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V.E. Schwab on a literary trope she wishes she could stop

Fragile Threads of Power author V.E. Schwab criticizes authors for continuing to deny queer characters happy endings

Cropped cover of The Fragile Threads of Power
Image credit: Macmillan

Bestselling fantasy author V.E. Schwab is ready for the long-standing practice of punishing queer characters as a trope to stop.

In an interview with Popverse, Schwab - who is currently promoting her new book The Fragile Threads of Power - said, “I would really love to get rid of this sense that we have to kill queers in their happiness, that their happily ever after doesn’t get to exist, that they don’t get the happy ending.”

This trope, made infamous in the sixth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “Seeing Red,” where lesbian character Tara was randomly shot and killed and her girlfriend Willow subsequently tried to destroy the world, has been in the public consciousness and criticized for many years. And yet, says Schwab, “I read so many books and I still see it. This is not something that’s 30 years ago.”

Schwab clarifies that she’s not saying queer characters in stories should somehow get a pass on struggle. “Tragedy and trauma are part of the queer experience as well,” she admits. “That’s why Alucard Emery in the Shades of Magic series has a difficult storyline.”

She also doesn’t want to hide the struggles that queer people continue to face. “Even though we’ve come so far, some people are still going to have really difficult upbringings. I don’t think it’s fair to them when we say everything’s great now, everything’s wonderful.”

But when it comes to putting queer characters through hell and then leaving them there, Schwab wishes authors would move on. “I am very reluctant to ever kill any of my queer characters. Because that has happened enough.”

V.E. Schwab wishes Buffy the Vampire Slayer had more diverse queer representation

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