Muggle-and-Magical Love Triangle
Popular boy or half-demon dog boy?
Alice is an Ordinary High-School Student
. Bob is the School Idol
who has started to show interest in Alice. Aerithus is a Warrior Prince
from another dimension who has somehow ended up in Alice's life and is turning her world and her emotions upside-down. Which will she choose?
This trope is for any situation where a character (usually but not always The Protagonist
) is placed in a Love Triangle
situation where he or she must choose between rival suitors where one of the suitors has Magic and Powers
, is non-human
, or has some other property that places them firmly in the category of Speculative Fiction
, and the other suitor is an ordinary person
. Of course, the "magic" option need not use something called magic. In a Science Fiction
setting, aliens, time travelers, visitors from another dimension or planet, or similar such characters qualify. In a Super Hero
setting, anyone with superpowers would qualify.
When the character making the choices is a Muggle
, such cases generally represent more than just a choice between persons, but often a Red Pill, Blue Pill
kind of choice between living a normal life and living one that is exciting and exotic, but unfamiliar and often dangerous. Generally speaking, you can expect the character to go with the exotic Love Interest
, because that is what allows for a more interesting storyline. However, sometimes it will be treated much the same way as a Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor
plot, with the muggle
picking an ordinary life of simple love over all the exotic things the non-muggle can offer them.
Sometimes the Magical option will have distinct disadvantages. We all know power comes at a price, and certain limitations may make it difficult for the protagonist to honestly desire a life with them. Maybe they can't be away from water. Maybe they have no physical presence, or have debilitating effects on those around them. Maybe the protagonist just finds the fact that they're not quite human unsettling. Whatever the issue, it makes the expression of love and lasting commitment a problem. The Muggle, on the other hand, is presumably a lovely person but with no such paranormal limitations. Suddenly they look a lot more enticing.
If the character making the choice is a non-muggle
, one can almost invariably expect them to marry the Muggle
, often in the face of resistance, prejudice and even taboos and prohibitions from their community of fellow fantastic beings.
By default, it involves Muggle-Mage Romance
Compare to Betty and Veronica
and Rich Suitor, Poor Suitor
. Sometimes overlaps with Loves My Alter Ego
and Two-Person Love Triangle
; themselves subtropes of the Secret Identity
Anime and Manga
- InuYasha - Kagome has the most desired boy in school fall in love with her, but even when she goes on dates with him she finds herself thinking about Inu Yasha, a half-dog demon from the mythic past.
- Meru Puri
- Airi Hoshina finds herself with conflicting feelings for Aram, a magical prince from another world, and Nakaoji, a boy that loves her and that she thinks could fit her idea of a perfect husband
- Likewise, Aram must choose between the muggle Airi and the noble magical girl from his own magical world that his father wants him to marry.
- D.N.Angel - Risa rejects Daisuke's advances, regarding him as too ordinary. Instead she falls for Dark, an exotic magical Phantom Thief. Little does she realize that Dark is Daisuke's Super-Powered Alter Ego. Meanwhile, Dark is attracted to Risa's sister, Riku, who is repulsed by him and prefers . . . Daisuke. Yeah, it's that kind of series.
- Rinko in Omamori Himari is a Muggle in the protagonist's harem.
- Shakugan no Shana has Yuuji in this scenario with Shana (magical) and Kazumi (normal).
- Allen, Hitomi, and Van in The Vision of Escaflowne. While Allen may be a Master Swordsman, he is a muggle to the bone, while Van is a Half-Human Hybrid, descendant of the cursed and now-extinct Atlantean race. Also, Allen appears to be the Gaean counterpart of Amano, Hitomi's high school running coach and first crush, making him a muggle times two.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Sayaka, a Magical Girl, and Hitomi, a Muggle, are both in love with Kyosuke. However, it's played with in that Kyosuke doesn't know that Sayaka is a Magical Girl in the first place. Ultimately, Kyosuke picks the latter, which is one of the catalysts in Sayaka's fall to despair and ultimate witch-hood.
- It is a not infrequent situation in superhero comics, usually with a superhero having to choose between a fellow superhero and a non-powered civilian.
- Some examples from Spider-Man:
- Subverted in the case of Spider-Man's first love Betty Brant, who did not know she was inside one when she was wooed both by cub photographer Peter Parker and reporter Ned Leeds. She eventually married Ned, who later got killed.
- During the mid-1980s Spider-Man found himself between the Black Cat and "civilian" Mary Jane Watson. He eventually chose Mary Jane, whom he married in 1987.
- In Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter Parker dated the X-Men's Kitty Pryde for a time, but eventually found himself drawn back to Mary Jane.
- For a time in the 1980s Doctor Strange found himself in a dilemma between his magical disciple Clea (a native of the Dark Dimension) and Earth-bound journalist and writer Morgana Blessing.
- When Chris Claremont decided in the mid-1980s to break up the X-Man Nightcrawler and his longtime lover, the sorceress Amanda Sefton aka Jimaine Szardos, he had him become attracted to a Ruritanian princess.
