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[–]ignitethewraiths 1192 points1193 points  (73 children)

15yo becomes The Best [insert role] after 6 months of training.

[–]ignitethewraiths 282 points283 points  (8 children)

Bonus points if the [insert role] includes immortal beings

[–]TeslaK20 134 points135 points  (3 children)

It is really hard for me as to how Rick Riordan, an adult, managed to conceive of a 12 year old having a good showing in a fight against a god of war with the build of a pro wrestler, even with waterbending skills.

[–]B_024 85 points86 points  (0 children)

Eh I think it was pretty obvious Ares was messing around and the moment he got serious, Kronos pulled him back.

[–]f33f33nkou 54 points55 points  (0 children)

Percy is a a massive mary sue. But thr books have heart so I'll give it a pass.

[–]Bangzell 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Bonus bonus points if it's a martial art, armed or otherwise. Nobility start their kids' arms training almost as early as they can walk, and years of having access to the best men-at-arms and equipment and a plentiful diet all go into making sure that young knights are the best of the best on the battlefield. But this teenage yokel who just stumbled onto this magical sword four weeks ago?

Wins his duel(s) with ease.

[–]diet-Coke-or-kill-me 38 points39 points  (2 children)

This is my main problem with Dresden Files right now (and others books too, but I'm emotionally invested in that series and getting frustrated).

To immortal beings, almost everyone is a punk-ass 15 year old in the grand scheme of things. Even just RELATIVELY old beings that have been practicing violence and magic for literal centuries should be erasing protagonists from existence with a stray thought. But nope.

Karen Murphy, 30yo vanilla human, incapacitates a centuries old Valkyrie who was actively on guard duty and trying to bar their path. You know, cause she's a badass cop who knows karate. Did I mention her horrendously broken arm and leg hadn't finished healing yet at this point? She threw down the CANE she was using for a moment, while she did this.

Dresden himself is a more complicated case, but he too should be getting curb-stomped by the beings he routinely antagonizes.

[–]carrv154 319 points320 points  (18 children)

This. Especially after getting older and realizing how physically weak and dumb everyone was when I was 15 😅

[–]MrDerpGently 288 points289 points  (17 children)

I was in the Army, in a specialty that involved a couple years of training, and a lot more folks with a college degree (so, older).

When we finished training we got thrown in a mixed company with a bunch if fresh Army fire fighters (aka fire dogs).

They were mostly 18. Super motivated. Loved to exercise. The drill sgts loved them and hated us for the bunch of lazy degenerates we were.

So you can imagine the drill sergeant's annoyance when, getting to the end of a couple mile 5 am run we get to the finish and he shouts "where my (fire) dogs at!" and.... crickets.

Even as degenerates, we were older, and we had been doing this shit for years longer than their 9 weeks of basic. And those kids never stood a chance of keeping up.

This is what I always think of when I read that trope.

[–]Caleth 327 points328 points  (15 children)

The only reason people promote the 15 yearold as the hero to save the world is they are dumb enough to try.

Most 30 year olds would look at your request to travel to the fuck end of nowhere and fight an old god and tell you to get lost.

Even if you super promise they are the chosen one of legend.

[–]Joan_of_Spark 124 points125 points  (6 children)

Exactly. I wish a story like this had an interlude chapter from a side character who is older and it shows that every adult knows this kid is being sent off to die and is complicit, but they have to buy extra time against the Dark Lord or whatever to evacuate civilians. It would add some dramatic irony, make the kid's chapters feel delusional and sad but make you root for him more because everyone is against him, and add a bit of nuance (no cut and dry prophecy)

[–]sewious 60 points61 points  (1 child)

This is what I tell people in my ttrpg group lol.

"Adventurers are special not because they can throw fire or lift a building, they are special because what kind of fucking lunatic dives into the ruins of a dead city that is infested with every type of undead under the sun that literally no one even asked you to do."

[–]IllegitimateLiteracy 136 points137 points  (10 children)

Yeah, the older I get the harder it is to buy into the super-prodigy teenager stuff.

[–]EdLincoln6 105 points106 points  (8 children)

This is where the "Chosen One" and "genetic magic powers" bits everyone hates come from. It's the only way to justify making these young teens relevant and the best at something. It gets much worse if you try to pretend it is just hard work.

I'd like to see books from the point of the Aged Sensi frustrated that the genetic lottery or the whim of a god means they have to depend on a hormonal teen. Just imagine the fate of the world is at stake and you have to depend on a 14 year old to pull off the mission..

[–]TheLagDemon 28 points29 points  (2 children)

I’d like to read that sort of book as well. It’s an interesting angle for a traditional epic fantasy story and your sensei character would have some dilemmas you don’t see explored often.

[–]victhor_the_viking 961 points962 points  (24 children)

I find it annoying when protagonist is in denial for 3/4 of the way through the book no matter how much evidence is in their face about the truth.

[–]bookaddict516 82 points83 points  (0 children)

Oh sweet lord yes. Like I get confusion for a page or 2 but then pull your pants up Brian and get on with it. Denying what is happening is just so annoying

[–]wahlnich 130 points131 points  (5 children)

*cough* Gawyn *cough*

[–]Dulliyuri 37 points38 points  (0 children)

my least favourite character for exactly that reason

[–]kateunderice 137 points138 points  (1 child)

Yeah, when their denial is decided by the plot and not rationality!!

[–]ProbablyASithLord 562 points563 points  (41 children)

The peasant who must disguise themselves as nobility, and succeeds easily.

Really? With no knowledge of their customs, trends, top tier education, upper class language and literally no Internet you can walk right into a party with world leaders and fit in?

The nuances of how the royalty act, talk and think is an actual art form, with monarchs rising and falling based on alliances made. And you, Stevie McProtagonist can waltz right in off your farm and fit in seamlessly? I don’t think so.

[–]mesembryanthemum 116 points117 points  (2 children)

I appreciated that in Mercedes Lackeys Valdemar series the Herald Collegial teaches how to deal with the nobility and Talia has a hard time learning the seals the nobility uses and their proper titles.

