Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

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Re: Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Post by celette482 on Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:33 am

Dear GJ,

What you are actually describing is the fan-favorite theory that Neville, not Harry, was the Chosen One and Dumbledore has been playing the long con this whole time to protect Neville from Voldemort (man made an assumption, not Dumbledore's fault!). Rowling had to specifically address this before the 7th novel came out, and it's a shame because it would have made an INCREDIBLE twist.

Thanks.
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Re: Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Post by Chickpea Sarada on Thu May 14, 2015 2:08 am

For creative writing class in high school, my final assignment was a short story that was basically a first chapter for a fantasy novel I never continued.  It played with the Chosen One trope as well as "the wand chooses the wizard."

The story's main plot device is a magical sword that is needed to destroy an incoming mysterious evil force, and only the Chosen One can wield it.  The main protagonist (a common village girl) is not the Chosen One, but she's currently the only one who can even carry it.  It's back-breakingly heavy to her, but no one else can even lift it off the ground, and the prophecy says that it will be light as a feather to its destined wielder.

I was planning to have the book be about her search for the hero to literally take this burden off her shoulders.  Oh, and save the world too.

There were a couple of ideas I had for possible plot twists.  Like, maybe she can carry the sword but not fight with it because her future child will be the Chosen One?  Or maybe the sword turns out to have a mind of its own, so was she goes through various perils and proves her character it lightens itself for her until she's eventually the "Chosen One?"  It was fun to daydream about possible scenarios during the summer before college, but then came college.


Last edited by Chickpea Sarada on Thu May 14, 2015 2:35 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Post by Chickpea Sarada on Thu May 14, 2015 2:31 am

BasedBuzzed wrote:Strategy Sues can be circumvented by miscalculations, inertia, and having a foil on the other side of the fence, I'd say.

And sometimes just plain old Murphy's Law.
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Re: Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Post by reboot on Thu May 14, 2015 2:37 am

I always thought a fun subversion of the Chosen One trope would be that the prophecy was wrong and there is no Chosen One. The protagonist goes on a quest to find the hero, discovers there is no hero, then says "Well, fuck it. We need to save ourselves, hero or not" and then spends the rest of the time trying to rally support and convince people that they cannot wait for Godot and need to be their own heroes..

Not sure if it should end in victory or the protagonist burned at the stake for being a heretic as the civilization crumbles.....
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Re: Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Post by Chickpea Sarada on Thu May 14, 2015 2:54 am

reboot wrote:I always thought a fun subversion of the Chosen One trope would be that the prophecy was wrong and there is no Chosen One. The protagonist goes on a quest to find the hero, discovers there is no hero, then says "Well, fuck it. We need to save ourselves, hero or not" and then spends the rest of the time trying to rally support and convince people that they cannot wait for Godot and need to be their own heroes..

Not sure if it should end in victory or the protagonist burned at the stake for being a heretic as the civilization crumbles.....

The Lego Movie had something a little similar to that.

[SPOILER]
There was no Chosen One, and the prophecy was made up. But Emmett (the protagonist and initial "Chosen One") still makes a hero of himself and the day is still saved.
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Re: Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Post by Andrew Corvero on Thu May 14, 2015 4:32 am

Speaking of subversions of the Chosen One cliche, I remember I had an idea about a story where the Chosen One prophecy was actually written by the villains in order to make the common folk waste time and energy "holding out for a hero" instead of planning a rebellion, until they convince a poor sap to play the role of a fake hero before he goes into a fight and gets plastered.

Once the fake Chosen One is defeated, a new prophecy is written and the people start trusting the next hero which is, again, another unwitting pawn of the bad guys. Lather, rinse, repeat: a lot of build up for a new hope, followed by a swift, brutal defeat and a new bullshit prophecy.

The protagonists are just normal folks who happen to discover the truth and have to convince the common people that the Chosen One plans are a trick and that they need to pull their heads out of their asses and save themselves. Of course the villains aren't going to like the spanner in the works so it's a toss up whether the protagonists manage to get enough people on their side before the bad guys get rid of them.

