Star-Crossed Lovers

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One night every year is all that they had....

From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
A pair of star cross'd lovers take their life,
Whose misadventur'd piteous overthrows

Doth with their death bury their parents' strife.

Two lovers—often teenagers -- destined to be kept apart no matter how hard they struggle to be together. It may be Fate, or fatally-Feuding Families, or it may be something as mundane as a few hundred miles' separation, but something will always be in their way. Often, the two can only be Together in Death. William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is the most famous example (and the Trope Namer), but the archetype dates at least as far back as Mesopotamian Mythology and Egyptian Mythology, making it Older Than Dirt.

In modern times, often the term "star-crossed" is unknowingly misused to mean lovers who are meant to be together. It means just the opposite—the stars (i.e., destiny, or the heavens) have ruled against them, or crossed their plan -- get it? Compare the word "disaster", which has the etymology "away; without" ('dis') + "star; planet" ('aster'). (Then again, if the stars rule that much, they probably did decree the love as well as the impossibility.)

One common version of this trope, Love Above One's Station (i.e., being in love with someone from a different social class), is at least discredited if not actually dead and buried in contemporary settings, but was very much true in the past, and it can still work when applied to historical settings. While it's difficult even today to have a relationship with someone from a very different background, in the old days, it was all but impossible: if you were from the lower class and courted your "better," you'd be treated with the vilest contempt and risk arrest and/or violence (possibly even death); meanwhile, a "better" who reciprocated would be disowned and possibly shut off in a nunnery, a monastery—or even an "asylum," an ironic name for a place which until a century or two ago was usually even worse than prison. (Then, see Suddenly-Suitable Suitor.)

Hence all those tragic "servant/slave/peasant loves the lord/lady/king/queen" stories.

Compare Dating Catwoman, where the relationship is forbidden but doesn't usually end tragically. Notice the overlaps with Interspecies Romance and Maligned Mixed Marriage. See also Bury Your Gays. Often the case for a Vampire-Werewolf Love Triangle. May be used as a Pretext for War.

Contrast Love Transcends Spacetime. Compare Nobody Thinks It Will Work and Uptown Girl.