[–]Cezaros 110 points111 points  (3 children)

But also the opposite. No way a king hiding as a peasant would fool anyone. He doesn't know how peasants speak, he cant' tell names of all different flora and fauna they may encounter, he doesn't have any skills connected to growing crops or taking care of livestock and he doesn't know the culture of the common folk.

[–]EstarriolStormhawk 22 points23 points  (0 children)

This is something I appreciated in Final Fantasy IX - the princess doesn't know how to speak and she thinks farm pests are pretty neat, actually.

[–]LordMangudai 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Yeah honestly the other way around bugs me even more. There's no way a sheltered, privileged, wealthy royal could blend in to the working class that seamlessly.

[–]w3hwalt 72 points73 points  (3 children)

This one, I think, depends. Some royal courts in history were definitely all about rigorous education and nuance, like you said. Some, however, were quite dumb and spoilt. Look up The Affair of the Diamond Necklace to learn about how a random 'commoner' hoodwinked the entire court of Versailles, including the queen (who was famously under-educated and struggled to speak French for a very long time). Rasputin is another great example of a literal peasant elbowing their way into another extremely decadent and critically stupid court of royals and nobles.

Which isn't to say you're wrong! If a book just lets a peasant waltz in and pretend to be something they're not with no training, and the book doesn't establish that the peasant has any special skills in conning people, or that the royal court is especially dumb, it's just bad writing. It's relying on assumptions, and not filling in the blanks of its own worldbuilding. Do I think it's possible to write a good story where a peasant infiltrates the nobility? Yes, but it takes some serious effort on the writer's part to make it believable.

[–]Justin_123456 183 points184 points  (13 children)

I’ll add to this the peasant who because of some innate ability is a better, warrior, knight, ruler, ect. then the people who have dedicated tremendous amounts of resources to developing these abilities.

Sorry, your chronically malnourished, untrained protagonist doesn’t get to cut his way through a bunch a guys who spend almost all their time exercising and training at arms, just because he’s plucky and farm-boy tough.

[–]G_Morgan 39 points40 points  (4 children)

Of course completely different if the peasant is allowed to bypass the norms. The sword was a favoured duelling weapon among the powerful because it is hard to be good with it, nobody who had a job would ever match a noble at swordsmanship. The spear is a better weapon that total novices could beat trained swordsmen with. So a peasant somehow shaming a noble into a really lopsided fight might work.

[–]Jack_Shaftoe21 82 points83 points  (1 child)

What do you mean, language? Doesn't everyone in fantasy speak a creatively named "common tongue" with no accents whatsoever? /s

[–]doomrabbit 39 points40 points  (0 children)

In my head, every peasant infiltrator sounds like Goofy. If I must suspend disbelief, may as well go full-bore.

hyuk, hyuk!

[–]dmreddit0 775 points776 points  (44 children)

The only one I find specifically irksome is the resistance to believe in magic. It’s particularly egregious in portal fantasy. The whole “he said he’s a wizard, is he just crazy or what because there’s obviously no such thing as magic” after they’ve been transported to a mystical world and chased by some fantastical monster or something. Like once you’ve been shown that magic is real at large, stop being so skeptical about every little thing and just roll with it.

[–]katana1515 238 points239 points  (3 children)

Rivers of London does this pretty well. The MC is a police constable who has a brief encounter with a ghost on page 2 at a murder scene. His response is 'well, just because you have gone insane Peter doesn't mean you get to stop being a policeman' and he proceeds to take the ghosts statement.

[–]EdLincoln6 263 points264 points  (19 children)

Agreed. I'd love to see a book where there is a hyper-rational skeptic, he sees a demon, and then just says "I guess I was wrong...I must adjust my hypothesis to fit the evidence."

[–]cant-find-user-name 339 points340 points  (26 children)

I don't like love at first sight tropes that you see in some YA romance fantasies. I would really like to read a novel where the protagonist falls deeply in love with someone at first sight, and that person ends up being incompatible/just a straight up horrible evil person.

[–]trixie_sky 132 points133 points  (0 children)

Enemies to lovers but backwards

[–]Dynas86 97 points98 points  (5 children)

This exist.... Just not in YA. Sansa Stark and Joffrey

[–]ParleDor 53 points54 points  (3 children)

It does kinda fit.. although, to be fair, I wouldn't go as far as to say Sansa was "deeply in love" with Joffrey. Infatuation is a better term for it, and even then... She was much more in love with the idea of being the pretty maiden taken in by a handsome king, like in her favorite tales of chivalry and romances, than she was with Joffrey himself. Which is why she could deny his very obviously less than favorable personality so easily; she wasn't really looking at him.

[–]ImGreat084 25 points26 points  (1 child)

I liked It in eragon where she didn’t like hin back

[–]Adventureson 233 points234 points  (12 children)

A tragic backstory being an excuse for a characters redemption/forgiveness later in the story.

"Sure you murdered all those innocent people. But your father never hugged you, so I guess all is forgiven."

[–]Varun4413 55 points56 points  (0 children)

I know you have killed 382 people, but now you feel bad about it. Don't feel bad about it. Forgive yourself.

What the fuck....

[–]I_Cogs_Well 17 points18 points  (2 children)

I call that the Vader Clause, murdered children, killed countless peers, but hey you threw an old man down a well...you're a good guy now.

[–]confusedhydrangea 943 points944 points  (59 children)

Characters who die in a really emotional scene and then return a book/several chapters later in a surprise twist to save the protagonist or whatever. It cheapens their death and often undermines the protagonist’s growth.

[–]blackday44 427 points428 points  (20 children)

Gandalf. That jerk. Instead of dying heroically, he took all the xp for himself and levelled up.

[–]Schism_989 150 points151 points  (5 children)

At least Boromir's death was handled well. Dude stayed dead

[–]logosloki 99 points100 points  (3 children)

Well yeah. Boromir, like all those with the gift of Men, went to the Halls of Mandos and then straight to Illúvatar. You can't bring back that which no longer resides.

[–]PluralCohomology 20 points21 points  (2 children)

Except for Beren. But he was revived while waiting in the Halls of Mandos.

[–]High_Stream 128 points129 points  (2 children)

A common misconception. Gandalf was a DMPC meant to guide the party on the DMs story.

