Monday, January 23, 2017

TOP TEN TUESDAYS | Tropes I Have Loved, Part I

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme for bloggers who like books and lists. It's awesome and is graciously hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  
This week's Top Ten Tuesday is a freebie!   I decided to list a few of my favorite tropes.  Sometimes tropes get a bad rap and certainly if they are written poorly they can feel stale and derivative.  When they are done well however....Boom!'s magic.  There are probably literally hundreds of tropes that I like to read so consider this the first ten that came to mind (hence the Part I in the post title).

1) Cross-dressing females.

When a girl has to hide her gender in order to pursue her dreams or otherwise do something she can't do as a female.  I think this trope has such appeal because usually these women are rejecting female oppression and they tend to be strong and brave characters.  Also, there is a lot of drama in someone hiding their identity and it brings up all kinds of complex emotions and psychological questions.
EXAMPLES: Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy by Karen Abbott (non-fiction - a goodly number of ladies did this so they could fight in the Civil War! For reals!); Alana by Tamora Pierce (YA, Fantasy); Coffee Prince and Splash, Splash, Love (K-Dramas)

2) Love Triangles 

Don't shoot me! This is an easy one to do poorly AND I so mostly only love it when it's two girls and one guy.  Honestly I don't want to examine too closely the possibly non-feminist implications here.  I think maybe what I actually like the most is rooting for the under-dog and of course I identify more with under-dog women and their love being requited. And now that I think about it I don't know that gender matters so much as the situation... but this is getting really complicated so I'm gonna shut up now. 
EXAMPLES:  Some Kind of Wonderful (John Hughes Film); Persuasion by Jane Austen (Hero makes right choice, yay!); Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Hero makes wrong choice, boo!), Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Hero makes right choice, yayish!) [are you starting to see a pattern with Austen, lol], The School for Good and Evil Series by Soman Chainani

3) Bad-ass Loner Lady Finds Love

I think the feelings involved with my love of number two, also motivate my love for this trope.  
EXAMPLE: The Kate Daniels Series by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels is the best bad ass loner lady!), Dana Scully from The X Files (TV), Sam Carter from Stargate SG-1.

4) Rich and Popular Guy/Girl falls in love with Poor and Unpopular Guy/Girl

Again, I think this is very closely related to the two above - the underdog getting what in a fictional world is a happy ending.
EXAMPLE: Cinderella:0)

5) Chosen Families 

I love my family and think they're pretty all right but there's nothing like the family you choose. Those friends and companions that you know have got your back and love you because you're awesome and not just because they have to.
EXAMPLE: Firefly (Television show by Joss Whedon), Lord of the Rings (Frodo and Sam), most any quest fantasy honestly, The Palace Job by Patrick Weekes, The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

6) Scrappy Orphan Saves the World/Kicks Butt

Sometimes it seems like every fantasy novel hero or heroine is an orphan.  The thing is, It usually totally works.  It sets up the character to be self-reliant and resilient and usually makes them the underdog.  And again is their anything better than the underdog winning?
EXAMPLE: this little series called HARRY POTTER by J.K. Rowling - maybe you've heard of it?

7) Hate-to-Love Romances and It's Opposite Friends to Lovers 

Wow. I have a lot of love related tropes that I like.  Ahem.... The Hate to Love romance is all about the banter and the the slow-burn nature of these relationships.  Friends to lovers can be equally satisfying because they also tend to be slowly developing and evolving.
EXAMPLES: Hate to Love - Starflight by Melissa Landers, Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell, Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase; Friends to Lovers - Lost Stars by Claudia Gray; Oddly Both - A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean, Anne of Green Gables L.M. Montgomery

8) Vampires

This feels like a guilty confession:0). I can't help it, Vampires have been my favorite monster (everyone has a favorite monster, right?) since I was a wee thing.  True not all vampires are created equal and I don't love every story that involves them, but I do at least have a spark of interest when vampires are invoked.  
EXAMPLES: Salem's Lot by Stephen King, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV Show by Joss Whedon), Dracula by Bram Stoker, Sunshine by Robin McKinley

9) Quests

There is just something about a quest fantasy that I can't get enough of.  The adventure, the hardships and the heart it takes to get through them, it just never gets old.  
EXAMPLES:  The Belgariad by David Eddings, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum, Avatar: The Last Airbender (TV Show)

10) Headstrong Fancy Ladies that Head West

This is one of the more obscure tropes that I love and I've encountered it most frequently in TV. This is when an upper class East Coast lady in the U.S. or Canada moves out to the frontier during the "wild west" period.  The attraction I think is watching these women that are fish out of water, find their strength and adapt.
EXAMPLE: Deadwood (TV Series - Alma Garrett); When Calls the Heart (VERY cheesy TV Series based on a book - Elizabeth Thatcher); Hell on Wheels (TV Series - Lily Bell); Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt


That's just the tip of the iceberg as far as favorite tropes goes but it's a good start.  What are some of the tropes that you really enjoy?

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