Examples of Star-Crossed Lovers include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Marie Antoinette and Count Fersen from Rose of Versailles. Oscar/Andre are another pair from the series ( they do manage to get together, but die immediately afterwards), and Oscar/Fersen is another possibility.
  • Mazinger Z: Shiro Kabuto and Lorelei. He was the little brother of Kouji Kabuto, The Hero and pilot and from Mazinger-Z. She was the daughter of a foreign madScientist, or better said -- a Robot Girl built by that Madscientist, who wanted to prove he was better than Dr. Kabuto, builder of Mazinger-Z and shiro's grandfather. What happened? He built an Humongous Mecha -Rhine X1-, and a Robot Girl -Lorelei- was meant to fuse with it to make it work. When the scientist got a fatal wound, he confessed the truth to her and pleaded her to defeat Mazinger; determined to fullfil her father's last will, Lorelei merged with Rhine and challenged Mazinger to a death match, so Kouji was forced to fight and kill her. Poor Shiro was devastated after that.
    • Minerva-X and Mazinger-Z itself also are an example. Minerva-X was a FemBot designed by Dr. Kabuto especifically to be Mazinger-Z's Battle Couple. Unlike Mazinger, though, she was a robot capable to think and feel emotions like an human being, and she was in love with Mazinger-Z. However, Dr. Kabuto never got around to build it. Unfortunately, Dr. Hell got his hands on the plans and built her to destroy Mazinger-Z. However, Minerva-X got rid from his control and refused fighting Mazinger-Z, so he decided to destroy her. Their condition of Star-Crossed Lovers not only comes from this but also it comes from Mazinger-Z IS a machine and it simply can not reciprocate her feelings.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: Duke Fleed and Hikaru Makiba. Hikaru's father refused accepting their relationship, since Danbei was an Overprotective Dad was perfectly willing to killing any male came near from his daughter), but that was not the real obstacle (or an obstacle for that matter). The real obstacle was that Duke wanted to return his Doomed Hometown of a planet to rebuild it if he managed surviving the war, whereas Hikaru did not want to leave Earth. Not matter what their feelings are, a separation is inevitable.
    • Also, Duke and his fiancèe Rubina. Duke is Crown Prince of planet Fleed, a world was invaded and scorched by the troops of King Vega, and he now is fighting the Vegans to prevent them from conquering Earth. Rubina is King Vega's daughter, and the closest to a loved one that Vega had. They got engaged before the Fleed's invasion, but King Vega -who never agreed the engagement in first place-, refuses seeing his daughter getting married with Duke. Of course, it ended up in tears.
  • Sakura and Syaoran in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle. At first, even though they are physically together, Sakura is never allowed to remember she is in love with him (that is, from the looks of it, until all her feathers are found). Then it gets much, much more complicated, with all the complications putting more distance between them, metaphorically. That clones of both are involved is only the the beginning.
    • Yuuko and Clow may count too
  • In the Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch manga, Rina and Hanon both fall in love with humans, knowing full well that they will eventually have to leave them to rule over their kingdoms. (Hamasaki actually has a mermaid ancestor, but this seems inconsequential.) They tell Lucia this too, but her guy turns out to be the prince of an ancient powerful race that can breathe underwater, so she's safe.
    • Hippo and Yuuri. Just... Hippo and Yuuri.
  • Arguably averted in Blue Submarine No. 6. Hayate and Muteo part ways at the end because she has to look after a emotionally-devastated Verg and he has to help in the rebuilding effort of what remains of humanity. However, it's implied by the final episode ending credits, that they will eventually get back together again once things finally settle down.
  • Mari and Hagino from Blue Drop are divided by the fact that one is a high school student and the other the commander of an alien battleship, whose people plan to invade earth.
  • Wolf's Rain has not one but four sets of lovers, all of whom could be considered "star-crossed" in various ways.
    • Much of Lord Darcia's motivation for becoming the series' villain involves his lover Hamona falling into a coma and subsequently dying, which he blames on the wolves.
    • Hubb Leboski spends most of the series trying to get back together with his ex-wife Cher Degré, which indirectly leads to his getting involved with the wolves.
    • Kiba's main love interest is Cheza, the girl made of Lunar Flowers. Unfortunately, her status as a MacGuffin Girl keeps her trapped by many Nobles, forcing Kiba to fight his way back to her.
    • The wolf Hige, who's always dreamed of finding a hot babe, eventually gets together with the wolf-dog Blue.
      • Of course, with everything else that's going on nobody gets much time for romance, and they all die in the OVA episodes. At the very end Hige is apparently reincarnated as a human, along with the other wolves, but we don't see Blue.
  • Kazuya and Erika in Daimos. Kazuya is the pilot of Daimos, defender of Earth from the Balm invaders. While Erika is the little sister of Richter, Prince of Balm and leader of the invasion. They get their happy ending, but not before much heartbreak.
  • The Chinese daughter of a crime lord, Li-En, and her Mamodo partner, Wonrei, from Gash Bell. No matter what the outcome of the battle between the Mamodo is, Wonrei will have to eventually return to the Mamodo world.
  • Chrono of Chrono Crusade has the worst luck when it comes to relationships. First, he meets Mary Magdalene, who informs him after he's known her for months that she has had prophetic dreams since she was a child that he would be the one to take her life. He does, although not in the way either one expects. He's so guilt-ridden over her death that he sleeps for 50 years in her tomb, waiting for his energy to deplete to join her in death. But Rosette Christopher comes and wakes him up from his years of slumber, and things start to be going good for him...until her brother Joshua is kidnapped by Aion and he's forced to make a contract with her, slowly draining away at her life. In the anime they die together, Rosette as a result of the contract and Chrono from his wounds in the final battle, but in the manga they spend six years apart, and Chrono arrives back to her side just in time for her to die in his arms. It's implied that he lives on for decades afterwards.
  • Subverted in Princess Tutu. Ahiru is forced to give up the pendant she uses to transform into a girl to save Mytho, but Fakir still promises to stay by her side, even though she's now just a duck. Played straight with Tutu and the Prince in the fairytale, since the former is cursed to turn into a speck of light and vanish when she confesses her love. And almost played straight with Rue and Mytho, due to her being Princess Kraehe and him being cursed into a Raven... but Rue's Heroic Sacrifice turns out to be a Game Breaker, and they get their happy ending.
  • The Berserk universe has made it its personal mission to ensure that Guts and Casca never find happiness. That moment of love the two of them shared near the waterfall in the Golden Age arc was the closest they came to it before the Eclipse went down and everything went completely to hell.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth Emeraude and Zagato. They are together at the end, but in the afterlife.
  • Subverted in the Vampire Princess Miyu OAVs. Kei Yuzuki is a very handsome human who is horribly bored with his life but does his best to hide it, so at first he only wants eternal youth and beauty and consults the Uncanny Valley Girl from his school, Ranka. Turns out she's a Shinma and she promises to give him what he wants yet planning to make him her prey... but later, the guy ends up falling in love with her despite knowing who she is, and much to her own shock Ranka finds herself returning these feelings. They reach an agreement and Ranka transforms Kei into a Shinma, so Miyu (who had her eyes set on him too, thus she was horribly humiliated when she found out) had to send them both to the Dark. The last time we see them, they happily and peacefully walk together towards the Darkness.
  • Takaki and Akari in 5 Centimeters Per Second are an interesting example in that they have marginally more of a chance at a happy ending than most examples, but it doesn't stop their movie from being a huge Tear Jerker.
  • Newtype romances, in any Gundam series that includes Newtypes, generally do not end well. This goes double if Yoshiyuki Tomino, Mister Kill'Em All himself, is actively involved in the series. Note that newtype analogs, like the Coordinators from SEED, don't really count (they tend to survive, and have stable relationships).
    • Unless you see Stellar and Shinn's bond as romantic. Then, they get the raw-est part of the deal. Not helped by how Stellar's Famous Last Words are "Shinn... I love you". If they don't count, is there a sort-of trope that is an equal of "Star Crossed Lovers", but with friends and family?
    • Also, while Kira and Lacus do get their happy ending, Kira and his first girlfriend Fllay count as this. She started out as a Yandere who pretended to love him to get revenge since he didn't save her father from a really messy death, then truly fell for him when he showed her genuine kindness... but she could only sort-of tell him her true feelings after she was murdered by the Big Bad.
    • Saji Crossroad and Louise Halevy fit this trope after the Wham! Episode of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, where she became a Sole Survivor and lost her hand as well. The second season has them fighting on opposite sides, as he's forced to join Celestial Being as their Tagalong Kid to save his life and she's become a Dark Action Girl for the A-Laws. It takes them LOTS of effort to get back together.
      • Lyle Dylandy and Anew Returner. It doesn't end well for them, since she turns out to be an Innovator Manchurian Agent and betrays Celestial Being when her "trigger" (her Innovator twin Revive Revival) appears and "resets" her. When Lyle offers her a Last Second Chance she almost takes it, only to be mind controlled by Ribbons Almark into fighting him anyway and she eventually has to be killed by Setsuna to keep her from killing Lyle.
    • The Gundam Wing novel Frozen Teardrop give us Treize's parents, Ein Yuy and Angelina Khushrenada. They tried to run away to escape the Parental Marriage Veto coming from her family, but her Smug Snake father Cinquante kidnapped Angelina back into the clan and got Ein killed. She was so broken that she went insane with grief. Also, Trowa Phobos and Kathy Winner may end up as this too.
    • And now we have Flit Asuno and Yurin L'Ciel from Gundam AGE. Yurin dies in the Wham! Episode, and while Flit marries his childhood friend Emily and they're still together after the Time Skip, Yurin's death was also his Start of Darkness and Emily simply can't fill the void she left.
  • In Arashi no Yoru ni: Averted. Mei and Gabu seem doomed to part ways because their Interspecies Romance is frowned upon by both their kin, but they find one another again in the end.
  • Basilisk, which is essentially a Japanese Tokugawa-era send up of "Romeo and Juliet", has its star crossed lovers: Gennosuke from the Kouga and Oboro from the Iga. They even make reference to the old belief that star-crossed lovers will be reborn as twin siblings.
    • Also, the beginning of the show shows another pair of star crossed lovers: Koga Danjou and Iga Ogen, Gennosuke's grandpa and Oboro's grandma respectively.
    • Probably, also Kagero and Gennosuke. She would've been an excellent prospect for him except for her being Blessed with Suck and him truly liking his arranged fiancee Oboro, thus she's stuck as the Unlucky Childhood Friend and that takes a HUGE toll on her emotional well-being.
  • Ai and Yota from Video Girl Ai, since he's a human and she's a Robot Girl who shouldn't have human feelings.
  • Two of Adachi Mitsuru's manga series feature romances forbidden by feuding parents. In Rough, the parents run rival confectionery businesses. In Katsu!, the fathers are former boxing rivals. In both cases, the girl's father is more rabid than the boy's father.
  • In the village of Hinamizawa, there were Satoshi Houjou and Shion Sonozaki.
    • Not really. While Satoshi's disappearance causes Shion to snap and go insane, eventually resulting in her own death, the whole 'go insane' part only happens in 2 chapters, and not in the actual ending. Additionally, it's revealed that Satoshi is actually alive(though comatose) in the finale, and Shion will wait every day for him to recover. Also, the grudge against the Houjou family is dismissed, and upon his return, it's not unlikely that the Sonozakis would support a relationship between the two.
  • Code Geass has two couples like this: Ougi and Viletta, then Lelouch and Shirley (at least in Shirley's mind). The first ones subvert the trope and get their happy ending... the second couple plays it depressingly straight.
    • Euphemia and Suzaku are another pair. Although they were on the same sides, Suzaku was still considered inferior. And she still died.
  • Very twisted Boys Love example: Riki and Iason Mink from Ai no Kusabi.
  • Simon and Nia from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann in a truly epic Tear Jerker ending. Lampshaded in-series by the Big Bad. Nice guys really do finish last.
  • Seishirou and Subaru from both Tokyo Babylon and X 1999.
  • Romeo X Juliet, obviously, given the source material.
  • Lucy and Kouta in Elfen Lied.
  • One of the most popular Fanon interpretations for Gin Ichimaru and Rangiku Matsumoto in Bleach. Considering Gin's reasons to betray Aizen and his subsequent death as Rangiku cries for him, it wasn't that far off in the end. . .
    • Also a popular romantic fanon for Momo Hinamori and Toshiro Hitsugaya. Though it seems they may be getting better, if the end of the anime says something..
    • Byakuya and Hisana play with the trope. She was a commoner and he was a nobleman, and thus their mutual love was totally forbidden; Byakuya, however, pressed on and for the first time in his life, broke the rules of his family openly to marry Hisana. And then, she died of illness, thus playing this straighter.
  • Sankt Kaiser Olivie Segbrecht and Hegemon Klaus Ingvalt from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid. Long before they were crowned rulers of their respective countries, the two had grown up together to become very close. Alas, the Ancient Belka War happened, and they found themselves leading opposing sides, and in the end, Hegemon Ingvalt failed to stop Sankt Kaiser Olivie from performing the Heroic Sacrifice that she would eventually be famed for. He would carry this regret all the way to his grave and beyond, with Heidi Ingvalt, his descendant and sort-of Reincarnation, still carrying the sadness of his failure as she meets the clone of Olivie, the "titular" Magical Girl Vivio Takamachi...
  • In Uzumaki, a girl from Kirie's class is in love with a neighbor boy, while their families absolutely hate each other. The two sneak out together a few times (and of course, get caught and separated again), until they see two snakes making love. This inspires them to...well, this being Uzumaki, the two lovers spiral their bodies tightly around each other to form a human rope, telling their families that they will now be together forever, before throwing themselves into the sea to drown. It's the only heart-warming scene in a series of Nightmare Fuel.
  • In volume one of Bizenghast, two spirits needing to be released are those of a young pair of lovers. They had wanted to marry, but the man's mother refused to let him marry a girl of slightly-lower status. So one night, during a ball, the man stabbed his lover in the back as they danced before killing himself. As Dina frees their souls, the young woman's ghost whispers to her lover "I forgive you..."
  • Haikara San ga Tooru has three of these:
    • First is the main characters, Nice Guy Shinobu and The Ladette Benio, after Shinobu goes MIA and later has Trauma-Induced Amnesia.. They get better.
    • And in the backstory, Shinobu's grandmother and Benio's grandfather, who were in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage but were torn apart by political/social standings (One family was pro-Shogunate, another supported the Meiji Restoration.) The reason why the leads were betrothed was a sort-of promise made to them: if their kids or grandkids have a chance to marry, they'd be engaged to do so as a sort-of solace.
    • And there's more! Shinobu's parents were an example, too. His father was a member of the Iijyuin clan, but his mother/Colonel Iijyuin's mistress was a German woman. They couldn't marry due to social standing and her heritage, so after Shinobu's birth she was forced to leave her child in the care of his paternal family and leave Japan.
  • Krory, an Exorcist and Eliade, an Akuma in D.Gray-man. It was his nature to destroy Akuma and it was her nature to kill Exorcists. He ends up killing her before he joins the Black Order.
    • Also, any person who tried to make a deal with the Earl to bring back their loved one, which would only end badly for both parties.
    • Taken further with Kanda and Alma, who were lovers in a previous life, only to be brought back to life by the Black Order as part of the failed super Exorcist program. Then Alma was driven mad into a massive killing spree and Kanda was forced to kill him. Only for Alma to not be dead and fought Kanda to the death again when he was revived. But this time, thanks to Allen, Kanda is able to send Alma to the afterlife in more or less peace, and later come back.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, we have Tatara and Suzuno, the Byakko no Miko. They fell in love, and Suzuno summoned Byakko and asked him to keep her and Tatara together forever. Byakko said he couldn't do that, and sent her back to her own world in Tokyo. She eventually married someone from our world and raised a family more or less happily, while he asked his Time Master fellow Seishi to stop time for him so he could guard the Shinzaho better—but they never forgot each other. When Suzuno died in her grandson Toki's home of old age, Tatara died in a battle in the book, and in the meantime Miaka's brother Keisuke read to the dying Suzuno about her lover's destiny. Their souls are reunited across space and time to spend the afterlife together.
    • Actually, all possible Seishi/Miko pairings are fated to have conflicts like this. This is why Tokaki and Subaru didn't support Tamahome and Miaka's love, since they knew it very well. Both of them were Suzuno's Byakko Seishi, and Subaru was the Time Master who stopped time for Tatara. And currently, in Fushigi Yuugi Genbu Kaiden, Uruki and Takiko are more or less together, but we all know what happened to her in the end. If you don't know, well: Takiko was being devoured from the inside by Genbu as a side-effect of having been a Miko; everyone else thought she had fallen victim to a Soap Opera Disease but her father knew the truth, so he Mercy Killed her and commited suicide afterwards. In Genbu Kaiden she's still alive but has tuberculosis, so it's just a thing of time...
  • In The Secret Agreement, as if being gay lovers from very different class strata ca. 1920s-30s wasn't star-crossed enough, it turns out that if Yuuichi doesn't steal Iori's life energy he will die instead. There is really no way for them to win.
  • In Wild Rock, Yuni and Selim decide there's no way to overcome the fact that they're from Feuding Families and are both future chieftans, so they part and each have families of their own. It isn't until their sons fall in love and decide to unite the two tribes that they meet again, agreeing it was long overdue.
  • Maya and Reina from Maya's Funeral Procession. When you're a Girls Love couple from The Seventies, this is pretty much a given.
  • Akiko Shouda and Takao "Taka" Itou from the old jousei manga Kasei Yakyoku. Sara Uchida's crush on Taka doesn't have much more hope, either.
  • Kikuno and Shuichi Takatori from Weiss Kreuz. They were very in love, but she was forced to marry his evil older brother Reiji. Then It Got Worse... Specially for their off-marriage child, Mamoru Takatori... aka Omi Tsukiyono.
    • And later, Omi himself, when he falls for his cousin Ouka Sakaki... Reiji's illegitimate daughter and the only person he loves. And she's shot to death in his arms.
    • Also, Youji Kudou and Asuka Murase. So much that he ends up killing her when she's the amnesiac Dark Action Girl Neu.
  • Aslan and Paiva in Kaze to Ki no Uta in the Backstory of the manga. Their son Serge's relationship with Gilbert dosen't fare well either, but considering that it took place in 1880's Europe, it was bound to happen.
  • In Winter Cicada, Akizuki and Kusaka are lovers on opposite sides of the Boshin civil war. It ends pretty much how you'd suspect.
  • In the 2003 anime version of Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward Elric and Winry Rockbell somewhat fit into this category. Even though these versions of them aren't canon, they are hinted to either have mutual feelings, or one of them has Unrequited Love for the other. But whatever the case, Ed's fate and decisions have kept them apart time after time. And in the movie Conqueror of Shamballa, this trope especially fits—Edward has to go back for the sake of his world's safety, leaving Winry solo. She even says with a melancholy gaze, "That's Ed. I know it. I guess this is goodbye for good..."
  • In Oniisama e..., Mariko tells Tomoko and Nanako about the legend of two lovers who died in Seiran School. They were separated by their different social class and killed themselves to not be torn apart, under the biggest elm tree in the garden. It's the same tree that Rei waited for hours underneath, under Fukiko's orders, causing her to catch a huge fever.
    • Nanako and Rei might qualify as well. Especially in the anime where Rei dies in an accident right when she was going to meet up with Nanako, in what's all but stated to have been this close to become their first date.
  • The main pairing of Gosick lived under a prophecy stating that this would be the case for them, hearts entwined but separated by war. Ultimately, the trope was averted. The war ended and finally the two found each other again.
  • Erza and Jellal seem to be this in Fairy Tail. Both have confessed (or been interupted while confessing) to have loved one another, spend more time thinking about one another than any other potential couple in the series (except maybe the two background characters whose whole schtick is not being able to confess their love), have displayed a telepathic ability to tell when one is in trouble or rooting for them, and every time they're about to get a chance to be together something will happen to take Jellal away, like corruption, or death, or arrest, in that order.
  • Windaria Roland and Veronica, the heirs of the countries at the brink of war. It looked to be subverted as the Queen of Lunaria hoped a marriage between them would neutralize the possiblity of war but they ended up fighting.
  • Jeudi's parents Friederich and Helene in Honoo no Alpen Rose. Specially because they did get married and had Alicia/Jeudi, but then they had to run away from Austria to Switzerland, Helene and Jeudi went missing, and It Got Worse.
    • As things get worse and worse, it seems the Universe itself is conspiring to give Lundi and Jeudi trouble. Specially when Lundi disappears when the train he and Jeudi have boarded to reach Austria is caught in a bomb attack, and Jeudi has to go to Austria alone.
  • Meiko and Namura from Marmalade Boy, due to the Hot for Teacher angle as well as the social class difference (Namura is middle-class, Meiko is The Ojou). Subverted later: they do get their happy ending.
  • Hikoboshi and Orihime, the two lovers in Japanese mythology who could only see each other once a year, are referenced when Ranma and Akane go to the Weaver festival in one chapter of the Ranma ½ manga. The star crossed lovers are mentioned again later on by a somewhat-delusional-from-being-fried-by-fireworks Ranma.