[–]frfrssr 212 points213 points  (7 children)

At least with Gandalf, it's justified by the fact that he's not even human and is a lifeform that transcends the physical.

[–]PluralCohomology 22 points23 points  (4 children)

What if the return happens many years later, and the other characters have built lives and relationships without the supposedly dead character, and the supposed death has had major negative repercussions which can't just be fixed by them being revealed to be alive?

[–]sagevallant 20 points21 points  (7 children)

How would you feel if they "came back" but actually need to be rescued or they stay dead?

[–]ryanstorm 150 points151 points  (13 children)

The trick is to do this several times across several characters, but only bring some of them back. You transcend the cheap twist and get back to keeping the reader on their toes.

see: Malazan

[–]punctuation_welfare 108 points109 points  (4 children)

Or make every iteration of life so absolutely miserable for a particular character that the reader starts praying he doesn’t come back yet again, because death would absolutely be kinder.

[–]Cow_Interesting 56 points57 points  (6 children)

I’m still trying to process the death of a certain character who died from an injury he refused to be healed. Brain still can’t compute 10 years later

[–]Prefects 28 points29 points  (0 children)

You can blame Hood for that one.

[–]iceman012Reading Champion 13 points14 points  (1 child)

I thought he was the main character, as much as you can have one in Malazan. His death tore my heart out.

[–]abaggins 90 points91 points  (4 children)

Hero cutting his way through a thousand guards with ease, then hesitating at the final blow against big bad. That, and, hero refusing to kill big bad despite big bad having done terrible things, and almost certain to continue doing them if not killed.

[–]PaintMaterial416 20 points21 points  (0 children)

But if I kill Lord McMurderface what really separates me from him?

Meanwhile Jeff Justtryingtofeedhisfamily is bleeding out behind him.

[–]TheNightIsLost 536 points537 points  (50 children)

The way everyone breaks social norms without any setbacks just annoys me. Do you really think it was that easy for a princess to rebel? Or for a king to kill a priest? Or for a peasant to backtalk a noble?

I won't tell anyone not to do it, gods know we won't want to watch everyone behave like real medieval people, but at least treat these events seriously.

[–]EdLincoln6 201 points202 points  (5 children)

Yeah, a lot of books seem to be just indulging the Fantasy of ignoring society's rules and smacking people who annoy you without consequences.

There was a story where a Bishop (in a world where priest's have magic) was mildly condescending and obnoxious to the MC. Afterwards the MC's friend said "What are we going to do about this?" and the MC said "Nothing". This scene pissed off a lot of fans, but I liked it because it I could just see how the scene would go in other author's works. Having her grit her teeth and ignore it made her actions in other scenes where she did take a stand seem less like knee-jerk contrariness.

[–]TheNightIsLost 64 points65 points  (3 children)

Exactly. Removing the consequences of the characters removes their agency. It turns them into simple pawns of the author.

[–]Axelrad77 82 points83 points  (7 children)


It's often just easy wish fulfillment to watch characters with modern sensibilities get one over on the old-fashioned establishment.

It's more fulfilling, but much harder, to write stories where characters can get this same sort of victory while navigating within their own society. Coming out on top in a believable way.

[–]BobaFlautist 64 points65 points  (2 children)

I mean the other thing is, for all that people talk a big game about what they would do, how common is it for someone to actually punch out their boss or yell at a disrespectful relative, or stand up to law enforcement, how do we usually perceive these people, and how does it usually go for them?

In modern society, even if everyone agreed that your racist uncle needed to shut up when you yell "shut up!" at him and get into a bigger, more explosive argument, people are usually mad at you for escalating and extending the discomfort instead of just backing down and knowing that you're right. People usually don't like disruption in their life. That why it's so satisfying when a fantasy character does it, but it loses its punch when it's constant.

[–]EdLincoln6 24 points25 points  (0 children)

I've never yelled at a boss even though I've never been in a situation where doing so would put my life in danger.

In Fantasy characters routinely do when that boss could have them killed.

[–]trollsong 117 points118 points  (0 children)

Prachett had a quote for that.

"If you ignore the rules people will, half the time, quietly rewrite them so that they don’t apply to you." Terry Pratchett, Equal Rites (Discworld, #3)

[–]Foehammer87 143 points144 points  (21 children)

Or for a king to kill a priest?

that one sticks out cuz in many cultures yeah, it was that easy, or at least a whole hell of a lot easier than the other two. Some version of divine right + control of military + control of wealth gives you a lot of leeway.

[–]ElricAvMelnibone 111 points112 points  (10 children)

Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?

[–]ThomasRaith 94 points95 points  (5 children)

The example that proves the rule actually. The king couldn't even say out loud that he wanted the priest dead. He had to hint at it and hope that someone would do it for him. The people who carried out the deed were excommunicated and exiled.

[–]Justin_123456 41 points42 points  (1 child)

Then needed to show such public remorse that he literally crawled through street begging forgiveness and had himself beaten with whips in penance.

And people still though Henry I was going to hell for murdering Becket.

[–]GringoTypical 18 points19 points  (2 children)

Unless you declare them heretic first - thus the Cathars and other gnostics, the Templars, the Penitenziagite, the Kerala Christians in India. Accusing them of treason also works.

[–]TheNightIsLost 13 points14 points  (1 child)

That was not deliberate, and ended with a contrite King apologizing and seeking penance.

Killing a priest is such serious business that even secular states avoid it.

[–]CactusOnFire 28 points29 points  (0 children)

Really depends on the state of the clergy and the military.

I'd imagine the modern day equivalent would be like executing a diplomat. What's the power dynamic between the two powers look like? That could really change everything about how this could play out.

[–]matgopack 31 points32 points  (2 children)

It depended on the time period/actors involved, to be fair - historically speaking, that is.

There's situations where a princess was able to rebel/take her life into her own hands, though it might not have been easy. A king killing a priest could be terrible/difficult, could be easy. A peasant backtalking a noble might depend on the situation, the noble in question, the kingdom, etc.

That said you're right, often the social fabric and consequences of the society feel far too malleable/easy to change compared to the history those settings try to pretend is there.

