My Top Five Fantasy Tropes
If you have been following on my social media you might have seen that I’m adding a new series of blogs to my posts. For it, I will need your involvement. For the second Monday of every month, I will need you guys to vote on what "Top Five" topic will be covered that week. For this week, the topic most voted for is my top five fantasy tropes. It shows how cool my followers are that Disney Princesses had NO fighting chance.
Fantasy has been around for a while. If you have read Lord of the Rings, though, you have a good idea of what to expect. Only recently has there been a real effort to incorporate a variety of cultures and flavors. Because of this, there are a lot of tropes that have become staple for the Fantasy genre. Some are downright irritating, but some are pretty awesome. To each their own, of course, but here are some of my favorites.
5) Medieval European Fantasy
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that every fantasy has to be set in medieval Europe. In fact, some of my favorite fantasies (Horse and his Boy, Teeth of the Gods, Avatar the Last Airbender) happen in worlds inspired by other cultures and time periods. My CP’s fantasy book made use of muskets and cannons. It changed the whole flavor of the story just by adding those simple inventions.
Of course, none of the tropes I chose should be in every fantasy. We’d just be reading Lord of the Rings forever (and we have enough half-hearted knock-offs of that). The Medieval period is a fascinating time in our history though. Especially when you take into account accurate battle tactics, weaponry, politics, and religion and use those to inspire your world. People are pushing for more diverse fiction and I think that is great. There are a lot of amazing cultures in the world to draw inspiration from and a wealth of your own ideas to build from. That doesn’t mean that I have to leave behind my castles and armor, though!
4) Ripping off Exiting Mythology
I’ve never been a huge fan of the High Fantasy method of fantasy races. Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits...usually all predictably echoing the writer before them and, in effect, Tolkien. What I do love is when a writer takes an existing mythology (especially a really obscure one) and adds their own twist to it. The Harry Potter did an amazing job at this, particularly with the animals. C.S. Lewis also took a lot of inspiration from existing mythology, particularly Greek. Unfortunately, I don’t see it happen as much in my favorite subgenre (Epic fantasy). It is more prevalent in paranormal and urban fantasy. Speaking of mythological creatures:
Yes, it’s beyond cliche, but they aren’t going anywhere soon. Dragons are some of the most epic creatures ever invented in the mind of man. I will only ever complain about dragons when people mess them up.
2) The Lost Prince
A lot of people get sick of the lost royalty trend. I'm not. Maybe it’s because my love affair with Fantasy started with Lord of the Rings. Maybe it’s because I like a powerful protagonist. There is nothing wrong with the coming of age story, but I would prefer to get to the fighting right away without chapters of rushed, inaccurate training scenes. The best thing about the Lost Prince trope is that they are often unlikable (grumpy, angry, arrogant, or at least mopey) but are usually pretty bad ass in their own way. My dream protagonist? A lost prince who can kick butt and plan epic battles while flying on dragons. Too much? NEVER. That brings me to my absolute favorite fantasy trope:
1.) The Epic, Final Battle.
Now, this mostly falls under the “High Fantasy” or “Epic Fantasy” subgenres, but I think we all know what I’m talking about. The climax of a fantasy book is almost guaranteed to be a clash between great armies. It has become such a staple of the genre that I’m finding a growing amount of fantasy book and shows that start in the middle of a battle scene (usually not in a good way). The problem with the battle scene, whether it’s the climax or just a part of the narrative is that it’s so easy to do it wrong. That is why a well-done battle scene is one thing I will always love in my fantasy books. Do you want to hook me into your book? Do your research! Because this is my favorite trope nothing makes me cringe more that a bunch of armored men randomly rushing at each other, screaming and waving swords. If I have something that makes sense, tactically, and that plays out beautifully on the page with pinpoint accuracy: I might just cry with joy. Maybe. A little.
What do you think of the list? Are any of these on your top five (or your bottom five)? Be sure to leave a comment and let me know what your Top Five Fantasy tropes are!