- Crystal of the Inhumans cheated on her husband Quicksilver with a nondescript, non-powered suburbanite.
- After Jean Grey (formerly Marvel Girl) returned from the bottom of Jamaica Bay, Cyclops found himself inexorably drawn to her despite being married. To make matters worse, his wife Madelyne looked just like Jean! (She was later revealed to be Jean's clone and killed off).
- Cyclops' teammate the Angel lived with his girlfriend Candy Southern throughout most of the 1970s and early 1980s, but that did not stop him from feeling attracted to the superheroine Dazzler or Jean Grey (after her return).
- Marlo Chandler, the wife of The Incredible Hulk supporting character Rick Jones, unexpectedly found herself drawn to the telepathic and telekinetic Moondragon and lived with her for a while before returning to her husband. (Before she first met Rick, Marlo had also been the Hulk's lover for a while).
- Jenny's having to choose between Zot and Woody in Zot!
- Thor fell in love with human Jane Foster, but his father shipped him with his fellow Asgardian Sif.
- In The Mortal Instruments, Clary Fray has her childhood friend Simon Lewis, a normal boy (until halfway through City of Ashes) who is in love with her and she herself has a crush on demon-slaying Shadowhunter, Jace Wayland.
- The Dreamer has Bea caught between Alan, the dashing revolutionary war soldier she meets in her dreams, and Ben, the football captain at her high school and her long time crush.
- The protagonist of Blood And Chocolate, a werewolf named Vivian, has this when she is forced to choose between the werewolf Gabriel and the human Aiden. It doesn't really seem like a choice at first; she loves Aiden and despises Gabriel. In the film adaptation, she manages to break free of her pack and run away with Aiden! ...But in the original novel, we get the considerably less clichéd ending, wherein she realizes that a human could never understand her and goes back to Gabriel.
- Twilight set up Bella/Jacob as this in New Moon before revealing Jacob as a werewolf and shifting into a Vampire-Werewolf Love Triangle.
- Of course, in the first book Bella had three Muggle guys after her not even counting Edward and Jacob, both of whom were also already interested.
- Supernatural Dark Action Girl assassin Yuki and Ojou Kaede play this to Takeo in Tales of the Otori.
- In Parties and Potions by Sarah Mlynowski, Rachel (a witch) has to choose between her muggle boyfriend Raf and a witch boy who likes her and who she feels she can relate to better. She chooses Raf.
- Sort of happens in Rebel Angels. Gemma, who has magical abilities, has to choose between Simon Middleton, a rich heir, or Kartik. While Kartik isn't magical, he does know about her magic and is involved in The Masquerade. She chooses Kartik, though he dies near the end of the last book in the trilogy.
- In the original The Little Mermaid (i.e., not the Disney version), the mermaid was a heroic young maiden with an intoxicating voice but forever bound to the sea. The land-princess is a little more housewifely and dutiful but has legs.
- It should be noted though that the prince didn't know he was in one of these. He had no idea the mermaid wasn't just a regular woman, so this didn't factor into his choice.
- Vin in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy must choose between half-brothers Elend (the Muggle) and Zane (the Magical).
- In Wintersmith, the young witch Tiffany has attracted a supernatural Stalker with a Crush in the form of the titular Wintersmith, and everyone knows that she's got an arrangement with the Baron's son, who's very much a Muggle. She chooses neither. She rejects the Wintersmith and he returns to his discorporate form, and she and Roland are just friends.
- The final season of Charmed had the sisters quickly finding and securing love and marriage. The secondary plot of one episode had half-whitelighter Paige meeting a British half-whitelighter who basically demands she marries and produce superpowerful offspring with him because it was destined to be. This doesn't sit well with her Muggle fiance Henry who spends the rest of the episode explaining why he and Paige were meant to be while the British half-whitelighter tries to show Paige that her life is too dangerous to have a human husband plus he doesn't think Henry is worthy a mate for her. The episode ends with the two men actually sparring in an alleyway.
- Earlier in season 2, Piper was torn between Dan, the Muggle love interest and Leo, who is a whitelighter.
- The new series of Doctor Who had Rose caught between the Doctor (magical) and Mickey (muggle). She chooses the Doctor.
- The Season 4 finale has Rose forced to choose between the Doctor (magical) and a human Doctor (muggle). The Doctor chooses for her, by stranding her with the latter.
- Moving on to the Eleventh Doctor, Amy has to choose between the Doctor and Rory. She ends up marrying Rory, and their daughter marries the Doctor.
- Done again with Clara and the Doctor (magical) and Danny (muggle), though it's implied that she would not have been happy with anything other than a life of adventure wether the Doctor was there or not.
- Continuing the theme in the Whoniverse, Gwen Cooper of Torchwood has an Understanding Boyfriend Rhys, but shares UST with her boss Jack Harkness, an immortal human from the future. Resolved when she marries Rhys and has a child with him, although there are still some hints of feelings between her and Jack.