Ranma: (to the Akane in his dream) I feel as if we are... we are like Hikoboshi and Orihime when they finally met each other.
The real Akane: Huh?

    • In the anime, two one-shot characters, Princess Ori and Kengyu, are a play on Hikoboshi and Orihime, as well.
  • In a one-shot from the Sailor Moon manga, there is a variant of the legend of the Weaver and the Cowherd, where the couple shirked their duties because of their love, and thus were barred from seeing one another. The Weaver was the villain of the story, because the Cowherd saw her without make-up on during one of the days, and feared that he no longer loved her now that he saw she was really very plain (and getting fat from overeating due to boredom). At the end of the story, he shows up and assures her he still loves her.
    • Serenity and Endymion from the Silver Millenium days. She's the Princess of the Moon and he's the Prince of Earth, so they're not allowed to even meet and thus they have to do it behind their people's backs. Then the war comes in, Endymion is killed, and Serenity either kills herself due to grief (manga) or dies alongside him as she's hit by the same blast that takes his life (anime). Then they're reincarnated into Usagi/Sailormoon and Mamoru/Tuxedo Kamen, who do manage to get AND stay together.
  • This crops up quite often in Tarot Cafe, seeing as most of Pamela's clients are involved in some sort of Interspecies Romance. How well they work out varies. Some end happily, like the man who pursues a lake spirit, even after he unknowingly hits her three times and thus banishes her from his home. Some end not-so-happily, like the Reincarnation Romance between a vampire and a human, in which the vampire killed the human in the past and then, to keep himself from killing her reincarnated self (who he still loved) committed suicide. Besides the clients, there's also Aaron and Nebiros (separated because of a moment of distrust between the two, though they eventually reconcile) and Pamela and Belus (unable to have a happy ending, because Belus is really the Devil, though they are implied to remain friends. The beginning of the series also has Pamela and Ashes.
  • Remy Shimada and Merril Benten Tamagawa from Cyber City Oedo 808.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Young Avengers: Cassie Lang (Stature) and Nate Richards (Iron Lad) seem destined to be star-crossed lovers, separated by centuries and because Nate's destined to grow up to be the evil supervillain Kang the Conqueror.
  • While it's unclear how strongly his feelings are returned, Charlie Brown's hopeless infatuation with the Little Red-Haired Girl is tragically doomed to remain star-crossed, as he lacks the nerve to speak to her.
  • Nikolai Dante: the title character and Jena Makarov end up in this situation because Nikolai is an illegitimate scion of the Romanov family, who eventually go to war with the Makarovs.
  • Hawkman and Hawkgirl. If they acknowledge their love for each other they will be killed by their reincarnating archenemy. Because Destiny Says So.
    • In Blackest Night #1, finally Hawkgirl admits that she's fallen in love with Hawkman. Immediately, they are killed and turned into Black Lanterns. Toldja.
      • In Brightest Day instead, while Hawkman and Hawkgirl get briefly resurrected by the Life Entity and freed by their curse, the same Entity, responsible for empowering and protecting every life in the universe, turns Hawkgirl into the latest air elemental, barring her from living her last life with Hawkman. He's not that happy.
  • Again in Brightest Day, Deadman gets the same treatment: while he's resurrected too, and starts to appreciate his new stab at life by romancing the overtly cute and lovely superheroine Dove, he gets returned to his undead state, the Entity using his life force to resurrect and empower the new iteration of the Swamp Thing. All the while with Dove still able to hear his disembodied voice, but tearfully aware of their separation.
  • The ice goddess Kelda and the mortal fry-cook Bill in the recent Thor series.
  • Also Thor-connected: Asgardian wolf prince Hrimhari and Rahne Sinclaire of X Factor. The first time they got together, they had to part when the X-Men left Asgard. When Asgard reappeared on Earth, Hrimhari and Rahne were reunited, only for Hrimhari to give up his own life to save Rahne and their unborn children.
  • Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson were forced into this by One More Day. Stan Lee even lables them this in his afterword in the OMD Trade Paperback. Fortunatly, there still very much together in the MC2 and Newspaper Strip continunities, the latter of which continues to this day
  • In DC vs. Marvel, Robin and Jubilee had a brief romance during the crossover. Later they're separated and they weren't happy at that.
  • Ms. Tree found herself in that situation when her stepson fell for the daughter of the boss of the Meurita crime family which is subverted. Regardless of her opinion of this situation, she considers the matter purely the kids' affair and enjoys seeing the girl's mother attempt to keep them apart backfire into strengthening their relationship.
  • Thanks to Executive Meddling, this seems to be the case for Sonic the Hedgehog and Princess Sally Acorn - whenever these two get together, something bad happens to one of them - Sonic gets launched to the other side of the galaxy, Sally falls for Monkey Khan, then she later gets turned into a robot.


