Fantasy Clichés are there for a reason.
Great books were written. Readers took them to heart. Publishers decided to provide more of the good stuff. Eventually, copycat styles flood the market. The tropes written about become fantasy clichés. Now, I’m not saying the points below are bad. But sometimes, when they all come together at once (as they so often do) you can easily predict not only the ending, but the journey to get there. After all, you’ve probably read it before.
The Prophecy / The Chosen One
A singular, uninspiring person, probably an orphan, is rescued from their dull, ordinary life and revealed to be The Chosen One! All they have to do is master their incredibly complex secret magical abilities in a super quick training montage and then, blam! World Domination. Except not quite, because they are always the good guys.
Magic Needs Pain
Yes, magic that can do anything would be boring. It would solve everything and anything and no plot would be necessary. However, why always pain? Just because magic is awesome doesn’t mean it needs sacrifice to work! How about a limitation due to evolution, or just basic world building putting restrictions on the use of magic?
Species Unoriginality / Uniformity
Okay, fantasy tends to come with a certain set of expectations and high fantasy usually involves elves, orcs, goblins and the like (Thanks Tolkien). However, very rarely do these creatures change or differ from book to book. They follow the same lines consistently, e.g. Elves are tall, beautiful, serene, given to riddles, immortal and love to sing or materialise out of trees with bows and arrows.
The Bad Guy Needs Depth Too
James Bond villains – not fantasy, but perfectly demonstrate this issue. The Bad Guy wants to destroy the world! Um, why? You live here too. Bring on the complex, three dimensional bad guys who have legitimate reasons for believing their way is the best way, for everyone involved. Only so many super crazies can keep a lid on it long enough to get into power.
The Wise Old Mentor
Just come into your powers? Not sure what the heck is going on? Enter a riddle-me-this type mentor, grizzled with age and, unbeknownst to you, the scars of a hundred victorious battles. He’ll guide you into using your powers, only ever as a helping hand and never giving you the answers – even if you’re under fire, wounded and about to be captured by the enemy. You’ll work it out in time, after all, you’re the Chosen One.
Do you have any Fantasy Clichés to add to this list? Do you mind them in stories, or do you find them comforting? Let me know what you think of Fantasy Clichés in the comments below or on Twitter @EchoFoxBooks!