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  • Writer's pictureJenna Moreci

10 Worst Fantasy Tropes in Books Part 2

HelloOoOo everybody!

Several years ago, I made a video of the ten worst tropes in fantasy books, and guess what? All of those tropes still suck. But I've read a lot more books since then and I've come across a lot more suckage so now felt like the perfect time to update that list. Today I'm breaking down ten more fantasy tropes that I cannot stand. Some of these tropes are problematic and should be retired completely. Others honestly would be fine, except for the fact that writers have done them to death. They're beating that horse with all their might, and I am so bored of it. Thanks for ruining a good thing, asshole.

You might agree with some of these points. You might be outraged, but either way, this is my channel and I do what I want. Now I won't be repeating any of the tropes from my first video. So if there's a trope you feel like I missed, check out that video. It might be on there. And if there's a trope that I missed in both videos, let me know in the comments below. I wanna hear what really grinds your gears. Now buckle up because it's time for some hard truths about one of my favorite genres. Let's get to it.

This video is sponsored by Fabled Planet. As always, all opinions are my own.

If you haven’t already, don’t forget to also subscribe to my YouTube channel for more writing tips, sarcasm, and of course, more of Princess Butters!


Number 1: The Kingdom HAS To Be Ruled by a Man

I don't care if the ruler is a dude, but when he has to be a dude, and if he has a female heiress, she has to get married to a dude in order for him to inherit the throne, I'm putting the book down. Ninety percent of fantasy does this. It's old and tired, and extremely redundant. Listen, this is a fantasy world, you are literally making up the whole thing. Why are you choosing to repeat the same system of government that has already been written a zillion times?

And what's crazy to me is a lot of authors will say “Yeah, I know it sucks that the princess has to get married to a man so that he can take the throne, but unfortunately, that's just how it is.” Yeah, because you made it that way. No one put a gun to your head. You are the reason the princess is stuck in that stupid cliche. Honestly, this complaint isn’t entirely about feminism. It's honestly mostly because this system of government has been written so many times. Let's just say there's a reason I wrote Thessen as a matriarchy in The Savior's Champion. I just wanted to see something different, okay?

Number 2: Mates

I don't care if your characters are fated to be together, but must we use the word mates? If you're saying soulmate, that's fine, but “mates” by itself? As in, "You are my mate.” They sound like dogs! Which I guess kinda works if you're writing about werewolves. But with faeries or Elves or any other fantasy union, it's fucking gross. It just adds a very animalistic element to the relationship. Maybe that's what the author was going for. Maybe animalistic reads as primal to them? To me, it's giving bestiality. It's taking all the sexy out of sex, and making it feel like dogs humping in a puppy mill. Do fated mates like it rough, or do they like it ruff?

Number 3: Alphabet Soup Names

How the fuck are we supposed to pronounce this name? Daenerys. Or this name? Chaol. Sure, we know how to pronounce the first one because it eventually became a TV show. But I swear to God, there was no one in this entire universe who read the book and got it right the first time. And it's not just completely unpronounceable names, it's also annoying when a writer takes a real name and then just spells it funny. Her name isn't Faith, it’s Faythe. Why? What was the reason?

It's giving white Midwestern suburban mom. His name isn't Jackson, it's Jaxon. Her name isn't Cameron, it's Kamryn. I don't know if you're trying to create the McKinley Kaylee Ray vibe, but that's exactly what you're doing. And I'm not saying you should stick with generic names. I love unique names, and names from other cultures. But if you're inventing a name with twenty-seven vowels, it's time to calm down. Save the insanity for your magic system.

Number 4: Dirty Sex

Literally dirty sex. Like they're fucking up against a tree in the woods. They haven't bathed for the entire duration of the book, and now they're all up in each other's holes. Bitch you know that dick stinks. What person in their right mind would want to put a filthy wiener in their mouth? Can you imagine?

And can we circle back to the tree fucking? Why is everyone in fantasy books humping against trees? That sounds painful as hell. Also really messy. Imagine the bark in your butt crack. And the bugs! What about the fucking bugs? I know you're not supposed to think about this stuff, it's fantasy, it's not real, but my mind is going there. Have you read a fantasy novel where the characters are literally fucking in the snow? I have. How does the guy even get hard in those conditions? Won't they die of hypothermia? Lots of stuff in fantasy books doesn't have to make sense, but the sex at the very least should be plausible and not stinky. I don't wanna be thinking about how much the hero's balls reek while he's clapping cheeks.

