My Least Favourite Fantasy Tropes

So I’ve been looking at my stats for the year lately and I’ve come to the realisation that I’ve read *a lot* of fantasy in 2017. A lot a lot. And yet, as much as I clearly love fantasy, over the years there have been some sticking points for me. That’s why I thought it was about time I did a fantasy tropes post where I talk about some of the things I like least about the genre. And, just in case anyone thinks I’m going after specific authors, along with examples, I’ll be talking candidly about mistakes I made as a younger writer (though god-I-hope never anything like that last one). Let’s get started, shall we?

  1. mushu trampledDragons that are just giant lizards– or anything that tramples over dragonlore. I don’t know if I’m the only one that gets shirty about the representation of dragons in fantasy- but mannnn I’ve seen some dragons that read as stroppy teenagers (Talon), dragons that are little more than lizard people (Seraphina), dragons that can’t breathe so much as a noxious gas…. Okay maybe that last one’s not so important, yet I do have high standards for my dragons, so I’m not particularly crazy about it when they turn out to be lousy (except in discworld, where they are epically lousy). One thing I have learned is that labelling something a dragon does not make it a dragon.

 

  1. dr evil 2Mr Evil– yup one of my least favourite tropes is the obviously evil villain with zero motivations for his/her actions (oh let’s face it, it’s nearly always male) JUST GIVE THEM A GOOD MOTIVE GAH!! And make them three dimensional for heaven’s sake! Also, while we’re on the subject “born evil” doesn’t work for me- I find the best villains take a dark path by choice and have that possibility of redemption (basically Darth Vader is awesome)

 

  1. everyone i don't like is hitler“I think you’re a Nazi baby, are you a Nazi?”– Basically evil organisations that are supposed to be Nazi-esque yet aren’t all that scary or motivated by the same sort of ideas, but whatever, here’s the paraphernalia, that’ll do. This comes back to me hating lame-ass villains. I’m also not keen on the “everyone I hate is Hitler” bandwagon or hanging on the coattails of true evil to imply the baddies really are bad. It’s not good enough to just whip out the “fascist” label like in Lord of Shadows. If you wanna write a holocaust book/something really dark, go for it- no half-assed attempts.

 

  1. do you want some expositionNeedless exposition– The “I’ve done loads of work on world building so you need to read *ALL OF IT*” trope. Seriously, if it’s not plot expedient, cut it out. It’s just boring and it’s why I quit the Wheel of Time series after just one book. Which leads me onto…

 

  1. are we there yetPointless meandering about– this is what I like to call book travelling syndrome. Annnd I will admit, I coined the phrase specifically because it’s something I struggled with early as a writer (and still do to an extent). The problem arises from the simple thought process: “they’ll wander about, have adventures, it’ll be a blast”. What you end up with is not good. There are so few books that manage to pull this off (aka The Neverending Story) and yet it’s unreal how often this turns up in fantasy. I will admit, I always sympathise with the writers for this one 😉 (even if it’s still boring as eff to read)

 

  1. gollum scaredRipping off Tolkien– do I need to explain why this is bad? Before people get mad, I will say that borrowing is a natural part of writing and this is a tricky area to navigate, so take everything I’m about to say with a grain of salt. This is a question of how much does this resemble Lord of the Rings. I don’t mind the odd elf, but maybe cool it on the orcs, hobbits, dragons, dwarves, ents etc. I’ll *hold my hands up* as guilty writer again- when I first started out I had a fair number of these (this is unintentionally turning into a what-I-did-as-a-teen writer confession piece 😉 ). But I grew up and realised *whoa I can do other things*. And it’s not just the copycat creatures. I’ve read whole books where I’ve genuinely thought c’mon this is just Lord of the Rings. An original plot point or two wouldn’t hurt. Speaking of which…

 

  1. the-one.gifThe *Chosen One*– especially if there’s a prophecy attached. This is something I’m sick of most of all, because it is literally done to death at this point. It was even shoehorned into a Peter Pan movie recently and Throne of Glass looks like it’s headed in that direction. Ironically, any play on the trope and I’m instantly in love with the book (you guys know how much I love Carry On, right?). If it turns up in a serious capacity… *groan*.

