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Penguinball

Fantasy Loves and Pet Peeves - Defense Edition

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There's been topics about things that bug us in the fantasy genre before, but I wanted to do a slightly different take on it. Instead of just listing things we don't like, and why, I also want you to list a fantasy trend (trope, plot device, etc etc) that a lot of people dislike that you LOVE, and defend it. I want to hear why you think love triangles are awesome, or that the chosen one farm boy isn't overdone.

For example, I haaaaate it when authors play with sibling relationships, love stories where there's fake outs about whether two characters are related or not, or they were raised as siblings, or adopted, and fall in love anyway. Just feels incesty even when it isn't (looking at you Mortal Instruments). Maybe that's a tough one to defend, but I'm all ears!

One trope I do love that gets a lot of hate is enemies to lovers. When done poorly, or when there is a power imbalance involved it can feel like an abusive relationship, but when its two equals who start out disliking each other, but grow to understand and care...oh man, I love that trope. I love it because it increases tension, the 'will they/won't they' question. It also usually has a nice bit of chemistry, so it feels compelling.

So to recap:
1. Tell us about a trope you dislike, and why
2. Tell us about a disliked trope you love, and why its not that bad
3. If someone above hates a trope you love, defend it! Explain why it deserves a second look (while remaining polite, defend without being defensive)

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And this is the topic I thought would get attention. Come on people, I know there's some tropes out there that bug you! What are your opinions on the most contentious ones?

  • The Chosen One
  • Convenient Prophecies
  • Medieval European setting
  • Horses are motorcycles
  • Black and white morality (evil overlord vs pure farmboy)
  • Cliche fantasy races (elves and dwarves ripped straight from Lord of the Rings)
  • The Common Tongue (everyone speaks the same language everywhere, how convenient)
  • There's only one girl in the group, and 'she's not like other girls'

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Honestly, most of the tropes I really hate are the ones that are generally on their way out.

And I don't know enough of what tropes are "commonly" hated enough to pick one I like to defend.

As much as I like tropes, I didn't have much to say to this particular frame work.  I'm sorry.

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I guess some people dislike prophecies, but I like them. I rarely use them, but I like to read them as long as they are handled in a clever way. The prophecy in Harry Potter was kind of meh (in the movies at least...didn't read the books).

 

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On 6/14/2019 at 9:19 PM, Penguinball said:

There's been topics about things that bug us in the fantasy genre before, but I wanted to do a slightly different take on it. Instead of just listing things we don't like, and why, I also want you to list a fantasy trend (trope, plot device, etc etc) that a lot of people dislike that you LOVE, and defend it. I want to hear why you think love triangles are awesome, or that the chosen one farm boy isn't overdone.

For example, I haaaaate it when authors play with sibling relationships, love stories where there's fake outs about whether two characters are related or not, or they were raised as siblings, or adopted, and fall in love anyway. Just feels incesty even when it isn't (looking at you Mortal Instruments). Maybe that's a tough one to defend, but I'm all ears!

One trope I do love that gets a lot of hate is enemies to lovers. When done poorly, or when there is a power imbalance involved it can feel like an abusive relationship, but when its two equals who start out disliking each other, but grow to understand and care...oh man, I love that trope. I love it because it increases tension, the 'will they/won't they' question. It also usually has a nice bit of chemistry, so it feels compelling.

So to recap:
1. Tell us about a trope you dislike, and why
2. Tell us about a disliked trope you love, and why its not that bad
3. If someone above hates a trope you love, defend it! Explain why it deserves a second look (while remaining polite, defend without being defensive)

1) I don't tend to seek out love triangles and so on as plot points. I don't mind them as character backdrops but for it to be a key thing ... too romance-y. Excessive "Only Royals Matter" type narratives are a little tired also. I am interested in the average person in the street making their way through fantasy dragon land, not an identikit parade of disposable princesses. Excessively low fantasy - basically a normal drama with some minor fantastical element - is also not my thing, but then again I have known it to work for me. Depends on the quality of the underlying drama.

2) I actually like most standard fantasy tropes. Left-justified fantasy map, prophecy, chosen one - you name them, I genuinely quite like them, which is why I like fantasy. I don't also really know which tropes are disliked, so it's kind of hard to answer. The sheer amount of tropes in general make it hard to really pin myself down to a few - I guess there's only room in my mind for about 3 tropes in one go 🙂 I'm reading the Inheritance Cycle currently (me and my daughter are both geeking out about it) and it's Trope City - chosen one, Nordic world, dragon telepathy, sexy elf, geographically impossible rivers/when in doubt draw a mountain range, subterrean alcoholic dwarves, mystery lands to the east, the whole bit. It is highly derivative, but very enjoyable nonetheless. I admit it; I like most tropes!

2) The only trope that's been disliked is more of a romance one, and I share that feeling. Well - not so much dislike, but more like ... not a huge amount of interest.

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OK so this isn't entirely fantasy based, but most tropes mentioned here aren't and I just watched a show with it in so I'm pissed. 

Miscommunication! As a plot device! It sucks! The classic "do this or I kill your loved one! And tell no one else!" springs to mind. Usually the villain has no way to tell if the character tells anyone, and yet the character plays long even if they know that!

Situations where just taking two second to think but people can't because ~~plot~~ are just so terrible. And so common. The excuse that the characters are scared and desperate only goes so far and then it's just frustrating when you find yourself shouting at the characters for every decision they make.

Onto tropes I don't mind, the one that spring to mind is the main character being an orphan. While it can be lazy, I get why so many writers do it. It's easier to say the parents are dead and that's why the character can do whatever they want rather than having to try to deal with things like responsibility outside the plot. It can be lazy but it's not always bad. The plot trope of the characters being sent on a quest to defeat the evil/find the macguffin/get groceries I think is very fun even though I've seen people complaining about it. It's simple, but there are ways to make it fun and it's classic for a reason. 

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1 hour ago, SecretRock said:

Onto tropes I don't mind, the one that spring to mind is the main character being an orphan. While it can be lazy, I get why so many writers do it. It's easier to say the parents are dead and that's why the character can do whatever they want rather than having to try to deal with things like responsibility outside the plot. It can be lazy but it's not always bad. 

There's a certain practical sense to using orphans.  Not just the freedom, but they're generally far less content, so they're more likely to want to run away, end up in trouble, change the status quo, etc.  People with good family home lives that aren't disrupted are less likely to end up in an adventure worth talking about.  At least, that's my interpretation of things.

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