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Favorite/Least Favorite Fantasy Tropes?


I suppose a good writer can pull off any trope in such a way, you won't mind the trope being a trope. That aside, chosen ones with no agency other than being the chosen one, and prophecies which are basically the author saying "this happens because plot", and first installments in a series where not a single plot thread comes to some sort of satisfying conclusion. I can live with a cliffhanger ending, maybe, but give me at least one arch where I can say, yes, that was tied up nicely.



For me the thing I hate most about a lot of recent fantasy is the whole Grimdark thing. And I absolutely hate the rationale behind it - that it's just so much more real. It's not. It's just a reaction to the old theme of heroic fantasy - which is better in my view, but still comes with major issues. (Though of course I loved it in my younger days! Times change and I grew older and a little more cynical.)

What I prefer is the more people are just damned people approach. Maybe there are a few saints here and there. A few monsters. But most are just your average Joe's in a fantasy setting. I mean just look at your neighbors. They're not all waiting to rush out and conk you over the head and steal everything when the cops are away. And they're not all going to be wading into glorious battle to protect orphans when a biker gang arrives in town. Heroes should have some clay feet. Monsters some finer moments. And all should be given reasons for being who they are or believing in what they do.

Cheers, Greg
I think lot of grimdark is comically unrealistic and some fans will tell you with a smug attitude everything else is too "naive".
So, dark and horror fantasy works the best for me, when the protagonists / important main characters are not sociopaths to be more "realistic" and the circumstances around them are dark. Therefore I loved the Witcher und Attack on Titan, although I hated Eren more and more in the last one.
Least favorite: "body-snatcher" trope, because I've never seen it done well.
There is almost ALWAYS the option of the evil body snatcher just hopping bodies/taking different characters forms and straight up murder-killing everyone in the whole story using the several second pause it would take anyone to figure out that it isn't the person they thought it was.
But no, they always just kill that one sacrificial character that everyone knew was going to die, then somehow get caught, if they don't do some plot-silly stuff like "kiss the wrong person AS the wrong person" first.

Favorite? I thing unexpectedly super powerful very old people has to be towards the top of my list. The sort of Master Roshi, normal looking and acting, could be a great-grandparent, then push comes to shove and all of a sudden they're changing the rotation of the earth with power that makes the dark lord in question look like a school boy who knows better than to act like that.