Fanfic[edit | hide]

  • In I Love Thee, L says this to Misa. And with good reason. They fall in love, and have a wonderfully blissful relationship... only to have L be killed. The summary of the story gives it away: "As the quote stated, the hottest love usually has the coldest end."
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender Fanfic Cold Water mentions a Water Tribe legend about a woman from a hunting tribe and a polar bear. It ends up tragically, when her brother kills the bear and she heartbroken leaves her village.
  • There's a Harry Potter fanfic But You Alone which is based on Tristan and Isolde, featuring a star-crossed love that destroys the lives of pretty much everyone involved. The author pulled the story from the internet, so it's now quite hard to find. Harry and Hermione are engaged, but she has doubts. A chance encounter leads to Hermione and Snape falling madly in love with each other, but he then harshly rejects her, thinking that she deserves better. She returns to her fiance. Just before the wedding, Snape realises he can't live without her and tries to rush to her side to explain, only to be attacked by a rogue Death Eater and end up in a coma until after she's already married (and she now hates him and thinks he hates her). Finally they realise their mistakes and start having an affair... the suspicion of which begins to drive Harry insane with paranoia and jealousy. Things get worse from there. If you're familiar with the story of Tristan and Isolde you can already tell how this is going to end.


Film[edit | hide]

  • Jack Twist and Ennis del Mar from Brokeback Mountain due to society's homophobia. The film poster is in fact modelled after that of Titanic.
  • Rose and Jack from 1997's Titanic are probably the second most infamous use of this trope, after the trope namer.
  • Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala from Star Wars. Due to their respective roles as Jedi and senator requiring them to be on different planets, they were often literally star crossed. Even their romance theme was entitled: Across the Stars.
    • Did we mention that Jedi were not allowed to marry until the New Republic era?
    • They were before the Ruusan Reformation (about 1,000 years before the movies), but it was still discouraged. Almost every pairing in Knights of the Old Republic, despite being set before the Ruusan Reformation, still probably qualifies due to the traditional taboos and other factors varying by character.
      • Or the worst one, identical with all romances in Knights of the Old Republic: the player vanishes into the Unknown Regions, never to be seen again, leaving his/her loved one behind.
  • Jamal and Latika in the movie Slumdog Millionaire. At least until the very end of the movie.
  • The eponymous tribesman Uncas and Alice, proper English girl, in Last of the Mohicans. Barely a word is spoken between them, but we know they are destined for this. Sure enough, Alice commits suicide after Uncas dies trying to save her.
  • Darkly subverted in Heathers. Everyone in town thinks the two dead high school football players killed themselves because they were gay lovers who believed that the community would never accept them. Everyone, that is, except for the two people who murdered them and forged the suicide note that lead the town to believe that two heterosexual football players were secretly gay lovers.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Rebellious Princess Jen and Lovable Rogue Lo, Lady of War Shu Lien and Warrior Therapist Li Mubai. The first couple gets together in the end (for a very brief period of time.) The second ends as Her Heart Will Go On after Mubai dies in Shu Lien's arms.
  • The lovers in My Beautiful Laundrette are maximally star-crossed. One is from a tradition-minded Pakistani family, the other runs with National Front skinheads, and both are boys.
    • Subverted in that there's no angst, there's minimal bitching about their star-crossed status, and at the end they end up together, realistically happy, without ever telling anyone about their relationship.
  • Ladyhawke - the title character Isabeau and her lover Captain Navarre travel together but only ever set eyes upon each other for the briefest moment because due to a curse, Isabeau turns into a hawk at dawn and Navarre turns into a wolf at sunset.
  • In The Lion King 2: Kiara and Kovu.
  • Max and Elise in Suicide Kings, kept apart by the fact that Max's stepfather slept with Elise's mother and her father found out.
  • In Memoirs of a Geisha, this is shown in the form of three women: Hatsumomo, Mameha and Sayuri. Hatsumomo was in love with a baker but was forbidden by Mother to never see him again, because as a geisha, she mustn't give her body up to men who can't earn enough money. Mameha was hinted to have loved the Baron at one point but had long given up that emotion. And the last one is Sayuri who had loved the Chairman at first sight and from that moment on, did everything she could to meet him again. Like the others, she was doomed not to have a future with him. However, Sayuri earned her happy ending as the Chairman reciprocated her love and they remained together.
  • In Partition, 38-year-old Hindu Gayan Singh falls in love with 17-year-old Muslim girl Naseem Khan, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Partition of India.
  • The Bubble: The lovers, besides both being men, are an Israeli and a Palestinian; the Palestinian is from a conservative Muslim family and is being pressured into an arranged heterosexual marriage.
  • You Never Dreamed has Roma and Katya, whose families have bad blood between them and try to keep them apart.
  • The backstory of Underworld has Lycan slave Lucian and Sonja, the daughter of Vampire Elder Viktor, the latter of whom was executed after becoming pregnant with a hybrid. This sparks off the war between the Lycans and the Vampires that form the basis of the series.
  • Nate and Dana from Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam is this because they are from opposing musical camps led by two former bandmates turned rivals. Added points that Dana is the rival camp owner's daughter.
  • Tristan and Susanna in Legends of the Fall. The latter ends up being Spurned Into Suicide.
  • Gnomeo and Juliet, of course.
  • Upside Down (2012), in which a man falls in love with a woman from an inverted universe.


Folklore[edit | hide]

