Hey, it's Josh again.
Last week, I saw Tangled for the first time. This was a great little movie complete with a blond princess, amusing animals, and a clever romance. But after I left the theatre, one moment in particular keeps resonating in my chest. This movie illustrated my favorite part of romance, the most profound and meaningful part of any relationship: sacrifice.
Spoilers: I’m about to give away the ending to this movie.
At the end of this movie, Flynn Rider is about to die. As he clutches his fatal wound, he listens to Repunzel as she tries to get her captor to let her heal him. If she does, she will lose her freedom. After a few tense moments, Repunzel is allowed to go to him. She will give up everything for him. She will spend her life in captivity to save this boy.
I find this moment intense and fascinating. So much of romance is about sacrifice. In the smallest sense, it’s letting the guy or girl you love pick where you’ll go to dinner. Or maybe it’s about taking on an extra shift so you can get her something nice for her birthday.
If you want to go more epic, sacrifice is the moment when one character will give up what she wants most to save the a loved one. In Tangled, our princess hero craves her freedom, but she’ll give it up for the boy she loves. She goes to him, ready to sacrifice everything until he slashes away her hair, removing her magic and condemning him to death.
She will give up everything for him; he’ll give up everything for her. It’s beautiful, it’s wonderful, and it’s painful because this is love.
In our culture and life in general, love gets messed up with a bunch of other concepts. Love might get confused with friendship or sex. Love might be about meeting someone else’s expectations. But throw in some sacrifice, and it gets simple pretty quickly.
Are you willing to suffer or die? This combination simplifies the questions of romantic love. These people care about one another in a meaningful, fundamental, and nearly primordial way.
The same question of sacrifice arises in both of my upcoming novels. In Poisoned Star, Treya ultimately has to choose between her life and the boy she’s come to love. She knows that defying her masters will result in her death. For her, there is no question. There is no hope, so her decision nearly impossible.
Nick, the main character from Angels in Disguise, puts himself in the position where he will die for the woman he loves. He is part-demon and an angel’s light will kill him, but he exposes himself anyway because he must if he wants to save Jenny.
Love and the ultimate sacrifice, together they simplify a lot of questions whether it’s in one of my paranormal romances or an awesome Disney movie like Tangled.