Instalove 101: When Instalove Has the Chance to Grow

instalovebannerThanks to the lovely ladies at A Novel Idea for hosting this month’s Instalove 101, where we bloggers bring you lectures on the hard issues in fiction literature, like love triangles and instalove. Today I will be sharing what happens when instalove has the chance to grow, focusing specifically on the case study of Peeta Mellark.

peeta-stalkerSubject: Peeta Mellark. Evidence of Possible Instalove:

“Handsome lad like you. There must be some special girl. Come on, what’s her name?”says Caesar.
Peeta sighs.

“Well, there is this one girl. I’ve had a crush on her ever since I can remember. But I’m pretty sure she didn’t know I was alive until the reaping.”

… “She have another fellow?” asks Caesar.

“I don’t know, but a lot of boys like her,” says Peeta.

“So here’s what  you do. You win, you go home. She can’t turn you down then, eh?” says Caesar encouragingly.

“I don’t think it’s going to work out. Winning . . . won’t help in my case,” says Peeta.

“Why ever not?” says Caesar, mystified.

Peeta blushes beet red and stammers out. “Because . . . because. . . she came here with me.”peeta-caesar“So that day, in music assembly, the teacher asked who knew the valley song. Your hand shot right up in the air. She stood you up on a stool and had you sing it for us. And I swear, every bird outside the windows fell silent,” Peeta says.

“Oh please,” I say, laughing.

“No, it happened. And right when your song ended, I knew – just like your mother – I was a goner.” peeta-katniss-cave“Well Peeta, we know, from our days in the cave, that it was love at first sight for you from what, age five?” Caesar says.

“From the moment I laid eyes on her,” says Peeta. caesar-katniss-peeta

Diagnosis: Definitely Instalove

I know that I was not alone in swooning over Peeta’s story, even though it’s really quite silly. He says that when he was five years old, he fell in love with Katniss upon seeing her and hearing her sing. For 11 years his fascination has not dwindled, in fact, it has no doubt increased. And the poor guy gets pushed into a plant by Katniss. Of course, she’s highly suspicious that he’s going to kill her in the Games, and now isn’t exactly the time for him to be declaring his love for her, seeing as they both won’t make it out of the Games alive.

But they do, and Katniss has to pretend all the while that she loves Peeta. And though Peeta does care for Katniss, it’s hard for him to pretend they’re happy when he knows how she really feels.

They spend months apart before the Victory Tour, in which they have to play happy couple again. Peeta continues to show his kindness, not just towards Katniss but also to District 11, which is the moment when Katniss realizes that Peeta really is quite a catch.

Then the Quarter Quell is announced, and they’re both are going back to the arena. And even though Peeta lies to the whole country that he and Katniss are already married and that she’s pregnant, she’s not upset with him. She knows they’re on the same team now, and they have to stick together to fight against the Capitol’s system. But she also becomes determined to keep Peeta alive.

She starts to care more about his survival than hers, just as he has cared for her survival more than his. 

“If you die, and I live, there’s no life for me at all back in District Twelve. You’re my whole life,” he says. “I would never be happy again.” catching-fire-beachI realize only one person will be damaged beyond repair if Peeta dies. Me.

“I do,” I say. “I need you.”

…before he can talk, I stop his lips with a kiss.

I feel that thing again. The thing I only felt once before. In the cave last year, when I was trying to get Haymitch to send us food. I kissed Peeta about a thousand times during those Games and after. But there was only one kiss that made me want more.

As Katniss’ love grows to something true, Peeta has the chance to see what love with Katniss actually looks like.

Then Peeta is hijacked and it makes him a different person by the time he is rescued. He doesn’t remember loving Katniss, and their relationship has to start completely over.

Katniss has to take the initiative to save Peeta and a possible relationship between them.

“I must have loved you a lot.”

“You did.” My voice catches and I pretend to cough.

“And did you love me?” he asks.

I keep my eyes on the tiled floor. “Everyone says I did. Everyone says that’s why Snow had you tortured. To break me.”

“That’s not an answer,” he tells me. peeta“But I think it’s time you flipped this little scenario around in your head. If you’d been taken by the Capitol, and hijacked, and then tried to kill Peeta, is that the way he would be treating you?” demands Haymitch.

I fall silent. It isn’t. It isn’t how he would be treating me at all. He would be trying to get me back at any cost. Not shutting me out, abandoning me, greeting me with hostility at every turn.

