It’s tropes I hate – part two! And here’s my list:
Resolving a love triangle by killing off one of the members, or making one of them into the ‘bad guy’.
I can’t honestly say I outright hate love triangles, although I can’t think of one I liked. But, without a doubt, I hate it when an author takes the easy way out and does this to one of the members of the triangle. It’s just a cheap solution, one where the main character (and, presumably, by extension the author) doesn’t ever have to really make that hard decision. There are many examples of this, but the first one that came to mind for me was how the whole Gale/Peeta thing was handled in the hunger games (in the movies at least).
The female character who is good at EVERYTHING.
This is something a bit more specific than the Mary Sue, although it has a very similar flavor. I think it’s another one of those strange results of the feminist movement. Sure, women are smart and strong and capable – but we are still human, we can’t do everything. So, when there’s some female character that is, somehow, an expert in everything she and her gang come across, it gets on my nerves. For one, it’s unrealistic, and I never appreciate a perfect character in any form. The example that came to mind for me is Samantha Carter from Stargate SG-1. She still has a character beyond her super-smartness so she’s not the worst example of this trope, but as a woman with a heavy STEM background, Sam’s knowledge of “all the science” really bugs me. No one is an expert in all things, especially super complicated things like engineering, physics, and quantum mechanics that each take literally YEARS of study to really understand. (Sorry Sam! She’s still a fun character in other ways, and I do love this show.)
The stupid father.
What’s the literary world have against fathers? Maybe it’s just the Hollywood sitcoms, but it seems like while mothers are generally portrayed positively, fathers are usually characterized as just plain dumb. Did all these authors have terrible childhoods? I’m not asking for all fathers to be good, but can they at least be semi-competent individuals with their own personalities and goals? There are dozens of examples I could choose for this trope, but the first I thought of was Elizabeth’s father from Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. (To be perfectly honest, his character works well within that story, but still, he’s the type of father I’m talking about. The Curse of the Black Pearl is actually one of my favorite movies!)
All animals are written to have the exact same personality and traits as the stereotypical dog.
Dogs are about the best of the best when it comes to animals (of course, that’s coming from someone who’s grown up with German Shepherds so maybe I’m just more fortunate than most) but, it still remains that all animals are not the same. Disney can get away with this to a certain degree, because the point of the story is often to whimsical and cute, but it bothers me when a plot point hinges on some non-canine animal behaving in a way a only a loyal dog would. I’m sorry, but deer are not that smart.
When a character does something stupid or illogical, but it’s supposed to be amazing or heroic.
I’m not sure this is technically a trope, but my goodness do I hate this! If a story includes a moment like this, chances are the whole thing is going to be ruined for me, no matter how awesome the stuff was that came before. You cannot convince me that stupidity is heroic, and it doesn’t make a difference how many of the other characters say it is. I know it’s hard to make a logically consistent plot, but come on authors, that’s our job. And yes, this example is Rose from the Last Jedi. She is the poster child of this trope. If I get started on that movie, we’d be here for the next two hours so just check out the How it Should have Ended handled this scene if you want more of an explanation.
Ah, that rant felt good. Do you agree that these tropes are awful, or maybe you think I’m mistaken? What tropes do you hate? Join in the conversation below!