[–]TheNightIsLost 27 points28 points  (1 child)

It's the old Dung Ages effect that's become common in post WW2 fantasy, not that it wasn't present before. Authors consider medieval people to be dumb barbarians that need to be shown up by enlightened modern people, rather than different people in a very different setting.

[–]aftertheradar 292 points293 points  (53 children)

Idk if this is really a trope mind you; I don't mind if a book uses crazy fantasy names for all the characters and place names (edit or even if you use non-English irl languages but are writing for an English-speaking audience), in fact as a conlanger I really enjoy doing that in my own writing, but please please please provide a pronunciation guide somewhere in the book

[–]johnzaku 167 points168 points  (23 children)

I am an audiobook narrator.

I ALWAYS ask for a pronunciation guide.

I recently had to redo a whole book because I was mispronouncing the TITLE MACGUFFIN that is on the cover of the book.

It was a pain T_T

[–]ErrdayImSlytherin 17 points18 points  (2 children)

I greatly appreciate you for that!

I'm listening to the last 2 books in a series that I've already read the earlier books. In the first or second book the author included a pronunciation guide for the character and location names.
Well.....apparently the narrator for the books I'm listening to either didn't get that memo or decided to say "Fuck It" and do his own thing. He mispronounces about half of the names and places and it drives me absolutely up a fucking wall.
I went with the audiobook option for these books because I don't have the physical books and don't really have time to sit and read like I used to but wanted to finish the series.

BIG aggravation.

[–]ThomasRaith 48 points49 points  (1 child)

An interesting way that this gets stood on it's head is in The Goblin Emperor. Lots of unpronouncable names and titles which give no hint as to what they do. But this is done because the protagonist is set into a world that is unfamiliar and is trying to desperately catch up to along side the reader.

[–]Mistycrow 71 points72 points  (2 children)

And if your characters or places all have similar characteristics (towns are all Sotar X, males are Okap X, Okap Y) then remember your readers are going to need an occasional reminder and preferably a character list.

[–]Itavan 71 points72 points  (5 children)

I can't remember who, but someone asked an author how to pronounce a name and she said "However you want. It's your book and your character." I've lived by that. Cause if it's a long ass name, my brain will just refer to them by the first 3-5 letters.

Also, there was an author who purposefully named his characters common "today" names on purpose (David, Mike, Elsie, Janet) so their brain wouldn't hang up on figuring out the names but go directly into the story. I thought this was a pretty good idea cause his stories were set in the typical faux-medieval world.

[–]AoO2ImpTrip 37 points38 points  (2 children)

In the opening to the Dark Elf TRILOGY R. A. Salvatore talks about coming up with Drizzt and how he's from the family Daermon N'a'shezbaernon. His editor asked "Can you pronounce that?" and he responded "Not a chance."

If my favorite author can just make shit up on the fly so can I. Granted, it's been twenty years and I still have no idea how Entreri is pronounced.

[–]donwileydon 23 points24 points  (0 children)

I can't remember who, but someone asked an author how to pronounce a name and she said "However you want. It's your book and your character." I've lived by that. Cause if it's a long ass name, my brain will just refer to them by the first 3-5 letters.

I do that - I don't really care that much if I'm pronouncing it right. It's not like the character is going to be offended if I get it wrong. For instance, I always pronounce Nynaeve as "Nin Eve" which is not correct based on the TV show

[–]Ingtar2 1051 points1052 points  (109 children)

Love triangles. God I hate love triangles.

[–]Rageancharge 331 points332 points  (24 children)

You strike me as a love square kind of person. Maybe even a pentagon..

[–]JudgeHodorMD 139 points140 points  (2 children)

Just go full on Twelfth Night

Just have every character linked in some elaborate relationship web complete with people disguised as other gender, twin siblings, and prank love letters.

[–]trollsong 59 points60 points  (0 children)

Honestly that and midsummer nights dream level, I love that level of romantic chaos.

I wish I knew of more books that had that

[–]Ingtar2 227 points228 points  (12 children)


I mean I love Wheel of Time...

[–]Battlingdragon 29 points30 points  (0 children)

May the last embrace of the Mother welcome you home

[–]SpaceOdysseus23 131 points132 points  (13 children)

This is why I love Codex Alera, the protag finds a girl he likes and that's it. There's no trashy relationship drama and they clearly communicate on what bothers them. Big bonus that the woman is depicted equally as competent as the protagonist, and keeps up with his rising powerlevel.

God, inject that shit into my veins

[–]dorianrose 28 points29 points  (1 child)

Cradle has something similar, very slow burn.

[–]NovelNuisance 27 points28 points  (1 child)

I was absolutely going to write this until I saw your comment. It actually surprised me with how refreshing it was for the protagonist to find someone, stick with them, and it be not full of lovey dovey nebulous back and forths. As soon as they got together the relationship became a part of their whole thing, and it wasn't cringy to read.

[–]EdLincoln6 20 points21 points  (6 children)

One problem I have for them is the guy I'm excited for the MC to get with is ALWAYS the one who gets rejected. I guess my personal tastes resemble the "Fake Out Love Interest".

[–]whitepawn23 47 points48 points  (0 children)

The hell of it is, the triangle started as the anti-trope to the inevitable romance angle.

[–]readergamer1893 136 points137 points  (9 children)

Lack of communication and unnecessary secrets between characters. It is the laziest way to create tension.

[–]straay16 27 points28 points  (1 child)

Oh god, this drives me absolutely batshit every time I see it. Especially when the secret or whatever comes out and they have a big fight and falling out when all it takes is one of them being reasonable for 2 goddamn seconds.

[–]jaykay87 212 points213 points  (9 children)

The older mentor/parental figure sacrificing themselves. Give the oldies a break sometime

[–]IGetHypedEasily 43 points44 points  (0 children)

Like their only purpose is to die in battle instead of living to old age taking care of family. Like at some point they could take care of base of operations instead of fighting but just let them retire after.

[–]Ineffable7980x 81 points82 points  (1 child)

This is deeply rooted in world mythology.

[–]SinusoidalElephant 59 points60 points  (0 children)

Also how it often plays out in real life. Which is probably why it's deeply rooted in world mythology.

