Bringing the Male to his Knees - Taming the Dangerous Lover: Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre as the blueprint for love relations in Sarah J. Maas's A Court of Thorns and Roses.

Masters thesis
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
Publication year

Here's the abstract:

This masters dissertation seeks to examine and illustrate the presence of Deborah Lutz’s dangerous lover character in contemporary popular fiction, by analyzing how the character relations in Brontë’s Jane Eyre function as a template for contemporary romance fiction’s representation of love relations, and identifying how prevalent Lutz’s dangerous lover, rooted in the character of Mr. Rochester, is in contemporary romantic sub-genres, especially in the Romantasy subgenre, exemplified with Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Both dangerous lover characters in the series display various sides of Mr. Rochester, with Rhysand being the one the protagonist Feyre ends up with, which is due to him being the Rochester Jane arguably marries, and not the one Bertha married. Most notably, the protagonists in Jane Eyre and A Court of Thorns and Roses, are able to tame their dangerous lovers, Rochester and Rhysand, due to the mutual respect between them. Given that the primary texts are not categorized as Romances, this thesis also outlines why the dangerous lover narrative and its associated novels became assigned to the Romance, even though they are written within the narrative structures of other genres.


Both Jane Eyre and A Court of Thorns and Roses are not strictly categorized as romance novels, but as something other than that – yet the romance narrative, or romance sub-plot, has an essential role within them. The word “formula” is often misused when it comes to Romance fiction, and is often confused with “genre.” It is narrower. All elements of the genre are present in the formula, but not the other way around. Thus, Jane Eyre can fit within the romance formula, even though it is not categorized as a Romance novel. The term has its place, however, not as a synonym for genre, which is a less loaded, more accurate term for the Romance novel (Regis 23). Even though Jane Eyre is categorized as a Bildungsroman, because of some of its other narrative elements, it fits into the category of a Romance – containing what both Regis and the Romance Writers of America explain as the two main factors of a romance novel: a courtship and a happy ending. (2)


From what I have learned during the research for this thesis, a reason for there being little to no scholarly material on the topic of Romantasy is arguably because of the earlier categorization of texts that are now perceived as ‘Romantasy’ – being previously assigned to the subgenres Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy, which I will later examine in chapter 2 of this thesis. The new subgenre is thus not much regarded by the scientific community at large, but is a term that younger writers – such as myself – utilize, which is why I wish to elaborate on it more and show that this new genre assignment is growing both in interest, and novels associated with the subgenre are worth exploring. (4)