- Blood Ties has Vicki's love triangle with her police officer ex, Mike, and a 500-year-old sexy vampire, Henry.
- Moonlight has a very similar set-up of Beth being torn between her boyfriend Josh and The Hero Mick, a Vampire Detective.
- The second season of The Vampire Diaries has Caroline choosing between her muggle on-and-off boyfriend Matt and werewolf Tyler. However, Caroline herself is a vampire, making it a sort-of Vampire-Werewolf Love Triangle (until Tyler becomes a vampire as well. It Makes Sense in Context. She eventually hooks up with Tyler, after Matt tells her he can't handle her being a vampire.
- Bonnie was briefly interested in both Jeremy, her best friend's younger brother, and newcomer Luka, a warlock. Luka soon proves to be untrustworthy and she gets together with Jeremy.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer somewhat subverts the trope - while the Angel (Vampire)/Buffy (Magical Slayer)/Riley (human) triangle fits, by the point Riley shows up in Buffy's life she and Angel had already decided they should move on. Kind of.
- Sookie thinks she is in one, with her boss Sam seemingly a normal guy smitten with her, while she lusts/pines for vampire Bill. However, Sam isn't really human, and neither is Sookie herself.
- The Nine Lives of Chloe King had Chloe, a Mai, in love with her enemy's son Brian (a muggle), while being the focus of her friend Alec's (also a Mai) affections.
- This was the case in the first few episodes of I Dream of Jeannie; however, Tony's relationship with his Muggle fiancee didn't last long.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch briefly dated a witchy guy named Dash while her relationship with the non-witch Harvey was going through a bit of a cooling off phase.
- Daredevil: Season 2 has a bit of a love triangle where the Chaste-trained Matt Murdock is busy trying to form a romantic bond with the normal Karen Page while also fighting the Hand with his old college flame, the also Chaste-trained Elektra Natchios.
- Dragon Age: Origins: The Male Warden's two female romance options are Leliana and Morrigan, a Badass Normal bard and a Hot Witch, respectively. (Or Zevran, an elven assassin.)
- Dragon Age II: Since Everyone Is Bi, straight male / lesbian female Hawkes can choose between Badass Normal Isabela and Cute Witch Merrill, straight female / gay male Hawkes can choose between Mage Anders and Muggle Fenris, and bi character can enter invoke the above or a love triangle between Isabela v. Anders or Merrill v. Fenris.
- Dragon Age: Inquisition: Having introduced eight romance options(!!), this trope is in play for some Inquisitors but not others. Gay (or Bi) Male Inquisitors can choose between the Necromancer Dorian and Boisterous Bruiser Iron Bull. Female Elven Inquisitors can choose between one of several muggle companions (or advisers!) or the Mage Solas. This trope does not apply to non-elven female Inquisitors because Dorian is gay, Solas can only be romanced by a female elfnote , and all the other love interests are muggles. This trope also doesn't apply to straight male or lesbian female Inquisitors because none of the potential female love interests are mages this time around.
- Mass Effect: Male Shepard's romance options are the normal human soldier Ashley and the powerful telepathic biotic blue skinned asari.
- Mass Effect 2: Female Shepard this time, having either just Garrus the Cowboy Cop with Improbable Aiming Skills, or either Jacob or Thane, both of whom are biotics.
- Mass Effect 3: For straight female Shepard, this time it could be Garrus or Kaidan. For gay male Shepard it is the biotic Kaidan or normal human shuttle pilot Cortez. For gay female Shepard, the choice could be between the biotic Liara and the normal human Intel analyst Samantha Traynor. For straight male Shepard, it could be either Liara (gender isn't a concern for her) or Ashley or Tali, both of whom are just normal members of their species.
- Persona 3: The protagonist has the option of dating persona-users like Yukari, Mitsuru, and Fuuka, as well as more normal high school students like Yuko and Chihiro. This trope gets taken to another level with romance options for Aigis and Elizabeth, who make the Persona-users look like muggles in comparison. The later games also allow the protagonist to date both persona-users and normal muggles.
- Ben 10: Omniverse: Ben Tennyson has to choose between Ester, who is a half-Kraaho hybrid, and Kai, who is a regular human girl. He ends up with Kai.
- Corpse Bride: Victor's Love Triangle consists of him, the Muggle Victoria, and the Manic Pixie Dream Girl zombie Emily. When Victoria is forced to marry someone else, he plans to die and be with Emily, but she pulls an I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
- The Legend of Korra: In Book 1, Mako, though being a bender himself, has to choose between Muggle Asami and Korra, who's the Avatar, bender of all 4 elements. He starts with Asami, breaks up with her due to various reasons and ends up with Korra at the end of book 1.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil: Badass Normal Marco Diaz's Love Triangle consists of him, the Muggle Childhood Friend Romance Jackie-Lynn Thomas, and the Magical Girl Warrior Badass Princess Star Butterfly.