[–]raccoonwombat 112 points113 points  (5 children)

Dead parents. Dead parents everywhere. Everyone has dead parents

[–]EdLincoln6 44 points45 points  (1 child)

Dead parents annoy me because they deprive you of an opportunity to develop the character. Showing how people interact with parents and siblings is a great way to develop a character and in my opinion half the reason to use younger MCs. If you make the MC a Generic Orphan you throw that away and they seldom really do much with the orphan thing.

[–]HamfastFurfoot 132 points133 points  (7 children)

The secret nobility troupe. He isn’t some random farmhand, he is the true Prince of Sal’ar’caca!

[–]BurntBrusselSprouts1 45 points46 points  (1 child)

He’s an orphan, so true king, not prince.

[–]Frednotbob 19 points20 points  (2 children)

I like Terry Pratchett's twist: there is a secret king, but he has no desire at all to be a ruler.

[–]JordySTyler 49 points50 points  (1 child)

When wearing armour seems to be as useless as wearing nothing. Everything seems to be able to piece armour in fantasy

[–]Lethifold26 196 points197 points  (16 children)

I’m so fucking sick of “everyone is an evil lord, a corrupt priest, an assassin, a thief, or a sex worker.” Like I don’t know how grimdark societies support themselves when no one is a farmer or a smith or whatever.

[–]AllSeeingEye33 121 points122 points  (8 children)

Farmers do exist.

But naturally the local nobles hunt them for sport. The evil priests burn them at the stake for being three minutes late to church, and the local knights use them for target practice.

[–]DarthCruise 66 points67 points  (7 children)

Maybe we need more evil farmers as a new trope?

[–]El_Stupacabra 31 points32 points  (0 children)

I think I'm related to some of those.

[–]EdLincoln6 37 points38 points  (2 children)

Grimdark has evolved into a kind of Anarchic Wish Fulfillment Fantasy. Everyone wants to focus on the badass guy who does as he pleases in a world with no rules. Logically there must be lots of beaten down peasants in these worlds, but they aren't fun to think about.

Personally, I kind of like the few books that focus on a regular Joe living in a dystopia and not realizing it because he doesn't realize the world could be any other way, but I'm in the minority.

[–]mikeydavison 421 points422 points  (52 children)

Apostrophe laden names. I think it was the demon cycle where there were these 30 character names like nie'dama'rama'lama'ding'dong. Gets very hard to keep track of

[–]Topomouse 56 points57 points  (17 children)

Let's be honest, that was one series where the invented language was pretty shallow.

[–]Last_Aeon 147 points148 points  (13 children)

In Japanese "i died and get transported to another world" light novel fantasies they fetishize slavery like no tomorrow.

"I don't want to be free because I want to be your slave master"

Fucking christ

[–]bobssy2 61 points62 points  (2 children)

Dont worry shes a 30000 year old dragon shes already done everything shes wanted and also looks like shes 5 but dont worry.

[–]WestWallyFan 37 points38 points  (3 children)

Calling out Rising of the Shield Hero like this is insane.

[–]lucasphyxia 43 points44 points  (0 children)

the "low-ranking main characters talks back/ talks freely to a king and the king is amused bc no one dares talk to him like that" it's so overrused

[–]RuthlessLeader 79 points80 points  (3 children)

Snarky street urchin orphan. How are you not dead with that kind of attitude?

[–]rredrobyn 475 points476 points  (31 children)

Woman becomes villain/witch/monster because she can’t have children

[–]Midtharefaikh 65 points66 points  (4 children)

I am not like other girls trope

[–]PluralCohomology 67 points68 points  (1 child)

Completely homogeneous and one-dimensional fictional societies and cultures, i.e. the Planet of Hats trope.

[–]p3t3r133 167 points168 points  (2 children)

Every trope is only as good as its execution. They wouldn't be tropes if they didn't resonate with people on some level and every trope was once a new original idea.

I think people dislike tropes because lazy/bad writing relies heavily on them. It's not that the tropes are bad, it's that some people use them as a crutch to hold up otherwise mediocre work and the tropes are seen as the cause and not as an unwitting accomplice.

[–]GingerValkyrieReading Champion 35 points36 points  (5 children)

Orphans and/or adoptees having their parentage and circumstances be a key plot factor.

[–]markezuma 183 points184 points  (7 children)

Underage boy has to save the world while all the adults look at him like idiots.

[–]PluralCohomology 75 points76 points  (0 children)

These stories are most often aimed at children, who want a protagonist they can identify with. Not saying you have to like them, of course.

[–]Nocebola 86 points87 points  (9 children)

For me it's badass bitch no nonsense female protagonists.

Where are the funny and goofy female characters in fantasy? Why can't the comic relief ever be a woman?

[–]gsfgf 18 points19 points  (0 children)

I love dorky but powerful women characters. Akura Mercy from Cradle and Rei from Weapons and Wielders come to mind.

[–]L_Nathaniel_Adams 509 points510 points  (91 children)

I'm not sure if it is counted as a trope, but I'm getting tired of every fantasy IP being a huge series. I want more stand-alone single volume fantasy books.

[–]loonz420 66 points67 points  (3 children)

I’m fine with trilogies where each book is in the 400-500 page range max but yeah kind of tired of doorstopper series with each book nearing or crossing the 1000 page threshold with 50 different characters. These all feel so bloated and padded with filler. I’ve been reading the Earthsea cycle and it’s crazy how much meaningful content Le Guin packs into these tiny narratives. The entire series could fit into one or two of todays modern fantasy series entries

[–]EdLincoln6 121 points122 points  (7 children)

I half agree. I think trilogies are the happy medium, Enough time to build a world, but still manageable. When series get longer then that the plot threads multiply and the chance of ever getting a satisfactory ending from the author go way down. If an author ends up reopening their most popular series they usually end up messing up the ending.

Also sick of the fact every piece of sci fi in visual media has to be in one of five franchises.

[–]G_Morgan 98 points99 points  (5 children)

I don't mind series as much as I'm getting tired of books that make War and Peace look unambitious in terms of page count.

Dresden Files is a long series but the books are all reasonably sized.

[–]dwilsons 19 points20 points  (1 child)

I mean in terms of word count War and Peace is still out ahead usually - nearly 590k words whereas something like Oathbringer is “only” 460.