Number 5: Mentors

Everyone's favorite fantasy character is my least favorite fantasy character. Mentors are boring. I'm sorry. I'm not actually sorry. There's just rarely any variety to them. They're usually old, wise, white men who say old, wise, white things. And it's all very old, and very wise, and very white, and very male. You've lost my interest. Plus, we all know the mentor’s gonna die. How else will the hero learn to fend for himself? I honestly feel like stories are a lot more interesting without a mentor because it raises the stakes. No one is there to help the main character. It's up to them to screw up and learn from their mistakes. I just think mentors make things too easy. Honestly, the characters themselves are just the same thing, different books. How many Gandalfs do we really need?

Number 6: This Entire Fantasy Race Is Evil?

Obviously, racism is a real thing. And it's not unbelievable for two fantasy races to hate each other. But there's a difference between Elves hating the Fae and believing them to be an evil race, versus all of the Fae actually being a wholly evil race. Sure, maybe the Fae government has goals that directly contradict the interests of the Elves. And maybe there are genetic elements that give different fantasy races unique traits. For example, in a lot of Fae mythology, the faeries cannot lie. But evil isn't a simple personality trait, it's the result of an amalgamation of both inside and outside forces. Basically to label every single person within a unique fantasy race as evil just comes off as lazy writing. It shows a lack of thought and characterization, plus an overall lack of understanding regarding relationships between different cultures. It's fine if Elves hate the Fae, but opinion isn't synonymous with fact.

Number 7: I Had No Idea I Was a Magical Being!

Listen, I love a big reveal. I love secrets, I love lies, I eat that shit up. What kills me is when a character doesn't know their own identity despite an overwhelming amount of evidence. It's one thing for a character to ignore the signs around them, but in this case, the signs are literally on and in their own body. You've got scars on your back from where your wings used to be. You have literally experienced magic your entire life. How has it never occurred to you that you are a magical creature? You're doing magic!

The characters are usually in denial. “Oh, I'm not magical. That was just a weird coincidence.” Bitch, you shot flames out of your hands. What more evidence do you need? This trope doesn't have legs to stand on, and I don't know why it's so prevalent because it doesn't make sense. If there weren't any signs I’d buy it, but if the character is regularly reading other characters' thoughts, bitch come on.

Number 8: Regurgitated Dungeons and Dragons

I'm about to piss a lot of people off. I don't like Dungeons and Dragons. (Gasp!)

Yeah, I said it. Honestly, it just doesn't appeal to me. The brand of fantasy it's giving just isn't my jam. If you're into D&D, that's totally your prerogative, but it's really obvious when writers base their books on their D&D sessions. The story is usually old-school fantasy, it's very rigid, there’s a lot of self-inserting, and there's also a lot of nonsensical story elements and characterization that's probably fun for a game, but just totally inappropriate for a published novel. But more than anything, the stories meander. It's possible to use D&D for inspiration for a novel but to regurgitate it roll-by-roll is a fucking mess. Novels are supposed to follow a specific story structure. Use that structure, for the love of God. I know you're emotionally attached to your characters and your sessions, but that doesn't mean they fit seamlessly into fiction.

Number 9: Magical Tattoos

There's nothing wrong with tattoos in fiction. I actually think they offer a lot of variety and realism, but magical tattoos specifically have been done to death. Cassandra Clare made it popular, and then Sarah J. Maas turned it into a fucking frenzy. Now literally every other new fantasy release has at least one character with magical tattoos. Let's be real, he's usually a guy, probably has dark hair, and those tattoos are on his chest and shoulders. Tell me you're trying to replicate the Bat Boys without telling me you're trying to replicate the Bat Boys.

And I get it, fictional tattoos are hot. I say fictional because we've all seen some real-life tattoos that were pretty terrible. But there are other ways to make your characters hot. And what's wrong with regular tattoos that aren't made of fairy dust or special powers? Why can't the character get tatted to honor their fantasy race or some other shit? Like I said, this trope isn't bad to its core. It's just the fact that everyone's doing it, and they're all doing it the exact same way. Write something different, please.

Number 10: The Sausage Fest

This is annoying in any book, but I found it's especially common in sci-fi and fantasy. You've got a ratio of about twenty male characters for every one female character. And if by chance you have more than one female character, say two female characters, best believe those two ladies are never going to end up in a scene together. This is such outdated, unrealistic, poorly conceived storytelling. And you’d think it'd be left behind in the Tolkien era, but people are still whipping out all these boys club books. What year is it? It's honestly just embarrassing at this point. You can claim it's not intentional, but how did you "accidentally" exclude 50% of the population? Sounds like something a dumbass would do, which I guess is better than being a misogynist, but either way, there's no winning here. Your book still sucks.

So that's all I've got for you today!

Author Jenna Moreci.

Well, that’s my list of ten more of the absolute worst tropes in fantasy fiction. Friendly reminder that this list is just my humble, but completely correct opinion. And I reserve the right to change my mind. Whether that'll actually happen remains to be seen.


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