Hello my fellow wordsmiths and page turners,
Today we are looking at some of my least favourite fantasy tropes that appear in literature. Let me know if you agree with me or if there are others that you feel fit the bill better!
A literary trope is the use of figurative language, via word, phrase or an image, for artistic effect such as using a figure of speech.The term trope is also used for describing commonly recurring literary and rhetorical devices, motifs or clichés in creative works.
The Chosen One “The prophecy foretold that this one would be first”
These characters have been chosen by some force and they are now the only ones capable of resolving the plot. They are often set with a task from a prophecy such as “Defeating the Darkness” or “Bring order to the land by finding a magical artefact“. Chances are that these characters have been made the Hero, and tend to be ‘Mary Sue‘ type characters that can’t die or have any real consequences set upon them and tend to be an author’s idealized or flawless self insertion.
Dark is Evil “Black, Black like my Heart!” *insert evil laugh*
Darkness is associated with evil, monsters and other creepy things that go bump in the night. This is the reason for the naming of the “Dark Side” and why a lot of villains and unscrupulous characters are colour coded for your convenience. Darth Vader, Jafar, and The Ring Wraith’s to name a few. The logic behind this is that most humans fear black, as they fear the dark/the unknown. The very fact that it is hard to see in the dark causes us to also associate it with deception which is another thing Evil is associated with. If you really wanted to drive the nail home you can even go as far as calling your character a Darkness related name like Shadow or The Dark One, which further perpetuates the sense of Evil!
This trope is used a lot in both literature and television it gives a clear depiction to the reader who is the bad guy, and who is the good guy, but this in itself gave rise to the parallel trope “Dark is not Evil” which is a complete inversion and the good counterpart of this troupe.
Boy Meets Girl. “you will love me!.. please!?“
We have all been there right, we have all randomly met someone, or are assigned to do a project with someone by a teacher, boss, or government official and pretty much fell in love with them overnight. No? Then why does this keep happening.
Just because you are thrown together to do a task or even pitted against one another, and you compliment each other’s skills incredibly well, doesn’t mean that you will fall in love and have a happy ever after. Or be doomed to murder each other in cold blood and push aside your forbidden love, and don’t even let me get started on the “A match made in Stockholm” Trope!
A Wizard Did It! “Bang! and the problem was gone” (you know you read that in a Barry Scott voice)
Does an element of your world not work? Is something in your timeline or continuity slightly out of whack, is there a ginormous beast in the centre of a deserted desert that eats everything except there is nothing to eat? Never fear because the Wizard is here.
This trope can be used to hand wave away minor nitpicks and contrived coincidences that should really be covered by willing suspension of disbelief. If it didn’t happen that way, there wouldn’t be a movie, or magic genuinely is involved in the story. However, having to use it to excuse major Plot Holes that the creators really should’ve caught beforehand will make people rightly angry.
Deus Ex Machina. “EAGLES!……”
It is the trope where you introduce a supernatural or mechanical element of some sort, and fix a previously unfix-able problem through it. This is usually done by having a character, ability, or object suddenly solve a seemingly unsolvable problem in a sudden, unexpected way. It’s often used as the solution to what is called “writing yourself into a corner” where the problem is so extreme that nothing in the established setting suggests that there is a logical way for the characters to escape. Essentially it’s a get out of jail free card.
and than concludes my post on the worst fantasy tropes, do you agree with me or do you have some of your own suggestions?
Until next time, read more books