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What are your favorite story tropes?
This week, I talk about three of my favorites and why I think they'll never get old to readers: the chosen one trope, the adventuring party trope, and the quest trope.
Scroll down to read the blog post or watch the video below!
The Chosen One Trope
We all love the stories of Harry Potter ("You're a wizard, Harry!") or Luke Skywalker ("Luke, this is your destiny!"). The characters go from nobodies and nothings to suddenly becoming the most important hero of their world. Usually there's a prophecy involved, or a mentorship process (which generally means that the mentor dies so that the young padawan can rise to take his rightful place as The Chosen Hero). Regardless of the path, the trope lends itself to the personal journey of an unfit commoner to a competent and powerful hero.
As many times as I see this trope, I still enjoy it, because it speaks to our own internal desires to be a "chosen one," to know that we have an irreplaceable part in life. We want to know that we have significance and purpose, and that we can discover it through our own journeys.
The Adventuring Party Trope
A motley array of characters from different backgrounds, with unique skills, come together as an unlikely team of misfits and go adventuring. This is similar to the Dungeons and Dragons party, in which you have your healer, your paladin, your barbarian, your magician, and so on. Each person has an important role to play and the team falls apart without them.
While I'm a huge fan of actual, blood-related families going on adventures together, there's something especially heartwarming about diverse characters creating their own family. They often belong nowhere else, but, in the party, they find redemption and acceptance and purpose. This trope speaks especially to those who come from broken families and are looking for their own non-blood family in which to belong. They can see in these characters--in their friction and their friendship--the sort of "home" that they themselves hope for.
The Great Quest Trope
Whether it's a magical item the characters need to find or information they must retrieve, the characters focus on the quest to obtain that all-important thing.
In some cases, the quest itself becomes the focus, as in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis or Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander. The quest, through its various trials, becomes a coming-of-age testing ground for the hero, who gains a stronger sense of personal purpose and worth by the end of the tale.
In other books, the quest is a means to an end. There is no Lord of the Rings without the quest to destroy the Ring in the fires of Mount Doom, but the quest itself is wrapped up in a greater context of epic battles and personal journeys.
Do you have a favorite trope? What trope resonates most with you? Share in the comments below!
SFF Books with the Chosen One, the Adventuring Party, and/or the Quest Tropes
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