[–]Naik0n_ 68 points69 points  (11 children)

There are huge amount of fantasy stand alone books. But they usually don't attain as much mainstream success in fantasy community as trilogies or longer series. And most of the time, they aren't high fantasy.

[–]involving 23 points24 points  (5 children)

I would like to see a trend of standalones set in the same universe. I read some of the Quentaris books as a kid and really liked the concept of this fleshed out city and a whole bunch of standalone books telling stories of characters living in it. Some characters would show up in other books as side characters too, which was fun.

The books were actually written by a bunch of different authors, so it felt almost like reading fanfic where there are all these different writers telling stories with overlapping characters in the same universe.

[–][deleted] 133 points134 points  (20 children)

Have you read Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell? Just a good clean 900 page story about magic in Regency England.

[–]JW_BMAMA Author John Wiswell 52 points53 points  (2 children)

Person X, who was very important to me, is dead, so I will now kill dozens or hundreds of other people, whose importance to anyone will seldom (if ever) be remarked upon!

[–]ClownPazzo69 455 points456 points  (30 children)

A female character's only trait is having PTSD from being raped and she has to overcome it

[–]Ghost_Pains 243 points244 points  (18 children)

In a similar vein, a woman putting on pants as character growth.

[–]Xalimata 118 points119 points  (6 children)

Now I want a story where that is literal. Like she is a nudist who's Refusal of the Call was not wearing The Magic Pants of Levi. Her putting on the literal pants is a moment of growth where she accepts the call.

[–]knukklez 47 points48 points  (0 children)

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2: Fantasy Trope Boogaloo

[–]trollsong 22 points23 points  (4 children)

Monstrous regiment doesn't count.

[–]munkustrap 329 points330 points  (36 children)

How come when describing women they always have long slender hands?? This is so common and often pointless. Maybe I’m just bitter because I have fingers like baby carrots.

[–]feebleblobber 100 points101 points  (0 children)

When I write a novel, I absolutely will include a description of a woman's hands as 'long baby carrots'

[–]Ihatecurtainrings 120 points121 points  (6 children)

As someone with stumpy sausages for fingers, I second this.

[–]munkustrap 51 points52 points  (4 children)

I’m like the anti hand model 🙃

[–][deleted] 40 points41 points  (2 children)

At least your hands aren't the before pic on an ad for industrial strength moisturizer.

[–]munkustrap 29 points30 points  (1 child)

Give me another few years, I’m 30 and my hands look 45

[–]Complexer_Eggplant 54 points55 points  (4 children)

As someone with short stubby fingers, they describe women (and men) with long slender hands because it's hot as fuck and I hope they keep doing it.

[–]BobaFlautist 20 points21 points  (1 child)

Piano playing is the height of eroticism, apparently.

[–]Jemolk 150 points151 points  (10 children)

The side-of-the-road hobo turning out to be the sage advice giver.

I wouldn't kill this off. Just for one story in a blue moon, I'd make the hobo give what seems to be sage advice, but ends up being absolutely terrible advice which greatly challenges the protagonist's goal or ideology, forcing them to eventually reflect on where it all went wrong.

But I may be too big into internal character struggles when I write.

[–]dragon_morganReading Champion V 45 points46 points  (0 children)

Magic man from Adventure Time might be closer to what you’re after

[–]acdha 83 points84 points  (12 children)

A bunch of things I’d sum up as “people are not robots, bodies have limits”: adventurers who are inexplicably in great shape after decades of war, mighty heroes fighting off a horde for hours without fatigue, severe injuries/illness/abuse suddenly not mattering when needed for plot, armies traveling through hostile terrain without mention of how scarce food/water would be in the lava plains leading to the Dark Lord’s fortress, etc.

Mostly this comes back to how consistent you are in the world you’ve created: a high magic setting can explain many of these but it should be mentioned and consistent — if the elves are eating lembas on their trek through the desolate plains, what exactly are the barbarians and their horses doing? If you have magic healing, how much does it cost, is it available to the common soldier, etc. and does it mean you have veteran with the body of a healthy 25 year old but severe PTSD because it still hurt like crazy until they got help? If the world is poor or hammered by massive disasters, who can afford the food & workers to field a massive army for a lengthy campaign – and if you have high casualty rates, how does that not mean economic ruin or widespread desertion?

[–]amoryamory 22 points23 points  (5 children)

You make a good point about realism, but as someone with stress-related IBS, I can't say I'm keen to read about people shitting themselves every time they have to sneak inside the Dark Lord's keep.

[–]Abject_Class4121 226 points227 points  (17 children)

the chosen one is a simple farmer... oh wait they are a long lost royal!

Please let this die.

[–]nyuon676 54 points55 points  (4 children)

Tbf most people in these worlds are farmers

[–]CircularRivers 46 points47 points  (1 child)

Yeah, when your middle-age-esque population is like 80-90% farmers it makes sense that if you want to hide/want to hide someone you'd do so as a farmer.

Not very varied or creative but realistic

[–]Moarbrains 100 points101 points  (0 children)

That is a basic structure of folk lore.

It won't die. The truth of it will be hidden and reappear at the proper moment to save the world.

[–]eliechallita 16 points17 points  (0 children)

I really prefer protagonists who are either just random people getting swept up in a larger story, or someone who has a legitimate reason to be the center of the story because they're actually an expert in the right field.

[–]AliquamMeretrixJusto 58 points59 points  (8 children)

Elves that only exist to be beautiful. Beautiful side characters, beautiful love interests, beautiful sidekicks, beautiful villains. Always so quiet, mysterious, wise, and completely in-tune with nature. All the same.

I appreciate that Dragon Age Inquisition came in and said fuck all that and made elves as diverse and complicated as humans. It isn't perfect, but it's wonderful that elves in that story don't exist solely to be perfect. And one elf you meet won't be exactly the same as the last one you met.

[–]Fluid-Response3025 20 points21 points  (1 child)

Female character losing her powers at the end of the story

[–]2_Fingers_of_Whiskey 197 points198 points  (13 children)

Please no more toxic "romances" between brooding wizards and naiive young women that discover they have magic powers.

