Discussion Your opinion on harem as a genre

Discussion in 'Novel General' started by Drevart, Dec 3, 2022.

  1. ludagad

    ludagad Addicted to escapist novels

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    3,658
    Likes Received:
    10,147
    Reading List:
    Link
    There's always an agenda in harems. Just look at real life. There are men that women don't mind sharing with other women. Those men are either beautiful, rich, famous, and/or influential. The agendas include - getting his genes (making a baby from a lucky fling), bragging rights, entrapment for money, hopes of marriage and a financially secure life, furthering a career, getting famous by proxy, making a baby and then blackmailing for money, etc... The only exception to those is cult leaders. Charismatic brain-washers who'll prey on younger women/girls without solid family protection. But even that falls through eventually when they wake up. Then they may stay out of fear, resignation, or no other options/depression.

    If a woman doesn't mind sharing her man, that means something the man has/can give her is more important to her than the man himself. I reckon most men in that position realize this truth and just don't mind the pretty 20-year-olds who throw themselves at them regardless of their agendas. In fact, if it's just for money or fame, it's a rather straightforward transaction and they might prefer that. But that unromantic reality is what makes me unable to accept harems as anything involving love.

    If I feel like reading romance, harem is not the genre I'm looking for. I know it's wish-fulfillment, and in a novel, it can be whatever the author wants, but at the back of my head, I'm just thinking of the girls' agendas you know. I'm thinking 20 years in the future (or 20,000 in xianxia, whatever) when they get older and wiser and have kids... How is that dynamic going to go? In any case, if you're gonna read harem novels, you gotta turn off your brain and read them for the hot girls. Don't think too much lol. That's how I read reverse harems. They're even more ridiculous in various other ways, so I rarely find one that I'd like, but still. They're not very romantic. Like playing a game and collecting trophies. It's the fact that socially valuable people only have eyes for the MC and are so in love they can't help themselves, that makes the genre popular. In reality, requited love is very hard to find even with one person. Only lust and interests.
     
    ragingphoenix likes this.
  2. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2017
    Messages:
    3,354
    Likes Received:
    3,143
    Reading List:
    Link
    I think that this is why harem novels only work in societies where harems are a part of the normal social fabric. I've seen even good writers try to force a harem in a modern story, and while all the characters were good, it never sat well with me.
     
  3. ludagad

    ludagad Addicted to escapist novels

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2015
    Messages:
    3,658
    Likes Received:
    10,147
    Reading List:
    Link
    I can't help but think that women were so unsatisfied with the status quo, that a man had to write a whole book about how women should be virtuous and obedient (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Obediences_and_Four_Virtues). I see no other reason than that lmao. But anyway, it was political and clan alliances back then. The main wife was supposed to birth the heir (ideally), and the concubines were a pretty distraction whose children didn't have the same rights as the children of the main wife. Hence all the backyard/harem drama. It really wasn't a matter of choice for those women, so I can only imagine they felt rather insecure in a man who spread his affections around.
     
  4. Kelsealoufromkalamazoo

    Kelsealoufromkalamazoo [The Luckiest Sunfish]

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2022
    Messages:
    218
    Likes Received:
    186
    Reading List:
    Link
    I really hate it, but the ones that make fun of themselves for it aren't too bad. I'm reading one like that now, To Be a Power in the Shadows, and it's pretty funny.
     
  5. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2017
    Messages:
    3,354
    Likes Received:
    3,143
    Reading List:
    Link
    How many people today are perfectly happy with their social situations? The main difference though is that it was considered perfectly normal, so a harem wouldn't face the kind of resistance that it would in modern society.
     
  6. LeniSnow

    LeniSnow A snow who feels cold

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2021
    Messages:
    727
    Likes Received:
    1,392
    Reading List:
    Link
    Harems doesn't feel genuine. They're there because you're up and have great prospect but once you lose it all, they'll be gone too. It's just walking on eggshells, what an unstable relationship. They seems so insecure to have just one women so they need back ups. They're so indecisive they can't even decide which one is the best for them.
    They don't even have time for one women so why give them a lot of women, therefore no bonding. Even a minimum wager have better benefits than them and they don't need to perform sexual acts. They can't even hold a single great conversation with a women. If the mc is apathetic then he is anti-social and finds people as properties or tools but just one failure then it'll be all gone. Loyalty to a ruler is only nice when written in paper, but in a long run it's built in a beneficial relationship and mutual goal, not on infatuation or admiration.
    Most MC have harems with slaves because that's the only way someone will stay with them with their trash personality.

