In real life, abduction is an awful, violent thing that we hope would never happen to us or anyone we know. But in fiction, the Rule of Romantic can make abduction the basis of a wonderful, heartwarming love story…at least for some of us.
This is actually a more common trope than you might think. It’s the underlying premise for Beauty and the Beast, though Disney rewrote that part out of it. It’s a major plot element in Watership Down, as well as The Courtship of Princess Leia. More recently, Twilight featured a few variations on this trope, though considering the source, that probably isn’t surprising.
In G and PG rated versions, this often leads to And Now You Must Marry Me. In PG-13 and R rated versions, leads to Rape Is Love, with many unfortunate implications. Due to the violent nature of the story, it often involves a lot of Slap-Slap-Kiss. Stockholm Syndrome, the psychological phenomenon whereby victims of abduction develop an emotional connection with their captors, is the overarching theme, making any abduction love story a match made in Stockholm.
In the West, this trope tends to be a lot less prominent than it used to be. However, if you look at the trappings of our marriage customs, you start to notice some disturbing trends that point to a time when abduction-as-romance was much more common. For example, what was the original function of the best man at a wedding? Quite possibly, it was to keep the bride from escaping (or being rescued). And why does the groom whisk the bride away to a remote, isolated place to consummate the marriage? To evade the bride’s angry family, of course.
Here in Georgia, this trope is alive and well, not just in fiction but in real life–seriously. It’s called motatseba, and is often discussed with a wink and a nod. In the family that’s hosting me, the mother married her husband after he abducted her, then bore him four children. Now, they both seem to remember it rather fondly.
This is such a bizarre tradition that I’m going to dedicate an entire post to it…after I figure out just what the hell is going on. Seriously, I can barely make sense of the practice–it’s like a twisted game of tag involving sex and arranged marriage. How it can possibly lead to love…that’s what I’m trying to figure out.
However, I’m sure it involves some interesting variation of this trope.