 

  1. dumbledoreThe Dumbledore– every hero needs a mentor- but why-oh-why must some parents/teachers withhold vital plot information because *reasons*- even if knowing it earlier could save the hero’s life!! For some reason they figure it’s better to hear this from the antagonist or something??? I never understood this one to be honest- it seems like a pointless way to build tension- when really it could be solved by the mentor not knowing all the secrets. (And for older followers, yes, I mentioned this in my YA Tropes post– it still really bothers me). And when it comes to useless tension, there’s nothing like…

 

  1. boromir deathThe *not dead yet* trick– I have a love-hate relationship with this one, because it’s something that can work if done well (all the different narrators in Game of Thrones mean that we’re often on shaky ground when it comes to who’s alive and who’s dead) BUT I feel like this can so easily suck and is something I see overused in YA. The biggest problem is if the character doesn’t matter or if it literally showed they got a ton of arrows to chest Boromir-style and just HOW?!? 

 

  1. FrankswordThe magical sword or any magical weapon really that’s given too much power– you know, the *special* sword, or the only arrow that can possibly kill a dragon, or the one ring (okay not that last one). I actually feel bad for all the magical swords that are attached to the hero and by proxy make them look good. What gets to me even more is how often these turn up in the most convenient of places, like tombs that for some reason were never raided, even though they stood in a deserted landscape for millennia- someone clearly never looked at archaeological history.

 

  1. pocohantus savages.gifThe “oh look savages!” trope– I debated over whether/how to put this on the list- but there’s no way to sugarcoat it and you all know what I’m talking about anyway. There is some seriously dodgy stuff in old fantasy- particularly from the 80s I believe- where there’s this kind of tribal tourism going on. I want to say, in fairness to the authors, there’s often this “surprise, they’re people!” moment (no shit Sherlock) which always makes me think the authors are seriously trying to be progressive… only trouble is, it was the eighties, it’s about as progressive as a spinning wheel in the 21st century.

Okaaay on that note- do any of you agree with me? Disagree? Have any of your own hated fantasy tropes to add? Let me know in the comments!

147 thoughts on “My Least Favourite Fantasy Tropes

  1. Great list! All these things need to be ELIMINATED from good stories or (better still, hee hee…. lampooned…) The “too much like LOTR” trope always bugs me. There’s a lot of it about. I remember reading “Sword of Shannara”, which was an essentially identical plot, and thinking that it read like somebody had re-run LOTR as a D&D game and written down the results. Urgh! And I also have to wonder, apropos that Dumbledore problem of ‘information withholding’ – how would Robert Heinlein have handled it, had he been writing Harry Potter instead of Rowling? I’m thinking the dozen ‘juvenile’ novels he wrote in the 1950s which, essentially, match Rowling’s ‘coming of age’ theme.

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    1. Thank you!! hehehe oh yes definitely! Yes I completely agree- I found that with the first Feist book I read too and Robert Jordan. A lot of these end up blurring into one after a while. That’s an interesting question- I don’t know that author, but in my experience, it’s not necessary for a coming of age story to have a character who knows all the answers in order for them to be a mentor figure. I mean, in Neverending Story again, there are lots of figures who offer guidance (and even a godlike character) but the point is that Bastian has to learn things on his own, the hard way.

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  2. So the three that make me crazier (though all do to some extent) . . . in no real order are dragons, mr. evil, and wandering. There were several books I abandoned for those reasons – talon (dragon), like a boss (mr. evil), and the reader (wandering). I hate hate hate wandering in the woods, city, galaxy whatever where nothing happens but indecision. The reader even had a pirate subplot and I just couldn’t take it anymore. So lovely post. Publishers and writers take note! Avoid!
    x The Captain

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  3. Oh I love this post, I’ve seen a few that talk about favourite fantasy tropes but not really any that have spoke about the least favourite. I agree with you on the “Chosen One” one, I loved Carry On as well as any book that plays on the trope but I’d love to see more characters who haven’t been “Chosen” but who are just pulled into the adventure you know? Also I love books that feature dragons, but they need to be dragons, so that would be one of my least favourite tropes list as well. 🙂
    Great post! 😀 ❤

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  4. I recommend you read Terry Brooks’ Shannara Series (joking).