    One person in a bed fine, two is already crowded even in a king bed. MCs can't even fix their own life by themselves, what made them capable of having more to shoulder, same with real life.
     
    ludagad likes this.
  7. bethatcat

    bethatcat Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2022
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    27
    Reading List:
    Link
    I'm not sure what your definition of "healthy" is but it doesn't mean "conflict free". A healthy relationship is when u are able to learn to resolve conflicting differences between yourselves and that's a pretty good narrative arc in itself I'd say?? Ppl are inherently different and often have opposing ideals, strengths, weaknesses. Partnering in a healthy way means over time learning how to live together despite these differences, how to compensate for each others weaknesses, how to build on each others strength?? The maturing of a relationship and the maturing of the individuals in it ??
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2022
    ToastedRossi likes this.
  8. aqouze

    aqouze Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2022
    Messages:
    107
    Likes Received:
    198
    Reading List:
    Link
    I'm more tolerate to male harem over female harem (since i'm woman)
    But I will enjoy it only it give out good execution like good reason for the devotion...

    Then If the harem gonna stay as harem... not love interest. MC should have some boundary too otherwise it will look like MC is just playing with people heart.

    One of the bl novel that I read, MC kiss with all ML candidates... It was start out as not MC own's will, he give weak rejection then end up accepting it. Then he start to be tolerate the kiss with the next one and next person.... it feel so weird... it change from the MC being innocent to MC being indecisive.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2022
    bethatcat likes this.
  9. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2017
    Messages:
    3,354
    Likes Received:
    3,143
    Reading List:
    Link
    Yeah, healthy relationships don't have to be boring. Nor does it mean that the people involved are always of one mind. It just means that they respect one another and each other's opinions. These people should be willing to trust and support one another when faced with obstacles. There are Romance novels out there which depict super fluffy relationships as the healthy ideal, but they're instead lies with no basis in reality.
     
    bethatcat likes this.
  10. bethatcat

    bethatcat Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2022
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    27
    Reading List:
    Link
    Polygamy>Polyandry>harem tbhhhh
     
    sakyuya likes this.
  11. ragingphoenix

    ragingphoenix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2022
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    208
    Reading List:
    Link
    I don't browse harem novels, personally.

    When I see the harem tag in the context of NU aggregation, I picture a pretty specific type of book: the kind where a male MC collects harem members like he's collecting Pokemon.

    With reverse harems, I picture an over-dramatic soap opera involving multiple yandere characters chasing a single FL, in which all other female characters are either FL's "maids" or her enemies.

    Not into either of these, personally, although I do enjoy when they're parodied.

    What I would really like is for a distinction to be made between multiple love interests (not as in a love triangle, as in an MC dates around but not in a 'collecting Pokemon' or 'multiple yanderes are obsessed with me' kind of way, but in an adult way where love interests are aware MC has previous or concurrent relationships and have their own lives and other love interests if applicable) and Pokemon harems.

    I really dislike reading stories where every single female character ever to exist just trips over themselves trying to get with ML and then turn into smiling Stepford wives who are perfectly happy with the 10 seconds of attention ML gave them.

    This meme:
    [​IMG]

    Like it would be perfectly fine if it was established these FLs who have no way of keeping up with ML's cultivation or having, like, any contact with him ever again just moved on with their lives. But instead, no, anyone who joins ML's harem joins it forever, because god forbid anyone else be as good as ML.
     
