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Author Topic: Favorite Tropes??  (Read 7711 times)

Offline Arry

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Favorite Tropes??
« on: September 10, 2015, 11:22:34 PM »
OK, so tropes a tropes for a reason. Often it seems like people make it sound like a trope in a book is a bad thing, but obviously they only become so popular because people like them.  I guess maybe it is just when it is a trope they are tired of. But with so many to choose from, obviously there has to be something for everyone. For anyone who is interested, Diana Wynne Jones has a great little book called Tough Guide to Fantasyland that lists tons of tropes common in fantasy. But even it manages to miss some.

So, what are your favorite tropes?? What books did you love because they had them?


One of my favorites:

The girl dressed as a boy trope. No idea why, but I generally love this. A few examples: Arya in ASoIaF, Coby from Anne Lyle's The Alchemist of Souls, Cithrin in The Dragon's Path. I know I missed many more.


« Last Edit: September 10, 2015, 11:28:54 PM by Arry »
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Offline Rukaio_Alter

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Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2015, 11:33:07 PM »
Can't go wrong with a good Big Damn Heroes moment.

I also really enjoy the trope where the main hero and villain are forced to work together against another threat. You can get so many great moments and interactions between the two if done right.
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Offline TigerBright

Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2015, 12:04:27 AM »
I'm just gonna sit down here and start counting... :)

Don't mind me, just having a bet with myself!
« Last Edit: September 11, 2015, 12:08:29 AM by TigerBright »

Offline Elfy

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Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2015, 12:57:35 AM »
There's some really good ones on the TV Tropes website, although it was started for TV it's since branched out into all forms of media.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline JMack

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Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2015, 01:06:25 AM »
So, I'm not saying this is my favorite, but the description on a site I found made me smile. Here it is, further edited by me.

Modern human, usually an American an English-speaking white Anglo-saxon, gets pulled into a fantasy world, usually a pseudo-medieval one, and manages to save the day without dying of disease or ignorance.

And I'll put forward this one (which is a trope beyond fantasy):

Evil is black and evil people are southern or eastern; while much our real world thinks white is evil, and are, er, southern or eastern

And southern or eastern relative to... whom?  :P

Sorry, probably not the intention of the OP.  :o
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Offline ClintACK

Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2015, 01:08:22 AM »
I'm not sure what the trope's called, but I love stories where the protagonist succeeds in extraordinary circumstances simply by being calm and practical and not giving up, while everyone around them is losing their heads (figuratively, that is).

A lot of the Ethshar books (Lawrence Watt-Evans) are based on this -- with a story built around standard fantasy tropes and a protagonist that is practical and reasonable and doesn't accept the fantasy trope role.

Favorite example: from "Once Upon a Time: A Treasury of Modern Fairy Tales" (DelRay 1991), Watt-Evans's story has a small isolated village fall prey to a dragon.  The dragon demands the sacrifice of a sheep every week.  Simple math tells the villagers that they aren't going to be breeding sheep fast enough to keep up, so eventually it's going to end badly.  They consult a magic oracle and send a boy on a quest to save the village.  He brings back a practical young woman who the oracle indicated would be their salvation.  The villagers, being genre-savvy, decide that they need to sacrifice the woman to the dragon because that's how it always works in the stories.  The boy frees the woman and together they gather poisonous mushrooms, fill bladders with them, and stuff them into the sheep that's being offered to the dragon.  The dragon eats the poison-filled sheep and dies. 

There's a hint of this in a lot of Discworld, too.

Offline Elfy

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Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2015, 01:31:48 AM »
So, I'm not saying this is my favorite, but the description on a site I found made me smile. Here it is, further edited by me.

Modern human, usually an American an English-speaking white Anglo-saxon, gets pulled into a fantasy world, usually a pseudo-medieval one, and manages to save the day without dying of disease or ignorance.

And I'll put forward this one (which is a trope beyond fantasy):

Evil is black and evil people are southern or eastern; while much our real world thinks white is evil, and are, er, southern or eastern

And southern or eastern relative to... whom?  :P

Sorry, probably not the intention of the OP.  :o
Jack L. Chalker used the top one to perfection in his Dancing Gods series, and he actually said that in part it was in reaction to his belief that for a number of years the genre never really seemed to progress.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Offline ArhiX

Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2015, 11:17:03 AM »
My favourite trope is "fallen hero". You know - "The one who hasn't died fast enough and now is a bad guy", or to put it simple:

"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain."


And I'm not only talking about Anakin suddenly slaying a bunch of innocent children (but most of the times I think about it as a good example) and getting nifty machine to help him overcome his asthma, but also smaller changes. Like from hero to anti-hero.
The character is changing - and not in a good way. We all love to watch how characters are changing throught the book,trilogy,series, etc. So what made them to be like this? Why this good guy in a white armor is suddenly slaying his own, good-ol papa? Why is this girl killing homeless children - she was one before.

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Offline Rostum

Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2015, 11:22:29 AM »
Quote
One of my favorites:

The girl dressed as a boy trope. No idea why, but I generally love this. A few examples: Arya in ASoIaF, Coby from Anne Lyle's The Alchemist of Souls, Cithrin in The Dragon's Path. I know I missed many more.

This is one of the oldest devices from storytelling in Europe through mummers plays and folk music to pantomime. Of course for much of this time the girls were all played by boys and this allowed some ribald humour that would not have been acceptable to the church or society in any other situation.

Offline DrNefario

Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2015, 01:15:42 PM »
There's some really good ones on the TV Tropes website, although it was started for TV it's since branched out into all forms of media.
But never go there if you want to get anything done.

Offline ClintACK

Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2015, 01:41:36 PM »
There's some really good ones on the TV Tropes website, although it was started for TV it's since branched out into all forms of media.
But never go there if you want to get anything done.

Seconded.

It's a black hole of procrastination.

Offline YordanZh

Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2015, 01:50:05 PM »
I've always loved the "Old (/ancient) master, teaching and mentoring the hero." Sure, 99% of the times it's cheesy and cliche, but I still love the trope itself. :)

Offline Rostum

Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2015, 03:24:12 PM »
How about the 'from a terrifying evil the world can only be saved by the arcane relic that someone carelessly lost (down the back of the sofa) eons ago'

Offline JMack

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Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2015, 03:35:13 PM »
How about the 'from a terrifying evil the world can only be saved by the arcane relic that someone carelessly lost (down the back of the sofa) eons ago'

which is relateed to: everything will be better for a very long - or forever - when succeed in doing one single thing.
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Offline Eclipse

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Re: Favorite Tropes??
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2015, 05:09:20 PM »
I Like

The villain who turns good

Superheroes learning their powers for the first time

The villain beating the good guys
According to some,* heroic deaths are admirable things

* Generally those who don't have to do it.Politicians and writers spring to mind

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