    Fantasy is probably my favorite genre and I agree with everything in this article! Love the one about dragons… just give us a real dragon haha!

    The worst one for me is the “farmboy becomes magical hero” trope. It has been done to death but fantasy authors are still grabbing their spades and are trying to dig the corpse up from its grave. Sometimes the magic that fixes all problems is annoying too.

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    1. Have you ever read ‘Baker’s Boy’ by J.V. Jones?

      That book had almost every bad fantasy trope I could think of 😀 I didn’t even finish it, so I don’t know if it ever got better. But I still remember it for being so awful.

      And then the same author wrote this really cool series called ‘A Sword of Shadows’ which I really enjoy. Glad I didn’t give up!

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      1. Yeah. The thing is even good writes can decide to use bad tropes. That’s why I don’t necessarily write-off books or authors that use them as sometimes their writing and other things in the book can make it worthwhile.

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    2. hahaha I was considering reading those… think I might have to pass now, after the comments I’m getting 😉

      hahaha I’m the same!

      Oh gosh yes- I one hundred percent agree with you there!! hahaha love that image!! And yes that definitely bothers me too!

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  5. Dragons, yes. I don’t know why everybody feels to need to throw a dragon into the story like if you’re going to do it, please god don’t half ass it cause dragons are too cool for that! Pointless meandering, yep. One of the reasons I’ve cut back on how much YA I read because it drives me insane. Can we please get to the point explosively and not boringly??? The Chosen one, uuuuuuuuuuuuugh! Super over that! Although the book I’m reading right now sort of has that but it’s like not the same cause there’s just so much more dynamic going on all over the realm and she’s not even an Alpha, she’s a Beta. Before I digress….. Dead not dead. I could strangle authors for that one. I really hate that people feel the need to wow me cause someone who should have died isn’t really dead and the worst part is I can usually predict it so that just makes it 1000x worse! I mean if you’re going to go that route at least try really hard to add SOME surprise. The powerful weapon thats too powerful. One of the reasons I docked a star for A Court of Wings and Ruin. The cauldron whatever the fuck killed the book ending for me. I won’t go into detail for that either hahaha. (I’m about to write you a book at this rate). ANYWAY! As you can clearly see, I agree with majority of your points and this post was awesome, haha.

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    1. Hahaha I know!!! I’m the same- I mean, I’ll pick up a book specifically cos it has dragons in it and then I’ll get *so* disappointed! Hehehe I totally agree!! Hahah I know- the Chosen One is shoved into *every* story and just WHY. I don’t think it’s ever been the best way to bring a character into a story- cos to my mind the best heroes have always been the ones that ended up there by chance, you know? But I love twists on it- so anything like that actually makes me interested. So it’s a weird thing with me- like if someone’s the chosen one and not supposed to be, or they’re a crap chosen one 😉 hahaha yes!! I so agree- oh my goodness YES I did that for ACOWAR too- it was a great book but I knew he wasn’t dead and that whole cauldron thing was silly, especially cos she’d already done that plot point in book one. Hahaha don’t worry, I filled in the gaps 😉 I know exactly what you’re talking about 😉 haha thank you!

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  6. This list is great and I agree with all of them–especially about the dragons. I’ve loved dragons my whole life. They were my version of the stereotypical girl loves horses trope. However, when they are done poorly, it’s super disappointing.

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    1. That’s totally my three year old daughter! She’s obsessed, and I don’t even have the heart to crush her dreams by telling her there are no dragons in this world!

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  7. Great list! I rarely DNF books, but when I do, it’s usually a fantasy book that has one of these issues. For me a corollary to the “Chosen One” that makes it even worse is when the Chosen One acts like a sulky self-centered brat who has to be constantly tricked and chivied into doing the right thing.

