between the characters, and it’s intriguing to see it morph into its opposite. It’s interesting to see which circumstances or dynamics would shift the emotions from hate to friendship to love.
When discussing my love of Drarry fanfiction, I see their foil relationship as something that could have been more than it was. There are moments where I think about how alike and unalike they are. I remember them obsessing over each other in the last few books. There is something there that could morph into a positive, romantic relationship.
The circumstances themselves are another reason I love this trope. These can range from mates, or otherwise forcing a relationship, to the character turning to the other for help. Maybe they grew up in a different world. Maybe one of them is a teacher of the other’s child and the two adults fall in love.
In the case of mates, I went through Veela and Vampire phases in my Drarry fanfic reading. Many of these deal with Harry being in some way forced to be in a relationship, usually by making him make split-second decision to not let Draco die because of their past rivalry. After dealing with that initial decision, they have to fight more to deal with other issues that come up in their relationship.
I’m also a sucker for Drarry fanfics that take place in the next generation. For the most part, I like Harry becoming another father for Scorpius. It adds another dimension to romance by factoring in other people who will be affected. Not only do they fight with each other but they also consider how their conflict and decisions affect the child(ren) involved. It brings the story out of teen romance into some adult conflicts that appear in real life.
The types of Drarry fics that I discussed above describe working through conflicts in relationships and evolving characters. I like that this type of relationship, usually coming out of interesting premises, forces the characters to work through their problems.
Through their conflicts with each other, the characters evolve, often through a redemption arc. I tend to favor Draco becoming a better person through these relationships because I, unlike J.K. Rowling (see Pottermore and this tweet), believe that he can change for the better if placed in different circumstances.
On the other hand, I also like reading the fallen-hero arcs where Harry becomes a Dark or Grey Wizard. I don’t think that every instance of their pairing should result in a happily ever after where good triumphs over evil. It’s fun to watch the hero fall from grace, and it’s fun if that happened because of or concurrently with a romantic relationship.
Whether you prefer the redemption arc or the fallen-hero arc, the best part of these character arcs is that the characters change and grow. They can change for the better, the worse, or something in between. There’s humanity to be seen in watching how those relationships change people. In favor of the redemption arc, that’s a dose of something we could appreciate more in real life. People are capable of changing into better human beings.
This character growth also lets the reader and writer become more critical of the original text to consider how some things that are assigned to good and evil are not so black-and-white.
The enemies to lovers trope is something I love reading in Drarry fanfiction because it’s complicated in the relationship and for the society. This trope satisfies a wish to continue living in many variations of the Harry Potter universe while allowing me to look through more complex ways that the relationships can evolve, that themes can be examined or introduced to the world, and characters can grow. I love this trope for the complexity.
What is your favorite romance trope? Do you find it more in traditionally published literature or in fanfiction?
The I Heart Characters! Meme is hosted by Dani @ Perspective of a Writer. This was started for book bloggers to share their love of characters. If you would like to know the upcoming prompts, follow the link to her blog.