Tag Archives: my favorite tropes to subvert

Guest Post: My Favorite Tropes to Subvert by N.S. Dolkart

N-S-Dolkart-500x500

N S Dolkart, otherwise known as Noah, was home-schooled until high school by his Israeli father and American mother, and is a graduate of the notorious Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts. He studied creative writing and Jewish studies there.

By day, he leads activities in a non-profit nursing home, where he also trains fellow staff in caring for dementia patients. He writes his tales of magic and Godhood late at night, and doesn’t sleep much.

Silent Hall is his first novel.

You can find Noah online at his website: nsdolkart.wordpress.com, and on Twitter @N_S_Dolkart.


My Favorite Tropes to Subvert

by N.S. Dolkart

When you’re writing a sword-and-sorcery or epic fantasy, you’ve always got to pick which tropes to lean on and which to subvert. If you don’t subvert any of them, the story might still be fun, but it’ll be pretty mediocre art. Conversely, if you subvert all the tropes, the story may become great satire, but it won’t be much of a story. Nobody likes box-checking. We want a compelling narrative, dammit!

So I thought I’d share the tropes that I most enjoy subverting, in the hopes that others will choose totally different ones and stay off my turf (kidding! Go ahead and play with my toys – I’m good at sharing). And so, without further ado, I present to you exhibit A:

 

The Fatherless Hero

Strider. Taran Wanderer. Jon Snow. Rey. A hero of unknown origins who rises to the challenge of the times and saves the world(s). This character is usually a Hidden Heir, as Diana Wynne Jones put it in her Tough Guide to Fantasyland. They have a past Shrouded in Mystery. I don’t need to tell you how popular this trope is. When I was a young teen, one of my friends sent me the first chapter of a novel she was writing, and I wrote back to ask, “Her father is the king, right?” Continue reading

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