  • Pictured above: Chinese mythology speaks of the Weaver and the Cowherd, a legend of the stars Vega and Altair. Star-crossed lovers Zhi Nu and Niu Lang are separated forever across the Milky Way. They may only reunite once a year when magpies form a bridge between them. This is the basis of the Chinese cultural equivalent to Valentine's Day.
    • The Butterfly Lovers of Chinese folklore, Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai. The girl, Yingtai, convinces her father to let her disguise herself as a young man in order to attend school. She meets and becomes roommates and best friends with Shanbo, a nerd who doesn't pick up that his roommate is actually a girl. Eventually he figures it out and they fall in love. Unfortunately, Yingtai is betrothed to someone else; Shanbo becomes heartbroken and eventually dies. On her wedding day to the Romantic False Lead, Yingtai visits Shanbo's grave. The ground swallows her up and both of their spirits become beautiful butterflies.
  • Tanabata no Matsuri is the Japanese version with Orihime and Hikoboshi as the star-crossed lovers.
  • And Chilseok as the Korean version with Jik-nyeo and Gyeonwu.
  • There's an...odd...Japanese belief that twins are star-crossed lovers reincarnated. Squick?
    • Odd, yes, but does make sense in a way, in that they're together, but can never be together due to taboos. Fate and the stars' revenge for not following their plans perhaps?
  • Guinevere and Lancelot from the Arthurian Legends. Your Mileage May Vary as to how much sympathy they should be awarded; some stories have Guinevere not only cheating on Arthur (and Lancelot with Elaine), but have her plotting Arthur's downfall with Mordred. Ouch.
    • Merlin and Nimueh may or may not count; it certainly does for him, since she winds up locking him in crystal in most incarnations of the legends.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • Hilariously lampshaded and (eventually) averted in David Eddings' The Belgariad and The Malloreon: A knight and a lady are in love, but she is married to another man. Various other protagonists grumble about the fact all three characters are genre-aware of their plight, play up to it, and even actively avoid possible solutions because they love the melodrama so much. Eventually, after the husband dies, the main character gets sick of the ongoing Wangst and forces the couple to get married at the point of a seven-foot-long sword.
  • Parodied in the Discworld novel Mort with the characters of Mellius and Gretelina "whose pure, passionate and soul-searing affair would have scorched the pages of History if they had not, by some unexplained quirk of fate, been born two hundred years apart on different continents."
  • Two examples from The Dresden Files: Harry and Susan are the more obvious, but also Thomas and Justine. Thomas is an incubus, while Justine is a rather disturbed hottie. Initially their relationship is mutually beneficial, with Thomas feeding on Justine's Life Energy and stabilizing her mental state in the process. Consummating their romance, however, nearly kills Justine and, since Thomas is literally Allergic to Love, makes it so that they can't touch each other without seriously injuring him.
  • Though romance is not a major theme in the books, Eisenhorn and Bequin from the Warhammer 40,000: Eisenhorn series. Eisenhorn is a Psyker and Bequin is a Blank (anti-psyker), thus meaning it was painful for Eisenhorn just to be near Bequin. The only time he is able to be close to her and open his heart is when Bequin is in a coma (thus canceling her 'Blankness'), after trying and failing to stop a possessed Imperial Titan. Unfortunately she doesn't wake up.
  • Lyra and Will from the His Dark Materials series, specifically the last book, The Amber Spyglass.
  • About half of all romantic relationships in A Song of Ice and Fire.
  • In the first book of The Hunger Games, Katniss and Peeta use this trope for all it's worth to gain sympathy.
  • Devdas: The book (and subsequent movie versions) is definitely of the second variation, having been written in 1917 when such rules still existed. The titular hero (son of a wealthy upper-class family) and Childhood Sweetheart Paro (daughter of a middle class trader family) fall in love upon adulthood, but because Devdas is too weak-willed to stand up to his father's disapproval of their getting married, the two of them spend the remainder of the book apart. He spends his days drinking and mourning her, while Paro is in an Arranged Marriage to an older aristocratic gentleman. Sensing that he's close to death because of his drinking and despair, Devdas crawls to Paro's house and dies in front of her gate, fulfilling a promise he made to her on the day of her wedding, and Paro can't even see his face because of the rules of Purdah.
  • Renata Remedios "Meme" Buendia del Carpio and Mauricio Babilonia play the role in One Hundred Years of Solitude.
  • Catherine and Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights.
  • Maigrey and Sagan in Margaret Weis's Star of the Guardians. Complete with The Masochism Tango and Together in Death.
  • John Grady Cole and Alejandra from All The Pretty Horses. He's a poor American ranch hand, she's the daughter of the wealthy Mexican ranch owner that employs him.
  • Winston and Julia in Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • Shades of Grey, Eddie and Jane. Jane, who is the epitome of Tsundere, would rather kill Eddie than marry him, and he's supposed to marry upwards anyway. And then when they do fall mutually in love, it turns out Jane is a Green and shouldn't even talk to eighty-six-percent-Red Eddie, much less marry him.
  • In Holes, we have the tragic case of Miss Katherine and Sam, though in love with each other, cannot be together because she's white and he's black. When the rest of the town found out that they had kissed (a huge crime back in their day), they burned down Miss Katherine's schoolhouse and killed Sam in front of her.
  • In The Iron Dragons Daughter, Jane and Tetigistus. When she and one of his incarnations (Rooster, Peter, Puck or Rocket) got together, it ended in tragedy. M;ore for him than for her.
  • M. Paul and Lucy in Villette.
  • Scrooge and Belle in A Christmas Carol, who were driven apart by Scrooge's greed and obsession with money.
  • Pip and Estella in the original ending of Great Expectations. Subverted in the Revised Ending.
  • Occurs in The Silmarillion between King Finwe and his first wife Miriel. She gains the distinction of being the only person to die in the Undying Lands, much to the puzzlement of the gods, who finally decide she's staying dead out of sheer stubbornness. Finwe re-marries, but his second wife outlives him. Once he dies, he asks the gods to be re-united with Miriel. They agree—and she promptly reincarnates, leaving him behind again.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, medicine cats cannot fall in love, and neither can cats from rival clans. This results in cases of missing parents and fake parents.
    • Evident with Bluestar, who ends up pregnant with her lover Oakheart's kits, but due to them being in different clans, see has to leave her kits with him and not acknowledge her relationship with him or her kits for the rest of her life, up until she reveals to her kits that she is their mother just before she dies.
    • Ditto in the case of Leafpool and Crowfeather, except that Leafpool is also a medicine cat. Leafpool has to give her kits to her sister to raise, and has to pretend to be just an aunt when she is actually their mother. Furthermore, when the truth comes out, one of her kits turns insane and nearly murders Leafpool. Because of that, she even gives up her place as medicine cat, but still cannot be reunited with Crowfeather, as he is stuck with a mate he does not love, as well as another son, who is also a Jerkass.
    • Crowfeather and Feathertail as well. Both of them are also from separate clans, but become close in their journey for a new home. When they finally confess their love for each other, Feathertail is killed shortly afterwards in a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Ryewhisker and Cloudberry in Code of the Clans. Just as Cloudberry is pregnant with Ryewhisker's kits, he is killed defending her from his own clanmates as she is from a rival clan. This causes an even bigger wedge to be driven between the two clans.
    • Let's just say that Warrior Cats is chock-full of such examples.
  • In CS Lewis's Till We Have Faces, Orual, queen of Glome, falls in love with Barida, her captain of the guard, who is already married. At the end, it's revealed that the stress her devotion caused him lead him to an early grave.
  • Walter Huff and Phyllis Nirdlinger in Double Indemnity. They murder Phyllis's husband and attempt to make it look like an accident to get double indemnity on his insurance policy, but it falls through, they get found out, and subsequently commit mutual suicide by jumping from the stern of a cruise ship.
  • Lenina and John in Brave New World; alternately, Lenina and Bernard. She likes him, he likes her, but everyone is cruel to Bernard due to his differences.
  • A couple of instances in the Deryni novels:
    • Duncan McLain and Maryse MacArdry. Expecting to be parted over a feud between their clans, they marry in secret and Maryse conceives a son, Dhugal. Duncan later learns Maryse died of a fever the following winter, but he doesn't know the rest of the story until much later.
    • Rothana Nur Hallaj and Kelson Haldane. After much thought, she decides to put aside her temporary novice's vows and marry him, then he disappears down a waterfall and is thought to be dead. She is persauded to marry someone else traitorous Conall Haldane, and feels she cannot marry Kelson once they are both free to do so. She even arranges for him to marry someone else!
  • Vlad Tepes and Elizabeth Bathory in Count and Countess. Or so they insist.
  • The original fate of Gwidion and Emily in Symphony of Ages. While soul mates, they were born millenia and continents apart. By the time the two met in the original timeline, Emily was ancient and giving birth to their son, who could Set Right What Once Went Wrong, killed her. The changes to history averted this trope, eventually.
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet series, Captain Bradomant and Colonel Rogero, on opposite sides of the war. Both intensely honorable and adament against doing anything against their own sides.
  • Enchantress From the Stars has Elana, a girl from The Federation, an extremely advanced society, fall in love with Georyn, a young man from a planet stuck in Middle Ages. Neither of them could be happy in another world, so they part once the Federation's expedition departs.
  • The books by Strugatsky Brothers feature several: Kammerer \ Rada Gaal from Prisoners of Power (again, each partner stays in his / her homeworld) , Rumata / Kira from Hard To Be A God ( Kill the Cutie), and Tojvo Glumov / Asya from The Time Wanderers (Tojvo leaves Earth (and Asya) behind). We also have Wanderhoose / Postysheva from Far Rainbow (who only get together as they are about to be annihilated and Robert Tanya (same story, same fate).

