There is comfort in revisiting old stories. In recent weeks I can be found rewatching all the Parks and Rec episodes or Disney movies from my youth. If I manage to make the effort to pick up a book it’s usually only to re-read a childhood favorite. There’s something about these old books that bring me a level of comfort I can’t seem to find anywhere else.
In this season of turning to the books that feel like old friends and going to fictional places that feel like home, I guess it’s no surprise that I turned back to Anne of Green Gables. Avonlea and Miss Anne Shirley will always have a special place in my heart. It is also worth noting that Gilbert Blythe is the first boy I ever had a book crush on. In fact, Anne and Gilbert are the only couple I ever remember “shipping” as a child.
Now, I have fallen in love with many fictional characters since my introduction to Gilbert Blythe, but as my first literary love he will always hold a special place in my heart. What’s more is that I have come to realize that Gilbert and Anne’s relationship actually covers a multitude of my personal favorite romance tropes.
My eleven year old heart never stood a chance against the charms of Gilbert Blythe.
I honestly can’t say if I became a fan of these tropes because of my love of Gilbert and Anne, or if my love for Gilbert and Anne created a soft spot for these tropes. Either way, I love them and always have.
Trope 1 “Enemies to Lovers”:
I don’t know if there is a more quintessential example of this trope in classic literature. Most of us are familiar with the infamous scene. In a severely misguided attempt to gain Anne’s attention Gilbert pulls her hair and calls her “Carrots”. Anne, who is arguably one of the most dramatic characters in history, thinks this act is the actual worst insult any human could bestow upon another. In a fit of rage and retribution she whallops him over the head with a slate. Because of course she does.
Besides being incredibly funny, it is this moment that Gilbert has to work literal years to make up for. There is also a healthy dose of academic rivalry to keep the heated moments alive throughout their school days!
Trope 2 “Friends to Lovers”:
After an achingly slow several years, Anne and Gilbert finally move into the friends to lovers trope. They put aside their differences (I mean thank God, I really don’t know how Anne managed to snub the poor boy for so long) and become what everyone knew they would, best friends *cough* soul mates *cough*. We get to see them laugh, flirt, and argue in a way that screams “Oh yeah they are going to get married”. I think the practically married bickering still make up most of my favorite scenes to this day.
Trope 3 “Second Chance Romance”:
This part will always break my heart and I will never understand it, but when Gilbert tries to tell Anne about his feelings for her the girl flees faster than she did that one time when she thought there were ghosts in the forest. I mean she is out of there. Her and Gilbert understandably lose touch after this and it takes his near death experience for her to realize she’s caught feelings. Of course Gilbert is a dream and tells her there was never anyone for him but her and she gets a second shot at happily ever after.
Trope 4 “Slow Burn”:
These novels are nothing if not an achingly slow burn. Like a painfully slow burn. It takes these two dingdongs a literal dacade and more to get together and on top of that they have an extra long engagement so that Gilbert can finish medical school. (Oh yeah, did I mention he becomes a dreamy doctor? Because he does.) If there is anything the slow burn teaches us it’s that good things are worth waiting for and sometimes the long game has the biggest pay off. While the long parts in the middle can be painful, the relationship feels extra sweet once it finally comes to be.