    Another trope that I find incredibly annoying (and this one is frequently attached to the “Chosen One” too) is the protagonist who is just plain stupid. He/she (but usually he) fails to understand the most basic implications when he learns something new, can’t draw simple conclusions that are glaringly obvious to anyone over the age of 10, and/or makes self-destructive decisions against all common sense for no obvious reason other than the author needs to generate some action or suspense.

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    1. Thank you! I understand that- I’m terrible at DNFing, but these make me want to quit for sure. Ah yes, that’s irritating.

      hehe oh yes I hate that too- what I’ve seen in a lot of YA as well are stupid characters that are called clever for some reason and I just don’t understand why they’re supposed to be smart (I guess cos the writer told us they passed a maths test earlier?) But yes, and they’re completely unobservant to boot (at least in my experience of stupid main characters 😉 )

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  8. Great post and I think I agree with most of them. My most hated is probably the chosen one and Dumbledore. It’s just been done to death. I’m probably less fussy about my dragons (I liked Talon). I only object if the dragons are baddies.

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  9. Every hero needs a mentor- but why-oh-why must some parents/teachers withhold vital plot information because *reasons*- even if knowing it earlier could save the hero’s life!!

    Yeah. That one bugs me too for surE!! Really? You knew exactly what the heroine was and what she can do and what she must do but she needs to ‘figure it out for herself’ while the demons chase??? I get you! 😜

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  10. Oh, I agree with so many of those!!

    I can’t stand Tolkien copies, I mean I was already bored by the original! (shame on me 😉 ). But if I see elves and orcs and dwarfs, I run. Very fast.

    ‘The Chosen One’ is okay, for me, if it’s not in combination with other tropes like ‘The Dumbledore’ and/or ‘The Magic Weapon’ and the not really dying/Gandalf-trope^^
    And also only, if the chosen one is not a farm-boy, baker’s boy or lost son of the King who cries and whinges all the time.

    I can take all of those, if they are not overdone and bad clichees are not piling up.

    I am a big fan of motives for the bad guy!!!

    And dragons should always be presented as awesome! Gosh, I just remembered Discworld dragons when you mentioned it. Hahaha, they are definitely an exception!

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    1. haha no worries- my sister doesn’t like the original either 😉 hahaha yes!! I’m the same- especially orcs- cos they’re a Tolkien invention- so just whhhyy???

      hehehehe fair enough!! LOL!! Yeah when it’s all of the above *it’s bad*. But I’m willing to concede that I’ll take literally *any* twist on the trope at this point- so I can be open minded on it. But usually… it’s just lame 😉

      Yes!! I *need* my baddies to be bad for a reason!!

      Yes!! haha I know right 😉

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    2. Seriously! No elves? What about dark elves, Norse style? I’m writing a series/trilogy/whatever that is heavily inspired by Norse mythology (heathen here!), and it is all based in Álfheimr and Svartálfheimr. But no orcs. Dwarves only feature in a small way. Definitely no hobbits, but there will be a dragon. And the spawn of the monstrous wolf Fenrir, but also to a lesser degree. What ruins a dragon for most dragon lovers?

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  11. I Love that you call these your least favorite fantasy tropes Orangutan because I don’t think there are ANY BAD tropes… There are some DONE to death but they aren’t bad… for every done to death trope I find an exception where I really LOVE how it is used… Here’s the problem writers think THEY are the exception to the rule… What we really ought to do (and I include myself in this group) is to create some badass UNIQUE characters in a familiar but different world and allow those characters to come across conflict naturally! This makes for some really good story… ❤ (GAH! I so agree with the chosen one trope especially but also weird non-dragons and reading something and knowing immediately it is a fill in the blank copy of a popular book!)

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    1. Oh I *love* this comment!! And I totally agree!! I’m big on exceptions to the rule, so even as I was writing this I was trying to balance it with points about how literally *everything* on this list can be done well. But *yes* we (and totally putting myself in that group too) need to just focus on the unique side of our writing. (hehe oh gosh I so agree!!)

