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Muggle-and-Magical Love Triangle

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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.

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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.

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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.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Absolute Boyfriend has Riiko, who is involved in a love triangle between Night, the sweet Ridiculously Human Robot, and Soushi, her aloof but human childhood friend. Although she chooses Night, he tragically suffers from a shutdown because of a programming overload, and it's implied that Riiko will eventually end up with Soushi after all.
  • 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.
  • 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 InuYasha, a half-dog demon from the mythic past. She ultimately picks InuYasha.
  • 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.
  • Rinko in Omamori Himari is a Muggle in the protagonist's harem.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Comic Books 
  • It is a frequent situation in superhero comics, usually with a superhero having to choose between a fellow superhero and a non-powered civilian.
  • 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.
  • Crystal of The Inhumans cheated on her husband Quicksilver with a nondescript, non-powered suburbanite.
  • Marlo Chandler, the wife of 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).
  • 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 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).
  • The Mighty Thor fell in love with human Jane Foster, but his father shipped him with his fellow Asgardian Sif.
  • 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.
  • 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.

  • Jenny's having to choose between Zot and Woody in Zot!

    Film - Animated 

    Literature 
  • 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 of the Book, 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.
  • 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.
  • In Evernight, half-vampire Bianca is torn between Lucas (a human) and Balthazar (a vampire). Her parents and many of her peers push her towards Balthazar, especially given Lucas was raised as a vampire hunter. At the end of the second book she chooses Lucas and simultaneously decides she won't become a full vampire (things don't quite work out in that regard); although she cares for Balthazar, she realizes she doesn't love him the same as Lucas, and that she would only be choosing him because it's more convenient and socially acceptable. It's also implied Balthazar has a case of Loving a Shadow given Bianca's resemblance to his long dead love interest; he ends up with a human girl named Skye in his Spin-Off.
  • A version in the The Kane Chronicles, when Sadie is forced to choose between Anubis (yes, that Anubis) and Walt, who is merely a magician. In the end, Anubis and Walt become fused, so she doesn't really have to choose.
  • In Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, 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 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.
  • Night World:
    • In Spellbinder, Eric, a human, forms a romantic relationship with Thea, who is a witch (he doesn't initially know she's a witch but he does realize there's something 'different' about her). His human co-worker Pilar also clearly has feelings for him; Eric likes Pilar but only as a friend, while he and Thea are soulmates. Thea attempts to put a spell on him to make him fall for Pilar instead to keep him safe, but it utterly fails and Eric calls Thea out for it, saying it's unfair to both him and Pilar.
    • In Dark Angel, Gillian finds out she's a witch and has a romantic connection to both Angel, who claims to be her guardian angel/spirit, and David, a human classmate she's had a crush on for years. Gillian comes to distrust Angel for his increasingly immoral actions and realizes David is her soulmate. Angel doesn't take it well and unsuccessfully tries to possess David, though he eventually gives up because he doesn't want Gillian to be miserable.
    • Huntress has a downplayed example as neither love interest is that normal. Dhampir Jez Redfern is in love with Hugh, a human Old Soul who can recall his past lives, yet also ends up developing feelings for her vampire Childhood Friend Morgead. She and Morgead eventually realize they're soulmates; Hugh was also seemingly oblivious to Jez's feelings and as far as we can tell only loves her in a platonic sense.
  • Oksa Pollock has Oksa, who has to choose between her childhood-friend Gut (who doesn't have the magical abilities of the people from Edefia) and Tugdual, who has those abilities.
  • The titular character of Olive Kennedy, Fairy World M.D. is stuck in one between Brent, a Muggle police officer, and Kull, a Viking warrior from the Magical Land. She ultimately ends up with Kull.
  • 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.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Percy's two major love interests are Annabeth, the demigoddess daughter of Athena, and Rachel, a mortal girl (albeit one who can see through the Mist). It's played with by the end, however, since Rachel becomes the new Oracle of Delphi at Camp Half-Blood, but only after a Ship Sinking moment with Percy.
  • 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.
  • Supernatural Dark Action Girl assassin Yuki and Ojou Kaede play this to Takeo in Tales of the Otori.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Air Awakens: Basically every triangle a fledgeling sorcerer Vhalla is involved in, and there are quite a few: Vhalla, Prince Aldrik (sorcerer), Prince Baldair (warrior). Vhalla, Prince Aldrik, Sareem (library apprentice). Vhalla, Sareem, Roan (another library apprentice, in love with Sareem).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blood Ties has Vicki's love triangle with her police officer ex, Mike, and a 500-year-old sexy vampire, Henry.
  • 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.
  • 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 marry 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 a worthy 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.
    • In the backstory, the girls' mother Patty was in a love triangle between her Muggle husband Victor (Prue, Piper, and Phoebe's father) and her own whitelighter Sam (Paige's father).
  • Daredevil (2015): 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.
  • The new series of Doctor Who had Rose caught between the Doctor (magical) and her boyfriend 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 whether the Doctor was there or not.
  • 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.
  • Lost Girl had succubus Bo in a Love Triangle (at times a Love Dodecahedron) involving Dyson, a werewolf, and Lauren, a human doctor enslaved by the Fae.
  • Moonlight has a very similar set-up of Beth being torn between her boyfriend Josh and The Hero Mick, a Vampire Detective.
  • 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.
  • Roswell, New Mexico: Has alien Michael in a triangle between two humans Alex and Maria- though Maria may or may not have her own set of powers due to her family being victims of illegal human experimentation by the military.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • True Blood: 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 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.

