star-crossed \ STAHR-krawst, -krost \ , adjective;
- thwarted or opposed by the stars; ill-fated: star-crossed lovers .
The phrase star-crossed was coined by Bill Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet. But pre-dating the Bard’s dramatic offerings, romantic pairings have been star-crossed since boys began meeting girls and boys began losing girls. Samson and Delilah, Antony and Cleopatra, Lancelot and Guinevere are some of history and literature’s doomed couplings.
Recent additions to the pantheon of tragic lovers are Heathcliff and Cathy, Scarlett and Rhett and Jack Dawson and Rose DeWitt Bukater.
And let’s not forget all the boys meeting and losing boys and girls meeting and losing girls. Yeah, I’m thinking of you Ennis and Jack.
With the exception of the romantic comedy, a genre so close to extinction even SNL parodies seem hopelessly dated, I can’t think of a cinematic or small-screen couple that isn’t doomed from the start. The jury is still out on Maggie and Glen from Walking Dead, but I think it’s safe to say with the zombie apocalypse closing in around them, this relationship isn’t going to end well.
Then we have Carrie and Brody on Homeland, or as I like to call the show, Who’s Going to Mess with Carrie’s Medication This Year? By the end of the third season we were all beseeching the stars, thwart them for God sake! Put them out of our misery.
On Game of Thrones, the star-crossed lovers are easy to spot – anyone who’s on screen at any given moment: Ned and Catelyn; Cersei and Jamie; Tyrion and Shae; Jon and Ygritte; Rob and Talisa; Daenerys and Dragon…
However, if you looked up star-crossed in the dictionary, and I did, by all rights there should be a picture of Mary and Matthew from Downton Abby. Stay tuned in February to see if Anna and Mr. Bates take their place.