Tropes that make me pick up a book immediately

Posted 14-12-2021 by Marion in Allgemein, Discussions / 7 Comments

Today I wanna talk about bookish tropes. I mean, there are so many and it might just by my favourite topic. Who doesn’t like talking about tropes?

And in case, you don’t actually know what a trope is: In books and films (and other media), a trope is simply something – like the part of the plot, the character or something that happens in the timeline – that you will find repeatedly in different stories. It refers to anything that gets used often enough to be recognized. For example, uh, there is a girl who can transform into a crime-fighting hero in a shower of glitter. Sounds familiar? Boom, you recognise the Magical Girl Trope.

The title of this post is pretty self-explanatory, although I have to admit that I’m mostly focusing on MG tropes but just…let’s dive right into it, okay?

The Chosen One Trope

Explanation: The Chosen One has been chosen by some force, be it a prophecy, some special parents, a birthmark or else, and they are now the only ones capable of resolving the plot.

Examples:

  • Harry Potter
  • Percy Jackson
  • Cinder

Listen. I know this one can be extremely tedious but I’m still a sucker for it. Maybe there is a desire burning inside me somewhere to be special and to be acknowledged and to safe the world and be a hero. Who knows? I just love the trope, I love that there is so much stacked against that hero, so much that they have to do, so much out of their control. It forges a bond between the reader and the hero which is of the reasons why I love it so much.

The Reluctant Hero Trope

Explanation: Our hero really doesn’t want to be a hero. They didn’t ask for this, okay? Not these superpowers, not this magic, not this prophecy or this curse or whatever. Why can’t they just be normal? Often this is coupled with a hero’s journey they undergo to get back to the statusquo they knew. Sometimes they manage to achive it. Sometimes, they realize that this new life they live is not really that bad.

Examples:

  • Wilderlore
  • Avatar, the last airbender
  • The Secret Garden
  • The Unmapped Chronicles

I really love the Reluctant Hero. In a way, I’m enough of a coward to probably not be psyched about having some destiny thrust upon me that will upend my whole life, I’m bad with change like that. But I love reading about that. Especially when it’s the “it might not be what they wanted but what they needed all along” kind of thing. That’s so great.

Hero gets whisked away to a different world Trope

Explanation: Well, technically I think this is kinda self-explanatory. The hero gets transported to a world that is not their own. Sometimes per accident, sometimes because there is some kind of problem and our hero is the only one that can save everything.

Examples:

  • The Unmapped Chronicles
  • The Land of Roar
  • Wonderscape

Is this the most amazing trope or what? Sure it often incorporates the Chosen One or the Reluctant Hero trope but the whole idea that there are whole worlds out there that are so much different from our own – more magical, more scifi, more prehistoric, more medival, take your pick – is amazing to me.

(Okay, technically our own world can be pretty amazing too. I don’t deny it. But sometimes, especially in times like these, you just want to get taken away and be somewhere else completely. Which is why this trope is so wonderful.)

Secret world hidden in our own Trope

Explanation: This one is similar to the “Gets whisked to another world” trope. While in the other trope our hero gets someplace really different, in this trope the hero’s eyes get opened to something that was right under their nose for the longest time but they have never realized it.

Examples:

  • Harry Potter
  • Percy Jackson
  • Spellsweeper
  • The Menagerie

This one is also one of my great loves. Sometimes our day-by-day can be so grey and we see the same boring stuff. It is wonderful to think that there is something magical hiding in plain sight and that the world is much more magical and secretive than we can imagine.

Secret school trope

Explanation: I think it’s pretty much self-explanatory as well. Our hero has some special powers or incredible knowledge and needs to learn how to use them. Where better to hone those skills than in a school specializing in those cases far off from pesky humans who would absolutely try to harness the powers our hero possesses?

Examples:

  • Harry Potter
  • Woodwalkers
  • Percy Jackson
  • Nevermoor
  • 10 Riddles of Eartha Quicksmith

You know, I never hated school but mostly it was just boring. Which is funny because I love learning. I just don’t like studying. But I’m sure many of you are the same. Which begs to say, who wouldn’t have wanted to go to a super secret boarding school to learn how to be a wizard/witch or how to slay monsters with an epic sword or how to properly shapeshift? Right?

Wow, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson sure are posterboys for tropes today, huh? Well, they aren’t some of the most loved books for nothing. Anyway, these are some of my favourite tropes. You put this in your book and I wanna read. Gimme.

What are some of your favourite (MG) book tropes? Do you agree with my list?

7 responses to “Tropes that make me pick up a book immediately

    • I know it’s almost ridiculous. Then again, maybe I love those books because of the tropes. Or do I love the tropes because of the books? We will never know. 😂

  1. Oh I love the transported to another world trope (especially in manga/anime) and also the secret school trope!

    • I absolutely love the secret school trope. It’s one of the most imaginative tropes I know. I recently read a book where the school basically small treehouses in a gigantic tree and the houses were made from old ships. So cool!

  2. I have a soft spot for the Chosen One trope also, but my absolute favorite is the Portal World trope (aka Alice In Wonderland or Chronicles of Narnia). And I also do love a good friends-to-lovers plotline. 🙂

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