Love as Motivation
In my previous article: The power of love I briefly wrote about how love could be a powerful motivating force. I'd like to really focus in on that idea for this article and look at the many ways in which love can motivate. These motivations are not necessarily all heroic or noble mind you, and they can easily serve to motivate a villain or anti hero as they could anyone else.
Courting: Courtship, the winning of romantic love through great displays, is a classic of fiction. The knight slays the dragon to win the hand of a beloved noble. The street tough robs a jewellery store to get something nice for their cute new gang member. The smuggler battles a galactic empire to impress someone. The mad titan who wishes to impress death itself with a grand sacrifice of lives. The things that people do to impress and win the love of others can be grand gestures indeed. Almost all creatures can feel love in some form or another, and that feeling can drive one to achieve impossible goals, for better or worse.
Impressing others: I was strongly tempted to put this under courting, or to even just call it "Friendship courting" but regardless of the name the concept is the same. This is something I really don't see enough of, and I quite want more. The idea of wanting to make new friends or impress the ones you have through huge displays of prowess, or dedication, or brilliance is a underappreciated form of motivation. There is no doubt that it is absolutely an expression of love however. This can also extend to wanting to impress or fit in with a group, whether that's the party, military organization, religion or cult.
Protection: What wouldn't you do to save someone you love? Many of the greatest stories ever told are those of heroes battling to defend their loved ones from a threat vastly beyond their own means to combat. A knight battles an army of ghouls and ghosts to save their beloved from a demons grasp. A parent with a very particular set of skills sets out to save their Taken child. The world is in danger and it just so happens that a heroes loved ones live on the world. A rare illness, and an even rarer cure far away. This is an absolute classic motivation, but it also extends to the love of one's self. Sometimes merely surviving is a goal all of its own.
Revenge: Vengeance is an incredibly powerful force. It's a desire that knows only a destructive goal of making someone else pay for what they did. It can often occupy the same space and masquerade as justice, allowing it to take the shape of a noble endeavour. Taking vengeance for harming a loved one is an incredibly relatable goal. Everyone has at some point been wronged only to want desperately for the person who hurt them to pay for what they did. The reason is that this is classified as vengeance, and not justice is that real justice is indifferent to who was harmed. The burning down of /anyone's/ house is cause for justice. The burning down of /your/ house is cause for vengeance. And this article is specifically focused on the context of love and loved ones.
Loss: When a loved one vanishes from our lives, the love we felt doesn't go with them. Grief, pain, sorrow and loss can be very powerful motivators. Doing anything and everything possible to honour the ideals and memories of the fallen. devoting ones self to making sure no one ever feels this pain again. Finding a way, any way to make the pain and hurt go away. Loss is the most complex motivation covered here because people handle it so differently. It's not an attack against ones loved one, it's not a burning desire for revenge, it's not the need to have someone else love you. Loss is a pain of the heart, with no clear solution, no way to break it down and understand it. It is for the person in pain to decipher and resolve in whatever way they can.