Review Excerpts

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Trope-tastic Thursday: The Lost Lenore

(Don't forget to leave a comment on the Spring is in the Air Blog Hop for some prizes and to check out the rest of my VBT schedule! Also, this is my 100th post! Woo hoo!)

Trope: The Lost Lenore

Description: The Lost Lenore is a dead love interest of one of the main characters. Not only is she dead, her absence has a profound effect on the character for the rest of the work, to the point where it can even influence the plot. Lost Lenores can either be dead at the beginning of the story, or die early on; either way, it's the reaction to her death that determines whether or not she qualifies for this trope. (While they're frequently female, every now and then a male Lost Lenore pops up.)

Examples: Lenore from The Raven (duh), Mal from Inception, Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks

Pros: Love is powerful and can even transcend death. A Lost Lenore can also kick off all sorts of plots for the lover she left behind, from some soul-searching and self-discovery to kick-ass vengeance (depending on the circumstances). In romance, the audience is touched if the hero is able to work through his grief and learn to love again.

Cons: There's a fine line to straddle here, for if the hero doesn't grieve long enough for the audience's liking, it can feel like he's cheating on the Lost Lenore if he finds himself with another woman too quickly. Tone is important to keep in mind here, as anything overly cheery will feel incongruous right after her death. Also, considering they're dead (or die quickly), Lost Lenores can be difficult to develop and make into three-dimensional characters.

Would/Did I Use It?: I'd say Meyta from Disintegration definitely qualifies. (That's not a spoiler, it's in the blurb of the book.) She's dead by the second chapter, but don't think for a moment that she'll be easily forgotten. (And that's all I'll say about that, as I don't want to reveal true spoilers!) I did keep the concerns on the "cons" list in mind, and I hope I struck that proper balance between grieving and moving on to the actual love interest of the book.


  1. I think I have a Lost Lenore in my book. My MC's wife dies early on.

  2. 100 post!! All right!!
    I don't think I've ever used this. I can't find an example in my brain.

    The Woman in Black had a Lost Lenore for sure.