Hello, readers! Welcome to another addition of Top 5 Wednesday. I can’t believe this is #6 because that means that my blog has been alive for six weeks. Time flies, doesn’t it?
Today we’re talking about our favorite tropes in the books we read. What’s a trope, you ask? A trope is a commonly used device to advance the characterization or plot in a story. They’re commonly used because we the readers tend to love them. They are what makes a story familiar and often are how we describe the books we like.
- Do you seem to love dystopian novels that feature a kick-ass female lead?
- Do you like fantasies in which the fate of the world rests on one person’s shoulders?
- How about novels that pit the characters against each other in competitions to be the best?
I can think of a few examples for each of the above bullets and that is what makes them tropes.
For today’s list, I am going to feature my favorite tropes I’ve come across in my reading. This was a hard topic for me because I tend to be very picky about how a trope is done. For example, love triangles are everywhere in YA fiction. Honestly, I am quite tired of seeing love triangles, but they don’t bother me if they are done well. As I was looking up some popular tropes, I found more that I dislike than I like, but I was able to think of a few good ones.
So, without further adieu, here are my favorite tropes that I tend to enjoy while reading:
#5 – Parental abandonment that leads to tragic backstories
Parental abandonment can lead to some fantastic backgrounds for characters. Without this popular occurrence, how will our dark and twisted heroes be dark and twisted? We wouldn’t have Batman without the death of his parents and we wouldn’t have Harry Potter without the loss of his.
With this, we also have the main character being an orphan, but it’s not a clear situation like Harry Potter’s. The event that orphaned does not define them. But hey, growing up in an orphanage and competing with other children all the time all while dealing with the fact you’re an orphan in the first place has to be difficult, right?
Just to make things clear, I am not talking about books that the parents are alive, but seem to be perpetually somewhere else instead of watching their kids. I tend to hate that in books. I mean, there should be many more adults at Hogwarts than there are, right? I mean, what is the student to adult ratio in that school?
Books I’m Thinking Of: Harry Potter, Shadow and Bone, Throne of Glass, The Golden Compass
#4 – A Fate Worse Than Death
I love this trope.
This is the one where there is a character that we hate so much and we wish the worst upon him/her. Then, we triumphantly watch as this evil character gets what he/she deserves. Not death, because that would be too easy. Instead, the character lives the rest of his/her life in pain, disfigurement, or even living a cursed life.
There are also books in which there is a punishment that is agreed by society that is indeed worse than death, i.e. the dementor’s kiss from Harry Potter. There are just some things that could happen that the characters would rather die than experience.
Books I’m Thinking Of: Harry Potter, The Princess Bride, A Song of Ice and Fire
#3 – Good vs. Evil
This one is pretty simple. There are definitive sides in the conflict; one is good and one is evil. Will good triumph over evil? Probably. It’s still fun to read how it’s going to go down.
Books I’m Thinking Of: Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, Black by Ted Dekker
#2 – Point of View switching
Some people view this as an easy way out of tricky plot development.
I agree in some cases. If the perspective is going to change every chapter, there better be a good reason. For example, I didn’t like the point of view switching in Throne of Glass or Crown of Midnight, but I’m seeing it used more for a purpose as I’m reading Heir of Fire. Don’t get me wrong, I think some of it was necessary in the first two books, but not for their entirety.
If the characters are very far away from each other, we need to see opposing views of the same event, or if we need to understand what’s happening across the world simultaneously, then yes. I love the changes in point of view.
Books I’m Thinking Of: A Song of Ice and Fire, Heir of Fire, lots of Stephen King novels
#1 – The Hero Complex
This is my favorite trope to see if it’s done well. This is when the hero/heroine of the story constantly feels like he/she needs to be the hero and save the world.
I don’t like it when the hero/heroine is successful in each attempt.
I love it when their need to save everyone brings about some sort of downfall. I love when it’s a trap and they fall right into it.
Books I’m Thinking Of: Harry Potter, A Song of Ice and Fire
If you liked reading about the tropes that I like, then just wait until I write about the tropes that I cannot stand. Look for that in August!
What are your favorite tropes? I’d love to talk about it with you! Thank you for reading and as always, I will see you soon.
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