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Takeru and Mio/Iyal from Hikari Sentai Maskman. Unfortunately, They never got together in the end and had to break up due to Iyal's duties to Tube.
  • Buffy and Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • Everyone falls into this eventually. Jenny and Giles in season 2. Willow and Oz in season 4. Willow and Tara in season 6. Xander and Anya, Buffy and Spike in season 7. Joss Whedon is mean.
  • Angel and Cordelia in Angel. Also Fred and Wesley.
  • Farscape's Aeryn and John screw up enough to count as this. He lampshades this when he says that destiny is keeping its promise to always draw them together "but screwing us over in the fine print". Seriously - first there were her emotional issues, then he just wanted to go home, then she died, then she came back to life and realised a relationship would complicate things too much, then he split into two, then one of them died, then she had more emotional issues and ran away, then she nearly died again, then she was pregnant and didn't know who the father was, and now my hand is about to drop off.
  • Played for laughs in Degrassi Junior High. Snake and Melanie are hopelessly crushing on each other, but every attempt they make to date ends in a comic disaster. In one episode, they plan to meet at a Wild Teen Party. Snake and his friends are put in charge of bringing the beer, but get arrested by the cops on the way—so Melanie doesn't get to see him, and the Wild Teen Party doesn't get to be wild.
    • Played much straighter with Joey and Caitlin.
    • Also, in Degrassi: The Next Generation, this happens with just about every couple. Special mention to JT and Liberty though; JT was stabbed and killed before he could tell Liberty that he still loved her.
  • Sayid and Nadia, Lost: he searches for her for eight years, finds her, and marries her. She's killed only months later.
  • Played with in Battlestar Galactica. Helo and Athena are in love. The problem? He's one of the few surviving humans left and she's an agent of the Cylon race that just nuked his species to near extinction. The result is that she spends the majority of the second season locked up in a holding cell and the two of them have to deal with people who want to abort their unborn child Hera and rape her for information. Ultimately, this trope is subverted as Athena has won acceptance, been freed from prison and married to the man she loves after the timeskip in between seasons.
    • Played straight with Starbuck and Apollo. It's love at first sight for them.....only she happens to be dating, and eventually gets engaged to, his younger brother - who dies partly as a result of a mistake she makes. They become best friends, teammates and quasi-family to each other, but the guilt keeps them apart for years afterwards, to the point where they find it easier to hook up with - and eventually marry - other people, than face their feelings for each other. They rekindle their romance, but being married makes it impossible.And then she dies, comes back for just long enough to lead the Fleet to Earth, and just when there seem to be no more obstacles left to them being together, she tells him she isn't coming back and vanishes into thin air.
      • Any Cylon/Human couple, where the Cylon actually develops genuine feeling for the human could be considered this as the humans don't react well when they inevetbly find out their lovers aren't human.
  • The Doctor and Rose in Doctor Who. At least that's how we're intended to perceive their literally here-and-gone-again relationship over seasons 1-4 of the new series.
  • Oddly enough the Ultraman series has this with Ultraman Ace's hosts Seiji and Yuuko (yes two people become him at least at first). At first it seems like a standard blooming romance between hero and heroine but then a Wham! Episode hits. Yuuko is a kind of energy being from the moon, and having accomplished her task on Earth must leave. Seiji is heart broken but swears to keep her in his heart as he becomes the sole host of Ace. However in the Grand Finale Seiji must merge with Ace permanently and he too has to leave Earth, as Ace has duties on the Ultraman homeworld. Decades later (both in series and in real life) Seiji and Yuuko would finally meet again during the Anniversary series Ultraman Mebius, and sort of confess their feelings to each other. Since both are energy beings now its implied that they could potentially get together.
  • The Office's Michael Scott and Holly Flax. The dorkiest, most adorable pair of soulmates you ever did see, cruelly separated by Dunder-Mifflin corporate for business reasons (he's the Scranton office manager, she's in HR.) Michael fully intends on waiting for her as long as it takes. Awwwww.
  • Hugh Laurie sings a song to his love in A Bit of Fry and Laurie, about how strange his devotion is given that they've never met and she has in fact been dead for almost 16 years.
  • The underlying premise of the Beauty and The Beast TV series; she can't live in his world without giving up her job and her life, and he can't live in hers at all.
  • Two examples from Babylon 5: Susan Ivanova and Marcus Cole and Susan Ivanova and Talia Winters.
  • Pushing Daisies: Chuck and Ned - this is essentially the whole point of the show. Kind of, anyway. They're together, but they can never be together.
  • Downton Abbey: Lady Sybil and Branson. She is an Earl's daughter and he is the family chauffeur. Mrs Hughes warns him that he stands to lose his job and gain a broken heart when she finds them holding hands.
    • as of the end of series 2, they are married with a baby on the way, although Lord Gratham isn't pleased.
    • Mary and Matthew, up to a point. They seem to have their acts together by the end of series 2.
  • In Chinese Paladin 3, the mortal Chanqing and demigoddess Zixuan have two separate Reincarnation Romances which end tragically. By the third time around, Zixuan and Chanqing have both learned from their mistakes and are willing to do anything to make it work. And then they still can't be together.
  • John Fitzgerald Byers and Susanne Modeski in The X-Files.
    • Mulder and Scully as well.
  • Lancelot and Guinevere from Merlin. It's Love At First Sight for Lancelot, and Gwen seems to reciprocate, only for Lancelot to be exiled from Camelot. They meet again during a Rescue Romance, but when Arthur turns up, Lancelot realizes that he's in love with Guinevere and decides not to interfere. Lancelot returns for the third time at the end of the third season and is reinstated as a Knight of Camelot, but by this point, Guinevere has fallen in love with Arthur and in a committed relationship with him.
    • Only for him to return once more after dying in series 4, and shaking things up again, although this is all Morgana's fault.
  • In Lost Girl, Bo and Lauren are considored this; the main reason for this is Bo is a Fae and Lauren a human. One of the number one rules of being Fae is not to fall in love with humans. And even if they get past this and all other personal problems Bo is going to outlive Lauren hundreds of years.
  • Castle and Beckett are beginning to seem this way.
  • While it took place during one of The Movies, Kamen Rider Fourze/Gentarou Kisaragi ends up falling in love with an alien lifeform...before a rogue member of Kamen Rider Double's Foundation X captures her, effectively kills her and turns her into an Astro Switch.


Music[edit | hide]

  • The Decemberists' song "We Both Go Down Together" is about a common girl and a young man of rich means whose parents don't approve of his love to said common girl. They solve their problem in the classical manner, if you get my drift.
    • There's also an alternate lyrical interpretation that takes the unlucky rich kid's somewhat patronising tone and extrapolates that rather than preparing to die with her, he's leading her on so he can murder her, possibly for being pregnant with his child.
      • There's also also the interpretation that the rich male is actually a deluded rapist who believes that they are in love. The rape angle seems to make sense, but the leaving her for being pregnant fits in well with the theory that "We Both Go Down Together" and "Lesley Anne Levine" are interlinked. Possibly it's a bit of both.
    • "O Valencia", on the other hand, is spot-on for this trope; in fact, the first bit almost seems lifted from Romeo and Juliet: A young mobster (probably son of the Don/Boss/whathaveyou) falls in love with Valencia, the daughter of a rival Don; her sister rats on them; her brother confronts them; Valencia runs to her lover's side just as her brother is shooting, and gets hit instead; she dies in her lover's arms; the lover decides to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Referenced in the Blue Oyster Cult song "Don't Fear The Reaper" as well.
  • The song "Barricade" by Stars is occasionally, and erroneously, taken to be about a pair of revolutionary lovers who are torn away from each other by The Man. It's actually about a pair of violent football hooligans who are only being kept apart by the fact that one of them grows up and gets a job while the other stays a shiftless thug. Members of the band are somewhat... annoyed by the first interpretation...
    • On the other hand it's implied fairly strongly that the narrator has feelings for the other football thug, and that both of them grew up eventually, but in different directions.
  • The song "Jueves" by the Spanish group La Oreja de Van Gogh, is about a man and a woman who confess their love for each other in a train... just seconds before dying in the terrorist attacks of March 11.
  • "Futari wa" ("The Two of Us") by Miyuki Nakajima. The song tells a modern variation on Love Above One's Station: the love between a prostitute and a client who cannot have an actual relationship with her without being rejected by his friends.
  • "Running Bear", famously sung by Johnny Preston, is essentially a Romeo and Juliet story between two Indians from warring tribes.
  • Exaggerated in Tom Waits' song "Fish and Bird". Doesn't stop it from being a tear-jerker.
  • Parodied (but nevertheless sad) in "Misalliance" by Flanders and Swann.
  • Nightwish's song "Astral Romance" is all about this. Arguably also several other of their songs.
  • The song "Starcrossed" by Ash.
  • "For Love" by Blood Angel and Kate Warwick (Gothic-/Symphonic- Metal, also released as a single)
  • David Bowie's song "Heroes" is about two lovers who are separated by the Berlin Wall.
  • Secret Lovers by Atlantic Starr is about a pair of these—they aren't allowed to be together because they're both engaged/married to someone else.
  • "The Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las, im which the guy dies in a motorcycle accident immediately after their breakup.
  • The animated character and his real-world girlfriend in the video for A-ha's "Take on Me". The story is concluded at the beginning of the "The Sun Always Shines on TV" video.
    • Also the narrator and his ex-girlfriend in Manhattan Skyline. They refuse to get in a Long-Distance Relationship, the girl leaves on a boat, the guy angsts about how he won't be able to fall again... and then decides to leave to New York.