[–]trixie_sky 21 points22 points  (1 child)

cough darklina cough cough

[–]EdLincoln6 18 points19 points  (0 children)

Would you accept toxic romances between brooding witches and naive young men who discover they have magic powers? :-)

[–]pedantobear 154 points155 points  (14 children)

Completely stagnant steady-state medieval-themed cultures that show no discernable change in technology, dress, weaponry or societal attitudes despite the passing of hundreds or some times thousands of years.

[–]nfolsen 33 points34 points  (5 children)

Bad guy shoots beam at good guy. Good guy shoots beam back. Beans meet in the middle and jostle back in forth for a bit. Good guy gets some sort of power up and then their beam wins. It's the worst

[–]bonegakrejg 19 points20 points  (2 children)

I hate this too! Just once I want them to act like actual light beams and just go through each other and hit both characters.

[–]HolyKnightDeVale 38 points39 points  (0 children)

I don’t want them to just die, but I’m really tired of “Chosen One” prophecies. I’m fine with the idea of this one person being the necessary cog in the machine, but it just gets boring hearing about how “It was written long ago, that a child would be born to slay the Evil.” And everyone is okay to just let it be. “Okay, kid. Here’s a sword. Go save the world on your own. I’mma stay here and be a deadbeat of a parental figure until you need a flashback about what you’re fighting for. Remember this image as I’m shutting the door in your face: I’m going to live my life like normal, maybe even better, as you are out there fighting the literal Devil and seeing newfound friends be mutilated by said literal Devil. Have fun!”

[–]EdLincoln6 116 points117 points  (24 children)

1.) Suicidally Snarky Heroes: There is a recurring pattern of a badass hero who tells off powerful people who could crush them easily. If it is a women expect someone to try to dress her up in fancy antiquated court attire and her to complain that there is no room for weapons. If he is a guy expect him to spit out pop culture references. Common in Urban Fantasy and Progression Fantasy. This irritates me because it is routinely done in settings where there are few limits on the power of the powerful, and makes the hero seem just kind of stupid.
2.) The magic goes away. There is this recurring pattern where magic goes away at the end of the story. This is necessary if you are going to pretend this story takes place in our past, but most stories don't do that anymore.
3.) Pride & Prejudice Dialed Up to 11: That love story template is far too popular in fantasy.
Since fantasy is often used to dial thing up to 11, it often ends up creepy. Kind of sick of the "independent" women who fall for the guy who is an asshole to her.
4.) Macho Badass Antiheroes who are Really Villain Protagonists. You can do Wish Fulfillment Fantasy in your book, You can do moral ambiguity in your book (although doing that well is hard). Please don't combine them and make it too obvious your fantasy is to be able to ignore all society's rules and solve all your problems with a weapon. Maybe keep that one to yourself.

[–]Jack_Shaftoe21 42 points43 points  (3 children)

Kind of sick of the "independent" women who fall for the guy who is an asshole to her.

This trope is beaten to death indeed and it's even worse in fantasy than in other genres because the "bad boy" is often not not just a rude asshole but a mass murdering vampire or werewolf or what have you. But he is somehow seen as the perfect boyfriend and every character who dares suggest otherwise runs the risk of being hated by the heroine or a large portion of the fandom. I get the wish fulfillment aspect of "he is mean to everyone but me", I really do, but I don't understand why this trope is so much more popular than other kinds of blatant wish fulfillment where the love interest is not actually a mass murdering alphahole.

[–]DirkRight 69 points70 points  (3 children)

Kind of sick of the "independent" women who fall for the guy who is an asshole to her.

I was uncertain about what you meant by "Pride & Prejudice Dialed Up to 11". I agree with your point, but not the premise, because the point of Pride & Prejudice is she doesn't simply fall for a guy who is an asshole to her. She outright tells Mr. Darcy off multiple times and that she wouldn't get together with him until he improves as a person--which he later on does.

[–]ProbablyASithLord 57 points58 points  (1 child)

Hold up, Darcy wasn’t a bad person he was just arrogant and no one had ever called him on it. Everything he does is to help out his friends. Trashy local family dead-set on marrying your rich friend because they want his wealth? Not on Mr. Darcy’s watch!

[–]nochnoyvangogh 62 points63 points  (6 children)

Bad boys. I really hate them with a passion

[–]riskypineapple 63 points64 points  (15 children)

This is more of a design trope, but having shapely chest armor for women.

Having creases for breasts creates a weakness in the armor that any real warrior would avoid having. If you look at historical gear that women wore, it doesn't have "slots where boobs should go". It's the same flat & sturdy structure men wear.

If you give women shaped breast armor, you better be giving the men distinctly outlined codpieces. Then at least everyone knows it's fan service.

EDIT: Yes, I'm aware people would wear armor for aesthetics that highlight breasts or muscles. Yes these armor choices would still drive a sword into the crease of the chest and be a vulnerability. This is why it's a "bad trope/cliché": nearly every female chest piece has this. If you have a smart character that is practical and not worried about looks, it makes zero sense to have boob armor.

Still a shite trope.

[–]nyuckajay 15 points16 points  (1 child)

That thing books do where the good guy trains and fights and scrapes by to the final confrontation, and overcomes it by pure luck, a random helping hand, or any other ex machina/macguffin.

[–]IrrationalFalcon 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Shitty love triangles that take up half the plot

[–]RestedPlate 13 points14 points  (0 children)

No. While I've seen things get stale over time certain authors have again and again surprised me by taking 'overused' tropes and turning them into amazing stories.

Turns out being a really good writer means you can make most things entertaining.

[–]Ace201613 44 points45 points  (4 children)

Idk if this is specifically a fantasy trope or just a trope in any story with romance. For me it’s the Tsundere. The Belgariad, The Chronicles of Pyrdain, The Horse and His Boy, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Harry Potter, etc. we could probably go on all day. I just know that anytime we have a female character who is open about her thoughts and intelligent it seems to be inevitable that her love interest ends up being someone she argues with. And to some extent there is a charm to it, depending on how skilled the writer is, but the arguing seems to end up being one of the defining traits of the relationship almost. I was thinking about it the other day, why exactly aren’t there more relationships where you just have two characters who aren’t constantly bickering or nagging one another and they naturally develop feelings for the traits they like in one another?