    DustySpiral, ludagad and bethatcat like this.
  12. sakyuya

    sakyuya 【Villain】【Coffee Aficionado】【Penniless Gentleman】

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2017
    Messages:
    1,182
    Likes Received:
    1,926
    Reading List:
    Link
    Not every harem novel protagonist marry all the girls who like him. After all, there are some where protagonist didn't choose any girl at all or decided to be loyal to one sole girl (or maybe two) :meowcoffee:
     
    bethatcat likes this.
  13. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2017
    Messages:
    3,354
    Likes Received:
    3,143
    Reading List:
    Link
    Yeah, one of the worst aspects of Chinese fandom right now is the sense of ownership over any love interests. You can see this in how most stories insist that all the love interests are virginal and pure. And it's not just male fans that behave like this. Look at all those Romance novels out there where the male love interest despises women - it's to assure the audience that he's untainted and will never be interested in a different woman.
     
  14. ragingphoenix

    ragingphoenix Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2022
    Messages:
    162
    Likes Received:
    208
    Reading List:
    Link
    Not a fan of this trope either. Those MLs almost always have jealousy issues with their own kids in a way that's supposed to be funny. That's definitely its own rant though.

    ML harems bother me slightly more than reverse harems do, because there's this idea baked in that those women would be dirty for moving on, or dirty for having had a past relationship.

    With reverse harems, there's less 'no one else will want those MLs' and more 'those MLs themselves choose not to move on.' Not good, but IMO less bad, since MLs have choices.

    I think this goes back to the whole concubinage system where (usually) if a girl was ever someone's concubine, no one else would want her as a proper wife, or if they did want her as a proper wife, there was something majorly wrong with them.

    Usually harem intrigue/historical settings are more realistic about all the baggage that comes with being in a harem and are pretty straightforward about harems being give-and-take as well as a way for women to survive and live well in that setting. Those aspects of harems are glossed over/ignored in normal harem novels.
     
    bethatcat and ludagad like this.
  15. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2017
    Messages:
    3,354
    Likes Received:
    3,143
    Reading List:
    Link
    From what I've seen, heavy infighting in the Imperial harem was relatively common, but having the same thing happen in regular households is mostly fictional. In Imperial China, the legal status of the main wife was protected and in most time periods it was actually illegal to promote a concubine to main wife status.
     
  16. EnduringConviction

    EnduringConviction Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2020
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    33
    Reading List:
    Link
    Ah, I really like the harem plot novel, so I like to read Japanese light novels.
    But in the current Chinese web novels, Already almost impossible to find a harem plot of novels (Excluding those historical novels that want to eliminate Japan and European, and the barbaric Cultivation novels)
    More often, there are a bunch of paratroopers in the comment section asking if there are no female characters in the novel.
     
  17. ToastedRossi

    ToastedRossi Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2017
    Messages:
    3,354
    Likes Received:
    3,143
    Reading List:
    Link
    For your purposes, I find that the Chinese harem novels are a million times better. The problem I have with the Japanese ones is that the characters barely have any personality beyond the stock archetypes. The protagonists are especially bad; often not having any notable personality traits by design. And this is a terrible combination in books where the interaction between the characters is supposed to be one of the main draws.
     
  18. why.

    why. ✪WHY SUPREMACY✪|❄ [orangeLover]❄

    Joined:
    Dec 15, 2022
    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    107
    Reading List:
    Link
    dont mind it alsong as they progress well
     
  19. kclronoes

    kclronoes Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2021
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Reading List:
    Link
    Funnily enough, i like harem purely because there are not a lot of romance novels with a male orientated pov and that too where its is not cringey school moments but like working world or even fantasy.

    Even the mixed povs tend to orient themselves on the female side or just side characters more than ml.

    I wonder why. o_O

    Funnily enough, i like harem purely because there are not a lot of romance novels with a male orientated pov and that too where its is not cringey school moments but like working world or even fantasy.

    Even the mixed povs tend to orient themselves on the female side or just side characters more than ml.
     
  20. Yanamari

    Yanamari Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2021
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    35
    Reading List:
    Link
    I never liked harems, I probably never will. I never understood what what so interesting about that kind of thing but then again it's probably because I'm not the target audience.

    I have a negative view towards novels with harems since they seem... Braindead and often times the characters just seem so unappealing and boring, specifically the people inside the harems since they rarely have any personality of their own or even if they have they're just a slightly modified version of another character