    Video Games 
  • Dragon Age:
    • 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 characters can enter any of 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. However, 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.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect: Male Shepard's romance options are the normal human soldier Ashley and the powerful telepathic biotic blue skinned asari Liara.
    • 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. Male Shepard's options this time are Miranda and Jack, who are both biotics versus Tali. .
    • Mass Effect 3: For straight female Shepard, it's Garrus or Kaidan. For gay male Shepard, it's 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.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda: Straight female Ryder has a choice between regular humans Liam and Reyes versus Jaal whose species use bio-electricity in a manner similar to biotics. Lesbian Ryder has a choice between regular human scientist Suvi or regular turian Vetra versus asari biotics Peebee or Keri T’Vessa. Gay male Ryder can choose between Gil or Reyes for the muggles versus Jaal with bio-electric powers. Straight male Ryder has Vetra the normal turian versus the human biotic Cora, asari biotics Peebee and Keri or Avela with the same bio-electric powers as Jaal. Jaal, Peebee, Keri and Vetra swing both ways.
  • Persona:
    • 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.
    • Persona 4 brings it back, with Chie, Yukiko, Rise, and Naoto being the datable Persona-users, Yumi/Ayane and Ai being the datable normal high school girls, and Marie being the even more supernatural love interest.

    Web Comics 
  • Bob, Jean, and Princess Voluptua in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!.
  • Megatokyo: Piro's current girlfriend is Kimiko, who works as a waitress and is attempting to launch a career as a voice actress; his previous girlfriend (for whom he has a lot of unresolved feelings — not all of them positive) is Miho, a Dark Magical Girl.
  • Siren's Lament: Shon is a normal boy who is secretly in love with Lyra and eventually has a Relationship Upgrade with her. Ian, on the other hand, is a siren with no memories of his human life, who has displayed clear interest in her.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • In Book 2, he and Korra break up. He and Asami kiss in the heat of the moment, but Korra comes back with Easy Amnesia and he pretends the breakup didn't happen. She eventually gets her memories back and breaks up with him a second time.
    • For the book 4 Grand Finale Korra and Asami end up together, meaning that she was the one with the choice between magic and muggle all along.
  • Zig-Zagged in Miraculous Ladybug. Superhero Cat Noir is smitten with fellow superhero Ladybug, but when he assumes the identity of Adrien Agreste, he sees civilian Marinette as no more than a friend. Marinette, meanwhile, has a crush on Adrien, but when she dons the mask of Ladybug, she does not reciprocate her partner-in-crimefighting Cat Noir's affections.
  • Sadie Sparks: Trainee wizard Sadie has a crush on her non-magical schoolmate Sam and butts heads with her rival Blaine (complete with She Is Not My Girlfriend routine). The first (and thus far, only) season ends with Sadie and Sam walking off together while Blaine tries and fails to hide his jealousy.
    Blaine: Seriously, what does she see in him?
  • In Steven Universe, Steven's Missing Mom Rose Quartz was in a Love Triangle with a fellow Gem, Pearl, and a human, Greg. In the end, Rose chose Greg, which is how Steven came to be.
  • 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 Star Butterfly, though he doesn't even see Star as an option until she begrudgingly admits to having a crush on him after he had already started a relationship with Jackie-Lynn. They have a happy relationship until she realizes that he's become unhappy on Earth following Star returning to her home dimension and that he may have developed feelings for the princess as well. She proceeds to dump him so he can go live in said dimension and have a chance to be with her. But by that point, Star has rekindled her old relationship with Jerk with a Heart of Gold Tom. Just before the final story arc begins, Tom breaks up with Star. She and Marco get together right before the Grand Finale.

Alternative Title(s): Muggle Love Interest, Magical Love Interest, Muggle Vs Magical Love Interests

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