Favourite Fantasy Cliches

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#1
I see a lot about what Fantasy cliches we hate, but not much about the ones we love. But surely we couldn't read book after book if there weren't a lot of cliches we didn't have quite a lot of love for?

So what's your favourite cliches?

Me, myself, I have a lot of fondness for big gruff fighters with hearts of gold and (usually) a big axe.

I also like spymasters who inexplicably routinely go off to get all Jacobus Bonde instead of, you know, doing their job as spymaster and letting someone a bit more expendable do it.

Also: Elves, Dragons, Magnificent Bastards, Farmboys of Destiny.

(Apologies if this thread has been done before - I looked back a year without finding one so it seemed fair to start a new one)
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#2
I really dislike the cliché of main characters in series who go through complete personality and intelligence changes in order to further a poor plot line. It's happening big time in McClellan's new Wrath of Empire and is greatly disappointing. Otherwise the standard clichés are OK with me, especially young lad or lass who come of age. I like the growing process.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
#3
I do like the coming of age hero. Not sick of it depending on how it's done.

The old, grumpy teacher the bestows great knowledge upon the hero/heroine of the book. Like Mr. Miyagi in Karate Kid. Usually overly hard on the apprentice but it turns out well.
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#5
I recently came across two I couldn't help but love.

I rather hated Salvatore s icewind dale trilogy, but I loved it every time drizz t shirked his gruff professionalism to mutter a private nickname affectionately "rumblebelly' at his companion who he really should hate, but can't stop loving. I'm not sure what to call that cliche, but I've seen it lots, let's call it

"ill kill you if you look at me wrong, hard exterior, teddy bear soft interior."

I'll also add the hard frontier town sudden perfect defence when we thought they were doomed cliche.

I love a story with a population ready to defend themselves at all cost, where determination outweighs ability
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
#6
I see a lot about what Fantasy cliches we hate, but not much about the ones we love. But surely we couldn't read book after book if there weren't a lot of cliches we didn't have quite a lot of love for?

So what's your favourite cliches?

Me, myself, I have a lot of fondness for big gruff fighters with hearts of gold and (usually) a big axe.
I will go ahead and 2nd this one.

I also tend to be drawn to quirky characters. Think Auri from The Name of the Wind or Butters from Dresden Files. The wizard from Kings of the Wyld is another example.

I am also a sucker for training. Schools of magic and the like and to go along with that the master who is incredibly strong. They always make for fun backstories and dialogue.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#7
Too right on the training. Currently on the training scenes from Shadow of a Dark Queen again and it's good cheesy fun.

I'll also add the hard frontier town sudden perfect defence when we thought they were doomed cliche.

I love a story with a population ready to defend themselves at all cost, where determination outweighs ability
Bonus marks if there's lots of whacky traps.



I'm also going to add incredibly principled mercenaries to the list.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#8
I like a little comic relief to break the tension and seriousness. Bantering is ok, but I mean the characters kooky personalities, obsessions, manner of speaking. Like the loveable absent minded, sometimes goofy or arguably crazy, but extremely powerful wizard who when he gets serious everyone better listen. The wizard in Kingkillers is an example. Fantasy tries hard to imitate the brutality of life but too often overlooks the lighter side. Bob the skull with his dirty magazines is a favorite. Fairys can be funny too with their mannerisms and unique outlooks.I don’t usually like “funny” books but a few breathers in a book are welcome. I must admit, while I couldn’t stomach reading Dragonlane-Chronicles again at this point in my fantasy reading life the mischievous childlike Kender, scummy gnomes, and the wizard Zifnab/Fizban had me in stitches with their antics and lines more often than not. The interactions with Gimli and Legolas were classic (at least in the movie. Can’t remember the book.

Bad guys that are evil but also show a little bit of good so that just when you start to like an
antagonist they do something totally despicable.

Dragons that have the wisdom of ages. Maybe the “Mr.Smythe” sort in The Traitor Son Cycle.

Heroes with vulnerabilities. Bad asses bore me and no matter how realistic (aka to some as gritty) when the hero can beat everyone blondfolded with their hands tied behind their backs...well...so much for realistic. Luke and the force. Entertaining but pleeease. Charisma goes a long way with me. Kelsier. Need I say more?

Loveable twisted Gollum-like creatures. They add spice.

A fantasy book wirh mystery. Like the veiled shadow lands of the fairies in Shadowmarch. Where you are never lost but the secrets unravel in layers.
 

Maark Abbott

Journeyed there and back again
#10
Assassins who are edgelords.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#11
I really like catchphrases or motto's. Like Logen Ninefinger's "you've got to be realistic about these things" to Mat Cauthon's "let's roll the dice". Another example would be the Malazan army's "always an equal exchange" (a remark made from grunts to mages).

The repetition of sentences like this in appropriate places really does it for me.
 

jo zebedee

Journeyed there and back again
#12
I don't mind any tropes provided they are written well and I like the character. But I do like a nice down trodden, slightly beat up, coming up in years (Han Solo esque) fighter. I also love a well portrayed dashing space pilot.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
#13
I don't mind any tropes provided they are written well and I like the character. But I do like a nice down trodden, slightly beat up, coming up in years (Han Solo esque) fighter. I also love a well portrayed dashing space pilot.
One would have never guessed.

But a lot of love for that fighter archetype you mention. One of my favourites now I come to think about it - David Gemmell did it very well.
 

Ryan W. Mueller

Journeyed there and back again
#15
Come to think of it, I like pretty much any trope done well. I don't care if I've seen it a thousand times before, as long as the author puts their own spin on it.

I'm least fond of a lot of Grimdark tropes. It's just not my preferred type of fantasy.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
#16
Bromance: Royce and Hadrien, Mat Cauthon and Tom, Kvothe and Bast, Locke and Jean, Marcus Wester and Jardem Hanes, Jalan and Snori, Tyrion and Bron, Frodo and Sam, Gabriel and Michael from Red Kinght, and of course Falcio, Brasti and Kest just to name a few. Girlmances too, but they are rarely done well or at least I am not chancing on books with those. Nona and Ara from Red Sister is a great one.

Lower class infiltrating nobility.

Assassins and rogues: Royce and Hadrien, Kyler Stern, Kaz Brekker, Mat Cauthon, Kvothe, The Gentlemen Bastards, Hope and Red, Jimmy the Hand,

Magical schools, coming of age

I am undecided on dragons and naval adventures. I either love them or hate them with passion, depending on the situation.

I also love when a romance is done right in a story, but when it doesn't take more than 5-10% of the spotlight. Mat and Tuon, Hadrien and Arista, Vyn and Elend, the ones in Warbreaker and Elantris - there, but on the the outskirts of the story. Everything heavier than that usually has the tendency to go too far for my taste.

Court intrigues. The prince and the pauper, The three musketeers. A well-done revenge plot. Basically I'd love everything if it's not boring. :)
 

Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
#17
@ExTended
I have the same feelings on naval adventure . but I wonder if you can make the same conjecture I do.

I think it might be a matter of competence in the writer, some (not all) of the ones I tend to hate are written by people who know very little of ships, terms, navigation, and sailing (or combustion in the case of sailess ship adventures) and likely have never been out to sea.

while someone well versed and may even be directly familiar, tends to write better about it.

(write what you know)