My Favorite Fantasy Tropes

Here are my top 10 fantasy motifs! 🙂

#10: Dragons

Dragons are so cool! They’ve always been my favorite mythical creature. Although they are not always interesting (depends on how they’re written and how they fit into the plot), I love good fantasy that features them.

#9: Uncharted Worlds

There’s an entire world somewhere that hasn’t been discovered yet, and the protagonist has the opportunity to explore it! Wow! So exciting!

#8: Facing Doomsday

Time is running out for our heroes. The world is going to end. When it comes to facing doomsday, I prefer doomsday to actually occur, not to be averted, because I’m a terrible person and want to see the aftermath. >:)

#7: Corrupted Royalty

I love castles, kings, queens, dukes, knights, princes, princesses, the whole shebang, especially if some of them are awful. Good, benevolent royalty in fiction never feels realistic to me unless the story is a fairy tale retelling. Royalty can’t exist without a little corruption. We are flawed as humans, and our flaws are typically amplified in positions of power and authority. Besides, in fiction, corruption is interesting. I wouldn’t want to read about a palace full of noblemen and women who were actually, ahem, noble.

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#6: Betrothals

Whether betrothals turn out great/tolerable (Beauty and the Beast), or are avoided/subverted, I find them fascinating to read about in fantasy novels. Perhaps because I’m a lonely, single woman who would like someone to decide for me for a change (as long as the man they choose is rich and handsome, of course). 😉

I like the exploration of the characters with this concept in fantasy — how are the characters going to feel meeting each other the first time? How are they going to learn to get along? How are they going to rule a household/kingdom together? It’s very interesting.

#5: Villains With Heart

Don’t get me wrong, villains who are just purely evil have their place, and they do exist in the real world. But when I encounter a villain in a story I can sympathize with, that’s pretty cool. Villains who sometimes do good things but end up doing bad things anyway tear me up inside.

#4: The Secret Heir

The secret heir is someone who was raised by peasants or lower-class parents and doesn’t find out until later that they are the Heir to something, be that a throne, a fortune, or a magical object. I grew up in a poor household, and I’m still waiting for the day when I receive a letter in the mail that informs me I am the destined ruler of a distant, tropical island.

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#3: Forbidden Romance

*heart flutters*

I wasn’t going to put this in my top ten because it’s so painful, but I reconsidered because, again, it’s so painful! However, it is a good way to draw out the romance and the tension. I love slow burns. No insta-love for me. 😛 Plus, I love this form of conflict in romance, as opposed to miscommunication, cheating, and plain stupidity, since it’s out of the characters’ control. It fits so well in the fantasy genre, too. Bonus points if it is connected to the main plot.

#2: Unexpected Powers

Surprise! You can shoot lightning from your fingertips! Now what? It’s a common conundrum that needs to be explored more in fiction to Raise Awareness. I always like to imagine what I’d do if I discovered I had supernatural powers. Just don’t make the powers too crazy. They have to serve a purpose and be consistent (although steady growth is certainly reasonable if the powers were only just discovered).

#1: Good vs. Evil

Oops, the trope everyone is hates. 😉 Sorry, it’s never going away. You have righteous characters who, despite their flaws, make sacrifices to produce good for humankind, versus malevolent characters who embrace the darkness inside them and seek to terrorize humankind. It’s a tale as old as time. When I read a story, I need a side to root for, and that side should be the good. If this trope is done well, it can be life-changing. We live this conflict out on a micro scale every day when we’re confronted with choices: to lie or tell the truth, to fight or to make peace, to comfort or ignore… We even play this out in politics (the “good” candidate versus the “evil” candidate). Is it possible that we are the heroes in our own story and the villains in someone else’s? How can we balance the good and evil in our own hearts? Which side is going to win in the end?

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What are your favorite recurring ideas in the fantasy genre? Comment below!

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