This contains a lot of my thought. I'm happy that people are trying to avoid and twist cliches but a lot of what makes fantasy powerful to me is the use of the great mythic archetypes we all grow up with. And for all we've seen a lot of them and maybe get a harder to please, I think most readers still light up when they see someone hit them in the sweet spot. Certainly, most of fantasy's breakouts are masters of it - Tolkien, Rowling, Pratchett, Martin. I'm not sure how many authors are deliberately not hitting for this kind of territory and how many just aren't making good contact but I feel its in short supply. Best use of stereotype might be a good spin-off thread actually. Mind you, so too is truly effective avoidance and reimagining. I feel like I read a lot of characters trapped between one and t'other. A bit familiar but with no real substance. Maybe all the room for reimagining has been taken up but I doubt it. I wish there was many fantasy taking big risks - wee kid MCs in books meant for adults, books making heavy use of illustrations (hybrid literary-graphic novels?), books with non-human protagonists... I didn't like Peter Newman's The Vagrant but I really wanted to based on what I read of it. More genre hybrids. More satire and parody. I suspects it all out there somewhere in the great SP slurry heap.