This term was made popular by the prologue of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Too bad very few know what it means, because if they did they would know that this ONLY applies to TRAGIC LOVE STORIES. Star-crossed lovers, by definition, are two people who meet by chance. Their encounter is brief; often bittersweet, then they go their separate ways due to death or circumstances beyond their control. Let me repeat that. Their encounter is BRIEF, and they MOVE ON, like two ships passing in the night. If the characters don’t part ways by the end of the story, this term does not apply.
Okay, for something to be forbidden there has to be two or more opposing factors. In Romeo and Juliet, both families were against each other, there was strife since Act One. If there is no threat established, namely people of authority or value saying “don’t hook up,” and there is No dire consequence of the union, then the writer is just making shit bigger than it needs to be. If the love is forbidden, make it clear and exact harsh punishment for breaking the rules of your universe.
This is a personal beef of mine, only because it’s a half-ass way to add conflict. There should be more to the situation than two guys fighting over a girl, and said girl should be strong enough to end the feud, since she is the common factor. This is a battle for ones affection; therefore there should be a winner and a loser. No consolation, no placation, but the backbone to walk away defeated, or die.
What all three themes have in common is that none of these are supposed to have a happy ending. Someone loses, costly prices are paid for their choices, and no one gets out of their situation unscathed. This is what enriched the tale, add drama to the story and make the love aspect that more profound.
This is the beauty of tragedies, the sacrifice, and the loss the character endures. If no one important dies and main characters wind up together at the end of the book, I fail to see the tear-jerking misfortune. In other words, happily ever after doesn’t exist here, nor should it. It rings true to life what love really is: compromise, sacrifice, passion, with a little pinch of pain.