“You and me, we made a deal to try and save him. Remember?”

haymitch-catching-fireThrough time, through persistence, and through patience, Katniss fell in love with Peeta, and he fell back in love with her. And this time, it meant much more than seeing a cute girl at the age of 5. Now it was deeper, more devoted. The two literally went through hell and back again together, then faced their own demons separately. Needless to say, what started out as instalove for Peeta grew to become a well-earned love relationship.

Are you much more open to a story about instalove if it has the chance to grow? Do you know of a good example of this besides Peeta? When do you think Katniss realized she loved Peeta too?

19 Responses to Instalove 101: When Instalove Has the Chance to Grow

  1. This is such a lovely post! I can’t think of any examples where an instalove is actually written into a deeper romantic connection which is a very interesting twist to most instalove stories! Even though in the beginning I was dazzled by Gale, I turned into a big Peeta fan by how well Katniss and Peeta’s romance was developed! Great post!

  2. Oooh, what a great example for a post! Yeah, I think if insta-love has the opportunity to grow or if it’s unrequited at first then it is interesting to watch everything unfold and see characters’ feelings change. Not sure about this example, but I’ll put it out there anyway- I always like Ginny in the Harry Potter books, but when she starts Hogwarts in second year she has a bit of a insta-love going on for Harry and she is such an awkward fangirl around him. But throughout the series we see her grow up and become her own person that it does feel like this insta-love has its own chance to develop.

  3. Well I’m totally biased here, because Everlark is like my #1 OTP. But YES all of the applause to this post. I think this instalove was different, because initially it was one-sided. I hate insta-love when it’s BOTH participants, and that becomes the sole focus. But Peeta was like Katniss’s side story, and she focused on the war and her family first, then it slowly grew into her love for Peeta.

    Now I’m falling in love with these two all over again <3

    • Yes, instalove when it’s both people who just refuse to think clearly is definitely way annoying! I figured there would be plenty of posts hammering out those frustrations, and I wanted to talk about a not-so-bad instalove story. And yes, writing this post made me desperate to get my hands on the Catching Fire Blu-Ray that is coming out soon!

  4. What a great post, Amy! I like that you decided to examine one instalove relationship more deeply. I knew these things from reading the books, but I hadn’t ever really considered the breadth of their relationship until I ready our post. I think you’re right. In the end, it really did grow into something much better than instalove! And it’s weird that it might never have even grown into something else if Katniss hadn’t been forced to pretend in the first place!

  5. This was great! I am not a fan of instalove, but it never actually bothered me in Hunger Games, I think in large part because it wasn’t mutual. When it’s mutual instalove it just feels cheesy and fake, but I can believe that one person would maybe fall for another early on, and I agree that even though Peeta had instalove for Katniss, he was forced to evaluate it, forced to see her as the person she really was and not the idealized version he probably had in his head, and so I felt like his love ended up being much more solid and real.

    I think you laid it all out really well in this post, though. Thanks for sharing!

    • Exactly, he had to come to grips with who Katniss really was versus who he had imagined her to be! It was quite a journey for both of them, for sure!

  6. First off, ADVICE PEETA haha!

    Second, this was such a great post. I loved reading the analysis of the relationship between Peeta and Katniss, and how it grows and changes. As for letting instalove grow, I think I would be more okay with it if it wasn’t mutual. Like the person above me (mysticcooking) said, mutual instalove does feel cheesy. If they went from just meeting to wanting to give up everything for the other person RIGHT AWAY, I’d just be like “… Well. I see.”

    As for when do I think Katniss realised she loved Peeta… Maybe when he ran into the force field during the Quarter Quell and the thought of losing him became so real to her. Maybe? Maybe.

    • It does seem to be consensus that instalove is much more tolerable when it’s one-sided rather than mutual.

      And I agree that at least subconsciously, Katniss realized she loved Peeta when she nearly lost him!

  7. I absolutely enjoy when instalove is given a chance to grow and flourish! This example is interesting, since the instalove is quite one-sided – something else I’d be interested in seeing more author’s explore.

  8. I was always on team Peeta..I thought Gale was a real d-bag from the first book onward..I never thought of it as insta-love because it takes Katniss so long to figure out how she feels..but you are right it can still be even if it is one-sided…doesn’t bug me because as you say it is well developed!

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