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  12. I agree with these! Other tropes I dislike in fantasy books are the characters looking polished after trekking through a bog, the male character who has to go to a brothel for his coming-of-age, serious injuries sustained which are never referred to again and the ‘hidden royalty’ trope.
    Would cringe to read back some of the things I wrote when younger…

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  13. Lol….this post made me laugh so much as it is truly very relatable. There are so many things here that I have often gotten annoyed at as well: like for instance the not dead yet trick lol. That said, I still love the fantasy genre. I myself have this year read way too little in the genre, having spent more time in the future. Next year I plan to change all that and delve back into the fantasy genre which quite honestly I love more. As always a very and highly entertaining post to read 😊

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  14. OMG all of these. Especially the “Surprise not really dead!” one and the bad villains! I was so mad at the end of ACOWAR. It would have been a much better ending if SOMEONE had actually died. It made me mad. There was no purpose.

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  15. Sometimes the ‘not-yet-died’ can be a good plot twist if followed by logical explanation. Though I dont mind if a character has to die, I will cry, rage and curse the author, but in the end I would move on to the next ones (theoritically).

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    1. One hundred percent agree! Like I said, it’s done really well in Game of Thrones, so I wouldn’t rule it out. But I’m also okay with the character dying (well, also raging and screaming, but okayish 😉 ) I think the problem is more when I don’t care either way cos the character made no impact. Seems silly to bring them back from the dead then (I think that happened to me in Snow Like Ashes a few years ago)

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  16. I agree so much with some of these! Especially with regards to the people being-dead-not-being-dead-oh-wait-they’re-dead-oh-no-they’re-not. And the chosen one needs to take a rest. I couldn’t get past page 100 in “Eragon” because I was like, “This guy just took Lord of the Rings and threw dragons in!” And, yeah, terrible dragons are JUST TERRIBLE. (Except, like you said, for the adorable swamp dragons of Discworld, because part of their charm is being rubbish at all the usual dragon things!)

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    1. I’m glad!! Oh gosh yes!! I completely agree!! Like I said, it can work, but most of the time I didn’t care that the character was dead… so why bring them back? Especially if it’ll be illogical! Ah I totally get that- I felt the same way about Eragon (it didn’t get better btw) hehehe I know right- Pratchett is always the exception to the rule 😉 Swamp dragons are actually some of my favourite dragons in books!

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  17. I think for me it’s more how things are written into a story than picking out any particular trope that bothers me. What may work in one book won’t necessarily work well in another in my opinion.

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  18. You’ve hit the nail on the head with all these tropes. As an avid epic fantasy reader, number 4 with the “Needless Exposition” drives me nuts! It’s like, yes yes yes, let’s just get on with the story! World-building is an essential part of the genre, but too much of it also hurts more than helps. I think debut authors are the ones who struggle with this the most.

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  19. Ripping off LotR really bothers me. Let’s face it. LotR is better than your LotR rip-off, so I’m just going to read that instead. Be original if you want me to stick through 1000 pages with you.

    I’d also like to add the “smart aleck thief.” Mouthing off at people with juvenile insults doesn’t make you clever. It makes you foolish. And I can’t fathom why no one in this world has not yet just thrown you into a cell to rot or somehow otherwise ensured you can spend the rest of your life reflecting on how petty mockery doesn’t make you equal in power to the people who actually hold power in your world.

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  20. The Tolkien Rip off is the worst…it has come to the point where I just don’t even try to read a book that mentions orcs, elves and dwarves…we have other mythological creatures as well! Part of that problem is probably that we get far too many western fantasy books. I’ve been trying to find some non western fantasy and even after hours of searching I only have a handful…

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  21. Wonderful post 🙂 yeah, I’m also really tired of the chosen one trope (not just in fantasy, but overall). You know what else I’m tired of it fantasy? Listing 50 names of kings or gods that are from an imaginary mythology that I don’t know, nor will it be explained to me… basically just empty name throwing. Ugh. Fantasy does that a lot! It gets me every time xD

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  22. Pointless meandering and needless exposition are the bane of my existence! There are so many fantasy books that would be far shorter if only they would cut those parts out! And I’ve always believed that a hero is only as good as his villain so making the bad guy a one dimensional loser is one of the worst things you can do. Also, the savages! That’s been gaining a lot of popularity in YA lately and it needs to stop. It’s honestly just offensive at this point, considering that the “savages” are almost always foreigners and the “civilized people” are always white.

