Posted in Books

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Tropes

THIS IS THE TOP TEN TUESDAY I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR.

There’s a meme going around Twitter where readers who claim to hate cliches cry over their favorite archetypes and genre conventions.

The grumpy one loves the sunshine one? I’m tearing up already.

(RONAN’S SECOND SECRET WAS ADAM PARRISH.)

For my favorite tropes, I chose a mix of stylistic choices and relationship dynamics.

Will I bring up Ronan Lynch? I ALREADY HAVE.

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Tomboy and Girly Girl OR Sensitive Guy and Manly Man

I’m not much for Opposites Attract romantic relationships, but I do love a good contrasting pair of best buds.

One person loves sports and punching and the other loves cake and feelings!

I love the ways these pairings take care of each other.

The tough one lends their muscle to the soft one’s cause. The soft one defends the tough one’s heart.

It’s beautiful.

 

Notable examples:

Sailor Moon and Sailor Jupiter (Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon)

Gansey and Ronan (The Raven Cycle)

 

Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy

Have I mentioned how much I hate gender roles today?

WELL, I HATE THEM.

Role reversals, however, I like.

Let MORE gender nonconforming characters fall in love!

As long as neither partner is demeaned for their “quirks,” I’m all for it.

 

Notable examples:

Mara Jade and Luke Skywalker (Star Wars expanded universe)

Katsa and Po (Graceling)

Jo and Laurie (Little Women)

 

Ragtag Bunch of Misfits

Part of why I WANTED to love The Disasters so much was this trope.

I love it when lonely rebels team up in spite of their broody peculiarities.

It’s like watching an improved version of The Breakfast Club (…IN SPACE!)

Disparate personalities CAN do good together.

 

Notable examples:

The Disasters (I assume – DNFed)

The Raven Cycle

Six of Crows

 

Family of Choice

Life is hard.

It helps to have people who support you no matter what.

Birth families can’t always provide that, leaving characters (especially queer teens) to seek support from outside sources.

One of my favorite literature equations: Ragtag Bunch of Misfits + The Power of Friendship = Family of Choice

FRIENDSHIP. IS. MAGIC.

 

Notable examples:

Weetzie Bat

Harry Potter

 

Troubled, but Cute

A former friend made fun of my fondness for this trope.

She saw my soft spot for bad boys as misplaced optimism.

She’d snicker and say, “I can change him!” whenever I gushed over Troubled-But-Cute characters.

(She, a healthy person, favored serial killers and verbal abusers.)

(Let me reiterate that we are no longer friends.)

My love for snarky jerks has more to do with “like recognizes like.”

I get what it feels like to be angry all the time.

I get not feeling safe enough to express vulnerability.

I remember being compared to “purer” peers.

I feel for male characters who, culturally, aren’t allowed to express hurt and frustration outside of fits of rage. (The price we pay for gender roles.)

My response to them is less, “I can fix him!” and more, “Me, too.”

 

Notable examples:

Kyo Sohma (Fruits Basket)

RONAN. NIALL. LYNCH. (The Raven Cycle)

 

 

Heel-Face Turn

Any time I see a promising villain, I’m DESPERATE for them to join the heroes.

And, sometimes, IT ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

I CAN’T SHARE ANY EXAMPLES BECAUSE THEY’RE ALL SPOILERS.

ALL villains, though, I’m CONVINCED could become good if they just TRIED.

I have hopes for a certain series that shall go unnamed.

It’s NOT STAR WARS.

Okay, also for Star Wars.

I know befriending your enemies doesn’t always work out, but it MAKES FOR GREAT FICTION.

THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP.

 

Loyal Animal Companion

(Specifically, a Cool Horse)

I love a loyal pet.

Cats are cool. Dogs’ll do. A wolf is nice.

If someone wants a rodent as a familiar, I’ll allow it.

BUT.

NOTHING beats a loyal steed.

Is the horse magic?

Does it wear armor?

Does it have a strong bond with the protagonist?

Khan from Mulan is my favorite film example, but THERE ARE OTHERS.

ON, SHADOWFAX. SHOW US THE TRUE MEANING OF HASTE.

 

Notable examples:

Shadowfax (The Lord of the Rings)

Moonlight (The Lioness Quartet)

Peachblossom (Protector of the Small)

 

Bodyguard Crush

I almost forgot my FAVORITE ROMANCE TROPE.

NOTHING BEATS A ROMANCE BETWEEN A BODYGUARD AND THEIR CHARGE.

There’s something so intense about, “I am sworn to protect them…BUT I’VE ALSO FALLEN IN LOVE WITH THEM.”

AND IIIIIIIIII WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOOOOOOOU.

 

Notable example:

Big shout-out to The Lunar Chronicles’ Jacin and Winter for their superhot friends-to-bodyguard-to-lovers relationship.

WHAT A JOURNEY.

 

Epistolary Novel

Fact: I will never get tired of novels written in letter format and/or some other atypical-yet-intriguing fashion.

Hmmmm…that explains why Paul’s letters were always my favorite books of the Bible.

I’m how old and I just made that connection?

 

Notable examples:

The Princess Diaries

Illuminae

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

I Capture the Castle

 

Anachronic Order

I am in awe of books that pull this style off.

My brain doesn’t always work in sequence – I make leaps and connections that circle back to the original idea only to rocket somewhere entirely new.

Reading a nonlinear story feels like a Tuesday morning in my head.

 

Notable examples:

Milkman

The Handmaid’s Tale

Dept. of Speculation

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There you have it.

What a grand topic.

If you have time, read some of the examples listed on each trope page.

You might find your next favorite book.

Author:

She/her. 4w3. Lover of vegan cream cheese and performative angst. Seattle-based writer currently dabbling in socialism and progressive Christianity. I love to call out, complain, overreact, analyze, and reimagine. This site contains the fruit of that labor.

7 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Tropes

  1. This is such a cool and unique list !!! I have family of choice in mine too, but everything else of yours is so different 👍👍❤️❤️ And Shadowfax !!! I wanna see the movie now…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’ve seen family of choice in a bunch of lists and I was psyched to see it in yours! I suppose we all like a supportive crew?
      Controversial opinion: Shadowfax is the best part of The Two Towers. He. Is. Gorgeous.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know right… looks like everyone loves friends like family 😍😍😍
        And I like the whole movie, but won’t deny Shadowfax is gorgeous ❤️❤️❤️

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Wine Book Tag

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