Mythology[edit | hide]

  • Tristan and Iseult (also known as Isolde).
  • Lancelot and Guinevere, which is also a form of Bodyguard Crush.
  • Pelleas and Melisande
  • Classical Mythology has several: Hero and Leander, Troilus and Cressida, and Aphrodite and Adonis.
    • Adonis is based directly on Innana/Ishtar and Dumuzi, the Older Than Dirt Mesopotamian story of the vegetation god whose annual death and resurrection cause the seasons because of the misery of his bereaved love.
    • Aeneas and Dido, Orpheus and Eurydice, and Pyramus and Thisbe show up in Ancient Roman writings.
  • Geb and Nut, Egyptian god of the earth and goddess of the sky, respectively, are forever kept separated by their father Shu, god of air and light. As in, he physically holds them apart so they can't touch more than their toes and fingertips. One version has him trying to prevent the birth of the god Set.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • Subverted in the musical The Fantasticks: two neighboring fathers maintain the appearance of a virulent feud and forbid their children (a son and a daughter) to even look at each other as part of a scheme to get them to fall in love and marry.
  • Shakespeare did this a lot, either because he liked it or his audiences did.
    • Romeo and Juliet, the Trope Namer, from the opening narration.
      • Although in practice it's more of a Deconstruction of this trope, with Romeo and Juliet both being shown to be rather foolish and needlessly dramatic.
    • Antony and Cleopatra
    • Pyramus and Thisbe, a Show Within a Show in A Midsummer Night's Dream, which has its own forbidden lovers in Hermia and Lysander, but since this is a comedy, they end up together.
    • Depending on how you look at it, Hamlet & Ophelia and Othello & Desdemona could count.
  • Again, Tristan and Isolde, but now in the opera by Richard Wagner.
  • Haemon and Antigone in Antigone by Sophocles.
  • In the musical adaptation of The Secret Garden, it is revealed at one point that Lily Craven's family, especially her sister, were dead set against her marrying Archibald because he was a hunchback. Her sister threatened to disown her, but she married him anyway because she loved him so much. Then she died. Archibald is still in a mess over her death when Mary arrives ten years later.
  • In Les Misérables, Eponine and Marius (or at least Eponine thinks they could be). Eponine sings about this in "On My Own", and unfortunately she is the hypotenuse in a love triangle involving herself, Marius and Cossette. She becomes a victim of Death of the Hypotenuse and lies dying in Marius' arms. In some stagings, they Almost Kiss, but she dies before they do. Bummer.
  • Elphaba and Glinda from Wicked. It's far more blatant in the musical then in the books, and fits this trope far more than said source. That greatly depends on the staging. It's more like a star-crossed friendship. In the book, Elphie and Fiyero are the star-crossed lovers.
  • Tuptim and Lun Tha in The King and I.
  • In the original Vanities play, the three childhood friends are driven apart by their differences in the third scene, although The Musical fixes that. Played straight with Joanne and Ted, who are divorced by the musical's finale.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Mellthas and Sira in Albion. Not only Interspecies Romance, but Mellthas can't even talk! (one female gamer called it "The Little Mermaid in reverse!")
  • Fei and Elly in Xenogears, multiple times. They are trapped in an endless cycle of reincarnation, and every single time it ends quite badly for both of them. Until they break the cycle, of course. At least one of their doomed romances has shades of Love Above One's Station.
    • Arc and Elle of Terranigma find themselves in an almost identical situation, as they reincarnate endlessly to save the world... and be killed off just as their love blooms and the world is safe, each time.
  • Aerith and Zack. After Zack goes on the infamous Nibelheim mission and disappears for years, then dies just outside Midgar before he can reunite with Aerith. However, after the events of Final Fantasy VII, Aerith and Zack end up Together in Death, as shown in Advent Children.
  • Tequila and Billie, the daughter of Big Bad Mr. Wong in John Woo Presents Stranglehold.
  • Timpani and Blumiere of Super Paper Mario. Or, as you know them for most of the game, Tippi and Count Bleck.
  • The Didact and Librarian from Halo, quite literally. The last time the Didact sees his wife pre-reincarnation is over a thousands years before she perishes. First because he's sealed in a chamber in hibernation for a thousand years, then, after she puts her plan in action to reunite them, he dies. Luckily, he is reincarnated in Bornstellar, only to be separated again while he directs the fight against the Flood at the Ark and she saves thousands of alien species behind enemy lines. The last time they speak to one another, the Didact is pleading with her to return to him, and she urges him to fire the titular Halos, which he does, winning the war but killing her. Truly a Tear Jerker, as he was willing to undergo shame, torture, and imprisonment if it would allow him to see her again.
  • In Fire Emblem, this really happens to Priscilla, if she is paired with either the myrmidon Guy or the Dragon Rider Heath. Basically, she's a noble girl. But Guy is a tribesman from Sacae, and Heath is a deserter from Bern. So in the end, they back down. This is especially true on the Heath-Priscilla pairing, their A Support Conversation is almost on Tear Jerker level.
    • Priscilla herself had already plagued from a troubled past. She was born to Lycia's house Caerleon, which was destroyed by Ostia for corruption, and was given to Count Caerleon of Etruria when she was only 5 or 6. She then traveled back to Lycia with Erk, who was advised as a chaperone/mercenary/bodyguard while Priscilla searched for her long-lost brother, Raymond/Raven. She reunited with him, then either befriended Raven's vassal, Lucius, or fell in love with either Erk, Guy, Heath, or Sain. Unfortunately, only the first of the four was able to not end up in tragedy.
    • Don't forget Legault/Isadora ( they find each other as enemies in the battlefield, years after the game events), Renault/Isadora ( he disappears, she leaves the military and becomes a cleric to find him but we never find out if she does or not) and Harken/Vaida ( reach and understanding, long for each other... then they never meet again). Also, if you don't pair up Eliwood and Ninian via supports, she has to leave with Nils to her own world behind the Dragon's Gate, and since her crush on Eliwood is pretty much canon... So yeah.
    • The 6th game had Miledy and Gale, which reaches near-epic levels of Tear Jerker, especially when you let Miledy talk to Gale before you kill him.
      • They're not the only ones either: we also have Astol and Igrene. Their supports are just as moving and sad, because it's hinted that they are already married, but lost each other several years ago... and since he's a spy of Ostia, he can't return to her no matter what.
    • There's a rather pleasing subversion in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, with Dragon Rider Cormag and Princess Tana of Frelia. While he does leave after his land of Grado is reconstructed and she does spend years searching for him, they ultimately find each other and she knights him in service of her realm.
    • From Seisen no Keifu, we have Sigurd and Diadora. They did marry and have a child, but then Diadora was kidnapped and brainwashed into marrying her half-brother, and said half-brother killed Sigurd. Yikes.
      • And then there's almost any couple coming from the first part. Ethlin and Cuan perish in the desert via Dragon Rider ambush, all the males over 15 years old except for Fin (and Levin, but he's actually Back from the Dead via Holsety) die in the Battle of Barhera alongside Sigurd, and the girls either are missing (Ayra, Bridget, Lachesis, Sylvia), retired (Aideen), or dead (Tiltyu, Fury) as well.
      • The second part gives us Trabant's adopted daughter Altenna ( or better said, his spoil of war after he kills her parents and takes her hostage) and his full-blooded son Areone. In a subversion, you can give them a happy ending - but it heavily depends on your strategies.
  • Laguna and Julia in Final Fantasy VIII. His son Squall and her daughter Rinoa have rather more success.
  • EVERY single pair of lovers in Odin Sphere.
  • This could apply to Tidus and Yuna with Tidus being actually a dream of the Fayth. But at the good ending of Final Fantasy X-2, they are happily reunited.
  • In Persona 3 Portable, it's possible for this to occur between the female protagonist and Ryoji Mochizuki. He's an amnesiac Anthropomorphic Personification of Death itself. She's doomed to sacrifice herself to seal a Cosmic Horror, like the male protagonist before her. Yeah, it's not gonna end prettily for either party.
  • Male Revan and Bastila, Female Revan and Carth, Female Exile and Atton, Male Exile and Handmaiden, heck, pretty much every pairing in Knights of the Old Republic one and two.
    • There is also a side quest in the first game that features and example from two feuding families.
  • This can happen all over the place in Dragon Age, unavoidably if a male PC romances Morrigan, and possible if any PC takes the Heroic Sacrifice at the end after pursuing any romance - or if Alistair takes it after being romanced. There are also the origins - the City Elf will have to leave their Arranged Marriage candidate (and regardless of what they may have thought of them, said potential spouse seems to have a definite attraction to them), this comes into obvious play on at least one end (the other, of course, depending on whatever the player thinks their Warden feels) for the female Dalish Elf, and mage-hating Cullen has a crush on the female mage that, needless to say, doesn't go too well for him. Not to mention Jowan and Lily, also appearing in the Mage origin. To prove how prevalent this is, the dwarf noble origin can have it too, with a female PC and her second, Gorim. This is portrayed as an established but probably ultimately doomed relationship, due to the nature of the dwarven caste system.
    • Yeah, all of the Origin Story "romances" are doomed to fail. Let's see...
      • In the Human Noble origin, you can choose to have a sexual encounter with one of two certain characters. Regardless of which one of them you choose, they will be brutally slaughtered when the castle is ambushed that same night.
      • In the Dwarf Noble origin, there appears to be something intimate going on between the female player and Gorim, seeing as the player has several suggestive dialogue options with him. But it is made fairly clear that they cannot marry because he is of a lesser caste. Later in the game the player can find him in Denerim, only to discover that he has already married another woman and is expecting a child with her, and he breaks off the relationship for good. A male player, on the hand, has the option of having a sexual encounter with two "noble hunting" women during the origin story; but it's quite clear that these ladies only want to sleep with him because of his status, for their own personal gain, because they want to have his child so that they can live in the palace. Gets even more star-crossed by the fact that if the player does choose to sleep with them, one of them does end up having his baby, but because he got himself exiled the day after he slept with her, and because a child inherits their status from their same-sex parent, the child is casteless and when the player encounters her again later in the game, she bitches at him and blames him for her misery and accuses him of ruining her life and all that. Go figure.
      • In the City Elf origin, you're being forced to get married, but then a drunken human noble lord comes and ruins your wedding and kidnaps the women. If your character is female, then your fiance ends up being murdered by the lord's men. If your character is male, your fiancee ends up rejecting you after you rescue her from being raped and likely killed, claiming that "Grey Wardens can't have wives or families."
      • In the Mage origin, it is quite obvious that the templar Cullen is infatuated with the female player, although if the player tries to proposition him for sex he'll get incredibly nervous and run away. Later in the game, when the templars are overthrown and the tower is taken over by rebellious blood mages, the player will find that Cullen is the only templar on the upper floors who has not been slaughtered - when the female mage player finds him again, he will outright reveal his infatuation for her, but because of the psychological torture he has endured, he has developed a burning, immense hatred for all mages and pretty much rejects the player because he doesn't care for her anymore.
  • Max Payne and Mona Sax.
  • Leon and Ada in the Resident Evil series.
  • Adol and Lilia in the Ys series, as well as pretty much every other girl he meets. This is the only girl he gets close to getting serious with.
  • Rufus and Alicia from Valkyrie Profile: Silmera.
  • Kei Odagiri and Ukyou Tachibana from Samurai Shodown straddle the line between Courtly Love and this. They're quite in love but Ukyou has to keep his distance because she's a high-ranked noblewoman while he's a swordsman, and not to mention he's an Ill Boy who will die sooner or later. She gets married to someone else, but they still hold feelings for each other in their hearts, and when Kei needs Ukyou's help he will immediately go to her aid.
  • In the Mass Effect series, this is the current fate of the possible romance between Shepard and Ashley/Kaidan. In the second game, Shepard is in an uneasy alliance with Cerberus while Ashley/Kaidan remain loyal to The Alliance.
    • It can also happen in Mass Effect 2 if your love interest dies during the suicide mission.
      • Or if you're romancing Thane as female Shepard, thanks to his illness.
    • Pretty much happens to all love interests who were part of your crew in the 3rd game, what with them being stranded on Gilligan's Planet, the relay system in ruins and Shepard being dead in the Sol system in most cases. One of the many reasons the ending is hated by the fans.
  • Xianghua's parents, Chai Xiangfei and Kong Xiuqiang in the Soul Series.
  • Cole and Elsa in L.A. Noire.
  • Liu Kang and Princess Kitana of the Mortal Kombat universe, which is bound and determined in both the original series and the reboot to ensure they never find happiness.
  • The prince and princess in the original Prince of Persia games.

