TikTok, the popular social media platform, is known for its creative content and diverse array of videos. In the last couple of years, there has been an uptick in the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope, which is a popular romantic plotline that sees two people who initially dislike each other eventually fall in love. In this article, I’m going to discuss when this trope started gaining traction, what it is exactly, and why people love it so much.
This trope is nothing new, and has been around for centuries.
This trope can be seen in many classic works of literature and film, most notably Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen, which has consistently appeared near the top of lists of “most-loved books” among literary scholars and the reading public alike.
However, it has recently gained traction on TikTok, with users creating videos about this trope and its various permutations. The main theme of these videos being book recommendations that make use of the trope. Among the most popular of these books are titles such as Lightlark, These Violent Delights, and A Court of Thorns and Roses.
What is considered an ‘enemies to lovers’ romance?
There are a few variations of this trope, but the most prevalent is when characters go from hatred to love for each other, rather than ever being actual enemies. This can be seen in many popular romcoms of the last century.
Another similar version of this would be the ‘rivals to lovers’ trope; a more contemporary version of the enemies to lovers trope. These characters are competing against each other, but are usually on the same side.
This brings me to the last variation I’ll mention: the ‘reluctant allies’ trope. These stories revolve around characters who have to set their differences aside to work together, usually to defeat a common enemy. After spending time working together, the two characters then fall in love.
Why readers love the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope:
To put it simply, conflict makes romance more interesting.
Characters being enemies makes their romance feel forbidden, which brings more drama to the story. It also forces the author to give these characters more development, making them altogether more interesting (in theory).
The anticipation readers feel while witnessing the tumultuous beginnings of a relationship, while knowing these characters are going to be lovers, creates a slow burn. A lingering in our hearts and minds, even when we put the book down.
And lastly, the reason readers love the ‘enemies to lovers’ trope is the same reason we love all ridiculous tropes in our reading. It’s a way to experience an adventurous romance once would otherwise never encounter.
Could you ever have romantic feelings for someone whom you despised? Or for one who despised you? I certainly couldn’t. However; my tattered, well-loved and well travelled copy of Jane Austen’s work would tell you a different story.