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Re: Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Post by Hirundo Bos on Thu May 14, 2015 6:29 am

I had an idea for many years, then based my 2013 NaNoWriMo project on it, and may develop it further, where the original idea was to place someone like myself in a Chosen One-fantasy plot. Meaning, someone with anxieties similar to mine, particularly the problems I sometimes have with initiating important actions. In the 2013 version, though, I exchanged the Chosen One with the appointed one – the rules of that world said that the one to repeatedly save everybody had to be appointed at random, and they were not necessarily very suited for the task.

(That's where I first used the name Hirundo Bos, by the way.)
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Re: Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Post by reboot on Thu May 14, 2015 9:17 am

reboot wrote:I always thought a fun subversion of the Chosen One trope would be that the prophecy was wrong and there is no Chosen One. The protagonist goes on a quest to find the hero, discovers there is no hero, then says "Well, fuck it. We need to save ourselves, hero or not" and then spends the rest of the time trying to rally support and convince people that they cannot wait for Godot and need to be their own heroes..

Not sure if it should end in victory or the protagonist burned at the stake for being a heretic as the civilization crumbles.....

Andrew Corvero wrote:Speaking of subversions of the Chosen One cliche, I remember I had an idea about a story where the Chosen One prophecy was actually written by the villains in order to make the common folk waste time and energy "holding out for a hero" instead of planning a rebellion, until they convince a poor sap to play the role of a fake hero before he goes into a fight and gets plastered.

Once the fake Chosen One is defeated, a new prophecy is written and the people start trusting the next hero which is, again, another unwitting pawn of the bad guys. Lather, rinse, repeat: a lot of build up for a new hope, followed by a swift, brutal defeat and a new bullshit prophecy.

The protagonists are just normal folks who happen to discover the truth and have to convince the common people that the Chosen One plans are a trick and that they need to pull their heads out of their asses and save themselves. Of course the villains aren't going to like the spanner in the works so it's a toss up whether the protagonists manage to get enough people on their side before the bad guys get rid of them.

Ohhh. Our two ideas might merge nicely into one. Makes me wish I could write.
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Re: Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Thu May 14, 2015 1:53 pm

Chickpea Sarada wrote:Or maybe the sword turns out to have a mind of its own, so was she goes through various perils and proves her character it lightens itself for her until she's eventually the "Chosen One?"

I like that one a lot.

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Re: Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Post by Gentleman Johnny on Thu May 14, 2015 2:00 pm

Better yet, The Prophecy says that the viewpoint character is the reincarnation of Gothar The Really Really Mean, destined to destroy the world in a great conflagration. Our now Gothar Jr., chased by the agents of Light from birth undertakes a quest to prevent The Great Fire (which is actually a meteor strike or something) both because the world is where he keeps his stuff and to show those ignorant savages that prophecy is bullshit an mathematics is where its at. The Agents Of Light want to stop the great fire too, of course, but they're convinced that the way to do it is to cast Gothar into Mount Death in the land of Morgoth.

Gothar The Undying - An Adventure In The World Of Clichea!
http://dungeonfantastic.blogspot.com/2015/05/clichea-or-my-new-game-world.html

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Re: Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Post by eselle28 on Thu May 14, 2015 2:04 pm

Gentleman Johnny wrote:
Chickpea Sarada wrote:Or maybe the sword turns out to have a mind of its own, so was she goes through various perils and proves her character it lightens itself for her until she's eventually the "Chosen One?"

I like that one a lot.

Yeah, I'd read that. I like that it subverts the trope that character and worthiness can be judged in an instant.
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Re: Subverting Tropes in Science Fiction and Fantasy

Post by Chickpea Sarada on Sun Jun 21, 2015 3:49 am

You know those "person from here gets transported back in time or to fantasy world" stories?  I've lately been daydreaming about that sort of concept, but instead of just having jokes where the modern person introduces their snacks and fun devices to the other characters, they make a huge difference in the fantasy people's lives with today's knowledge.

For example, the protagonist meets and befriends two mages who specialize in fire and ice spells respectively.  The protagonist convinces them to start using their spells in mundane but very useful ways.  The ice mage makes ice for food preservation and melting into water, and the fire mage boils water to purify it for drinking. This results in a huge improvement in the initially-skeptical people's health, and the mages may be stepping out of their reputation as destructive forces to be feared.  And maybe eventually, a curious inventor starts to dabble with the idea of steam technology...
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