Narrator: And so the young lovers were wed and lived happily... well, for eleven days.

  • In Shira Oka: Second Chances, one of the routes results in the inevitable death of its focus character, Yui
  • Chaos and Varuna, the god of darkness and a goddess of light, will never be together in the Agarest Senki series. Heck, half of the reason why the war of the gods started was because Chaos never got Varuna.
  • The Joy/The Boss and The Sorrow of Metal Gear Solid 3. They were together for a while, and they even had a child ( Ocelot), but in the end, their devotion to their countries (the United States and the USSR, respectively) put them on opposite sides of the Cold War, and the Joy ended up being forced to kill the Sorrow. They're Together in Death by the end of Metal Gear Solid 3.
  • Chibi-Usa and Anshar from Sailor Moon: Another Story, if you have his older sister and local Big Bad Sin defeated by Chibimoon's team.
  • Serah and Snow in Final Fantasy XIII-2. The first game's ending was pretty good for them, then the sequel kicked in and Snow went on a quest to find Lightning. It all goes downhill from there. Except in one of the Paradox Endings, i.e. an alternate, non official ending, where they go on adventures together.


Visual Novels[edit | hide]


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • American Dragon: Jake Long features a romance between a dragon and a girl raised by a family of dragon-slayers. Think of it as Romeo and Juliet, except they don't kill themselves, they try to kill each other.
    • She gets better, though.
  • Charmer and Ranger in The Animals of Farthing Wood.
  • Scooby Doo And The Alien Invaders has Shaggy and Scooby seemingly meet their soul mates in a hippie photographer and her dog, only to find out that they're actually aliens.
  • Danny Phantom had Half-Human Hybrid ghost hero Danny and Valerie, the Ghost Hunter. They dated briefly with Valerie breaking up because of her job, unaware of Danny's ghostly alter ego, but love-lost feelings were mutual during the aftermath...until Season Three.
  • The original series finale of Justice League was called "Starcrossed" and had to do with the fate of the relationship of the Green Lantern and Hawkgirl. Though really, it could have been called "Planetcrossed" just as easily.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has this in the story of Oma and Shu. Actual in-series example would be Sokka and Princess Yue.
  • The Dungeons and Dragons series has two couples like this: Presto and Varla, as well as Diana and Kosar
  • Played with in the Friendship between Gus and Corn Chip Girl in Recess. His father is in the Army. Her father is in the Navy. Do the math.
  • Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers has Minnie forbidden to date Mickey due to him being a commoner. This only attracts her to him more.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • This example, between a Hindu boy and a Muslim girl.
  • Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga in Malawi. Their marriage was annulled because Tiwonge is a trans woman, they were jailed, then pardoned, then forced to move back to their respective home towns. Steven eventually married another woman.
  • Peter Townsend and Princess Margaret of Great Britain. Townshend was an Ace Pilot and war hero, having flown Hurricane in the Battle Of Britain, and clearly had deserved the hand of princess and half the domain. Queen Elizabeth said "no" for their marriage; Townsend was a divorcee. That broke the hearts of both. Townsend later revealed Margaret was his only true love.
  • Jose Rizal and Leonor Rivera who are first cousins. When Rizal traveled overseas to pursue studies, the two kept on sending letters to each other, hiding coded messeages since both their parents do not approve of their relationship (partly because Rizal is wanted by the Spanish authorities.) Leonor continued to be faithful to Rizal for six years despite not seeing him (and probably not knowing that Rizal had affair with numerous foreign women.) Rizal tried to marry her many times but their meeting is always prevented by their parents. In the end, Leonor was forced to marry an Englishman.
    • The leading characters who are lovers in Rizal's Noli Me Tangere, Crisostomo Ibarra and Maria Clara, are inspired by the situation between him and Leonor Rivera.
  • The aptly nicknamed "Romeo and Juliet of Sarajevo," Bosko Brkic (Serbian, Orthodox Christian) and Admira Ismic (Bosniak, Muslim), who were shot while trying to flee the city together during the infamous Siege of Sarajevo. As they attempted to cross the bridge over the Miljacka River, they were both fatally injured by snipers; Bosko died instantly, Admira crawled to his corpse and died next to him.
  • Dorothy Osborne and Sir William Temple faithfully obeyed the Parental Marriage Veto as long as it was in effect, but when their fathers died, and Dorothy suffered smallpox to the ruin of her looks, they were permitted to marry.