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    1. hehehe I so agree!! YES! And you know, it wouldn’t be so bad if they shaved an unnecessary couple of hundred pages off 😉 Yes- you’re so right!! Oh dear- I’ve seen it a lot in older fantasy- but yeah, it needs to stop. It’s like surely you can tell this is not good?

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  23. I’ve never really thought about these tropes but once I read this post I was like ooooh right! I’ve seen that in fantasy books! 😆 I think this is part of the reason why the more you read, the harder it is to find a book that you absolutely love. I find that I start finding similarities between books that decrease the originality of what I’m reading because I’ve already found something similar in another novel. I suppose this makes every unique book that we find even more worth reading though? I enjoyed reading your post! 😊

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  24. Yes I have to agree with pretty much all of these! I think I can stomach the Chosen One trope though, and end up liking it IF it’s done correctly, which pretty much is that the character isn’t a Mary sue/Gary stu.

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  25. aRgH the chosen one tropes are the worst tbh like it was cool the first time but now?? no please and thank you (CARRY ON WAS AMAZING THOUGH)

    the others are also pretty true and on point, especially the mr. evil one: the villains are people too?? they have their own motivations, their own gains?? why would they choose to do something just because “it’s bad”?? they probably think that what they’re doing is right so why can’t you show us some of that????

    great post btw ❤

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  26. I probably don’t read nearly enough fantasy to feel so strongly on a lot of these, but I can still sympathize a bit. The one that really bugs me is the Dumbledore thing. Doesn’t matter if it’s a fantasy story or not. Whenever someone is withholding information just to create contrived tension is REALLY irksome to me. The whole “Do they have a plan, don’t they have a plan?” kind of thing, where they just aren’t telling the other characters what the plan is. So. Lame.

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    1. Damn it- WP hates me lately.. commenting is just a lucky game lately… anyway, where was I?
      Oh yes… the Chosen One… it feels like a bit of a lazy plot tool… or maybe it really is just so overdone that when the Chosen One appears, eyes roll! hehehe..

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  27. Absolutely genius, this post! I think I’m slowly seeing some of these tropes as I start to grow my number of fantasy books read, but… I also see these A LOT in movies/shows!!! I also find the chosen one trope childish now… Although sometimes it’s a guilty pleasure. And wow… lame dragons… I’ll hate the book pretty quickly if I run into one of those. And zero-dimension villains?! If they aren’t interesting, you’re already losing 80% of your readers!!!! 😛 Again, brilliant post. Covered so many tropes, it’s crazy how you conjure these posts!

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    1. hehe thank you!! 😀 Ahh I know right!! I definitely see them everywhere- including the chosen one- which for some reason is turning up across genres now and just WHY??! (I believe that was the premise of the new peter pan movie *face palms*) Ah yes I completely agree!! Thank you so much!! 😀

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  28. So… my book has the “chosen one” and pays homage to Tolkien. I guess that means you’re going to love it! 😀 I also enjoy love triangles, don’t know why people tend to hate them so much.

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  29. Completely agree on all of the above, especially the Tolkien rip-off point. Also, is it me or are there just too many dragons in modern fantasy literature? It seems every fantasy author seems compelled to include dragons regardless. Also, call me old-fashioned, but I’m a bit sick of the modern-day obsession with making said giant lizards into likeable characters. It was okay for a while, but now its a bit silly. I want to go back to the old days (e.g. Beowulf) when dragons were gigantic ‘shit-your-pants-oh-crap-I’m-going-to-be-barbecued’ monsters.