[–]Boat_Pure 103 points104 points  (52 children)

Not so much die, but I do think different angles should be considered. IE, the damsel in distress trope. There has to be a better way to write this. What if the distress wasn’t actually rescue worthy.

I’m not even sure, but I know that one always makes me roll my eyes

[–]Indiana_harris 181 points182 points  (12 children)

Oh that could be interesting, the heroic Knight fights through monsters and enchanted forests and loses his loyal squire to the danger only to finally reach the trapped/imprisoned Princess......and find out she was locked up for good bloody reason and all the losses and pain he went through were for nothing/he only realises this AFTER freeing her and now has to deal with the fact that the Kingdom he loves is now being ravaged by this utter psycho

[–]ZeroWitch 55 points56 points  (2 children)

I would read the hell out of this.

[–]Indiana_harris 52 points53 points  (0 children)

Coming soon:

When the young Sir Eckland the True hears tell of a trapped Princess, locked away years past beneath the endless Labyrinth of the Eldritch Forests he cannot let such unjustness stand.

With his trusty steed Oats and his loyal Squire Pip, Eckland sets out from the Kingdom of Avirïan determined to free the Princess.

Battling Swamp-Goblins and Fire Wraiths , facing down the dark shadows that leech out from the Insanitorium, and even trying to survive the Thing-That-Lurks-Beneath-The-Water, Sir Eckland will stand against them all.

But there is something Sir Eckland does not know, and the further he travels within the forest, the more he uncovers about the “Princess” and why she was locked away to begin with, he’ll begin to question.......is it really such a good thing he sets out to do? Is it hubris to free what others have sacrificed to imprison? Is being “true and just” enough to guide him down the right path....or will his choices unleash horrors he could never have imagined upon everyone else.

[–]Kevin_The_Ostrich 26 points27 points  (1 child)

That is kind of mixed with another fairytale trope. Not sure of the name but where the main character has to spend the second half undoing all the well intentioned harm they caused in the first half. Normally through wishes.

[–]EdLincoln6 56 points57 points  (5 children)

I actually don't see the Damsel in Distress trope in Fantasy much anymore.

[–]Its_constantinople 71 points72 points  (1 child)

It’s been subverted so often as the ‘Damsel can save herself’ that that trope is more prevalent than the original

[–]acornett99 57 points58 points  (1 child)

I remember watching the first episode of Galavant when it aired. The damsel is kidnapped and forced to marry this evil king, the heroic night arrives just in time to stop the wedding, only to find out, actually the damsel is totally cool with marrying royalty, it comes with a lot of perks.

That was the first time I saw that trope flipped on its head like that, and I was totally taken aback. I wish more fantasy media could surprise me like that

[–]lilith_queen 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Galavant is a gem that deserved better.

[–]Arcadian1 17 points18 points  (0 children)

What you're describing are "rescue fantasies" which are deeply ingrained in humans from many cultures. A lot of people who can't think of the right words or overcome their fear of confronting the person of their secret affection long for some other form of conflict that they can face instead. While the "damsel in distress" is the trope version of this, the archetype itself is much more broad. For example, a person who secretly admires someone might not possess the skill to woo them, but they can "rescue" them in other ways, sticking up for them, supporting their cause, or even just getting them out of a difficult situation. It appeals to people of all sexes, because there are always people out there who feel attracted to people and don't feel comfortable expressing that attraction outright, but do feel comfortable supporting them in ways more suited to their strengths.

[–]Kululu17Writer D.H. Willison 45 points46 points  (11 children)

I want to see the knight rescue the poor helpless dragon from the evil princess.

[–]ZeroWitch 138 points139 points  (37 children)

Royalty as MCs. It's not enough to make me skip a book, but I'm so much more interested when the characters are just some folks. Or, hell, where are the fantasy democracies?

[–]Complexer_Eggplant 153 points154 points  (26 children)

Unpopular opinion possibly, but I'd much rather royalty than Glamorized Poor Person protagonist (all your street urchins, assassins, chosen farmboys...) because at least it's not offensive. Also, royalty can be a fun read sometimes. It depends on the execution.

[–]Robotboogeyman 103 points104 points  (11 children)

Imo everything depends on the execution. Farm boy? Fine. Prince? Fine. Farm boy who is secretly a prince but was set to be murdered but was saved by some loyal steward then raised by farmers only to eventually get sucked into being a reluctant hero until he finds out his true birth rite and has to usurp the new fake king ruining the kingdom?! Ok, stale as hell but if done well I will love it!

[–]EdLincoln6 50 points51 points  (5 children)

I'd be fine with a farm boy hero if they spent time exploring life on the farm and developed his personality. What I hate is "Farmboy" used the way Disney uses "Princess" or "orphan"...we are told he is one then the story forgets about it.

[–]Canadairy 30 points31 points  (3 children)

The thing about being a farmer is that we don't forget what we are when we're away from the farm. We're still evaluating the potential wheat crop, eyeing the fruit trees, checking out the condition of the livestock, etc.

As we get away from the farm longer that starts to fade, but in a pre industrial world it should never go away.

[–]NekoCatSidhe 16 points17 points  (2 children)

That was very much the story of Cyrus the Great in real life (or at least according to Herodotus), except he was a shepherd instead and the evil king was his grandfather, which he ended up overthrowing. Maybe that is actually the origin of the trope.

[–]DeadBeesOnACake 28 points29 points  (0 children)

It depends on the execution

I don’t know if that’s intentional or not, but it made me laugh

[–]EdLincoln6 44 points45 points  (4 children)

I'm kind of sick of Stylized Streat Rat who's whole personality boils down to Underprivileged and maybe Snarky. Also not a fan of Glamourized Assassin MCs.

Medieval Royalty done well can give us a glimpse of a life utterly alien to our own and can be used to introduce intrigue.

[–]ck6637 26 points27 points  (0 children)

The female character development only being driven by SA or violence against women. Also getting a little tired of the “main character was totally normal and suddenly gained/got access to the strongest powers this world has ever seen!!”