Fantasy Tropes: My Favorites and Least Favorite Exceptions

Tropes… We love them, we hate them, we can’t live without them. For most tropes, the success or failure of that trope depends on the author. I certainly have favorites but some of my most despised tropes have their exceptions. Without further ado… 

My top 5 favorite tropes: 

  1. The end-of-story epic battle: When the last 100 pages include an epic battle, my opinion of that book skyrockets. Some of my absolute favorite books include an end-of-story epic battle. The stakes are high, your favorite characters’ lives are on the line, vengeance is within eyesight, and you can’t seem to read fast enough. 

Examples:
Any Stormlight Archive book – but Oathbringer is the best
Wrath from The Faithful and the Fallen

  1. The epic, magical world: I’m a huge fan of epic worlds with well-thought-out magic systems. The author has put tremendous thought into the history, culture, and landscape of the world and that level of detail makes you feel fully enveloped in the story. 

Examples:
The Lord of the Rings
The Stormlight Archive

  1. The mentor: Give. Me. A. Mentor! I love any and all mentors. The grumpier, the better. 

Examples:
Gar from The Faithful and the Fallen
Bayaz from The First Law Trilogy
Burrich from The Farseer Trilogy 
Grend from The Bloodsworn Saga

  1. Random horror: For me, moments of random horror typically unite me to the main character and emotionally attach me to the storyline. These moments can also raise the stakes in the story by adding serious potential consequences for our main characters. 

Examples:
The Fifth Season from The Broken Earth Trilogy

  1. The fellowship: I love a band of heroes. It typically allows for comic relief and moments of respite from the intensity of the storyline. If there’s a sarcastic, witty member of the group, even better! 

Examples:
The Faithful and the Fallen
Bridge Four from The Stormlight Archive
The First Law
The Bloodsworn Saga

The exceptions to my despised tropes: 
Caution: Spoilers Ahead!

  1. Secret royalty: When the heir to the throne was unknowingly with you the whole time! 

The exception: Last Argument of Kings from The First Law
That scene had me truly laughing out loud. I think it was Glokta and Ferro’s reactions that really set this secret royalty trope apart from the rest.

  1. Poor/Misleading communicator: When a character is unable or unwilling to clearly say something and causes an issue

The exception: Hoid from The Stormlight Archive and Fool from The Farseer Trilogy 
Am I missing something or do Fools not fall into this category? The Fools are often my favorite characters because of their nonsensical chatter. 

  1. Resurrection: Your favorite character has died… or not. 

The exception: Words of Radiance from The Stormlight Archive
Technically this character never died but was believed to be dead. (If you don’t find a body, can you be sure they are dead?)

Anywho! What are some of your favorite and least favorite tropes? Have you read a book that takes a terrible trope and manages to pull it off? 

Published by Caroline

Avid reader, board gamer, yogi, and photographer.

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