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  30. First of all, ,I *love* your blog name. Second, I like your list, though I don’t necessarily agree in every particular. (I loved the dragons in Seraphina, for instance.) And of course, it always depends on how well a particular trope is written/used. I mean, they’re tropes in part because they work. Third, I’m adding your blog to those I follow. 🙂

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  31. Haha! I really love this list! Honestly, I agree with basically everything you touched on. Especially, the silly magical weapons thing. I love fantasy, it’s my favourite genre, and magic is wonderful and all, but what I don’t like is when it’s overused. A lot of YA fantasy are like that, without being well thought out. I’ll forgive the Harry Potter series for this, simply because they were written for children, and one of a kind. But since my preference is epic fantasy, too much magic just ruins it for me.
    Btw, Discworld is freaking amazing! The exploding dragons are hilarious! 😂

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    1. hehe thank you!! hehe yes 😉 Me too, and I do love magic, but things can get a bit out of hand 😉 I can forgive a lot of world building to be fair and I’m not too strict about it in general- it really is just the magical hoards that I tend to find a bit more iffy a lot of the time. HP, to my mind, has great world building 😉 (like I said, I don’t generally mind that stuff) But I get that.
      hahaha so true!!! 😂😂

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      1. Yeah, Harry Potter was great, despite it’s many small flaws. At least it was always entertaining and some of the characters were really intricate. Snape was my favourite! Haha! I’m coming up on a couple run ins with a dragon in my book, and stressing over how to do it right, because, like you said, dragons are so cool and I don’t want to disappoint with a lame dragon. And the fight against it needs to be stellar!

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          1. So, what makes it feel like a dragon? For me, Smaug was good, but the game of thrones dragons were even better, in my opinion, because they were more like beasts.

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            1. Well this is just my personal opinion, so make what you will of it- but I’m fine with either Smaug or GOT types (honestly love Smaug best 😉 ) or it can be a twist on that- it’s just it should probably reflect at least one mythological interpretation of a dragon. I heard somewhere it’s like an imagistic representation of all predators- so if it’s not remotely predatory, that’s a problem for instance. But it also hoards gold- so there’s a positive side as well. Basically, I like the incorporation of mythology. And I also think it should be distinctly not human (which is open to interpretation)

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  32. As you pointed out, number six is extremely tricky. I would like to know if you were to put someone in a room and never have them read Tolkien, but give them a bunch of Norse mythology books to read and then tell them to write something similar about their own world, would it end up looking a lot like Tolkien? My point is, it’s amazing how people can all share so many similar ideas. Even mythology from around the world shares so many similarities. Moving onto the others points, issues like chosen ones, magic objects, and wise mentors, are hard to avoid because they are ingrained in the human pysche, being a part of the human condition. Nothing is original. The wise mentor, the chosen one, the magical object, all go back into mythology from around the world. That said, yes, there is blatant rip offs. One of my favorite fantasy writer’s first books is terrible because it felt like he was trying to copy Tolkien, but his second book was wonderful, feeling original, and thus becoming one of my favorite fantasy novels.

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    1. There are similarities in what I’m writing to Tolkien’s world, but only because he based his middle earth upon Norse mythology, and mine is actually set in other realms of Norse mythology. So, that’s a great analogy. I’m certainly not trying to imitate. I just want to have a bit of fun with my favourite branch of mythology. 😉

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      1. It’s funny you bring that up, Jessica, because Tolkien’s love of mythology inspired me to read not just the Norse myths that influenced him, but mythology from all over the world. While I noticed many similarities, a scholar who really hit it home when talking about said similarities was Joseph Campbell in his book “The Hero With a Thousand Faces.” Anyway, I would love to read your work sometime, Jessica.

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        1. That’s awesome. For me it was the reverse. I was a mythology but as a kid, though admittedly with very limited and mediocre resources. So, when I finally figured out the hobbit wasn’t just a crappy cartoon that I saw once and hated as a kid, and actually read the books, it was wonderful! I’ve never read anything by Joseph Campbell. Since joined WordPress, I’ve come across so many new names and titles of the fantasy genre that I’d never heard of before! Lol! There’s now so much to read that I hardly know where to begin!
          If you’re interested in checking out what I’m working on, there’s quite a bit posted on my blog. If you get around to wading through it, I’d love to hear your thoughts. 😃

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    2. That’s true that nothing’s original and I always said that there’s exceptions to every rule (not to plug my own stuff, just sayin 😉 ) But I also think that a lot of things can be similar, without being the exact. same. thing. There have been points where I’ve read books that are, like you’ve mentioned, too reminiscent of Tolkien, and I’ve just thought they could tone it down a bit.

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