At this point, my husband (that’s so fun to say!) and I are still on our honeymoon, but I found this tag right before the wedding and couldn’t resist sharing it with you today!
The point? To pit twelve common (or not so common) fiction tropes against each other to see which ones win!
Of course, this is only my opinion on each of these tropes, so I would love to hear what you think! Please feel free to stick around afterward and let me know what you would pick in each of these pairings!
Let’s get started . . . .
THE CHOSEN ONE VS. THE MENTOR
Ooh, starting off with an easy one. The chosen one is such a common trope, and while it can certainly be part of a great story (just look at practically any dystopian, Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc.), I think it’s overused and can lead to some lazy story-writing. Have I used it? Yes. Is it my favorite? Nope.
Mentors are my fictional soft spot though. I adore good mentor characters, particularly those that start off as gruff, uncertain, or perhaps even somewhat cruel, and by the end of the story have both taught valuable lessons to the protagonist and had a great deal of character growth themselves. Whether mine or others’, I gravitate to stories with nuanced mentors.
So hands down, THE MENTOR is my winner here!
ENEMIES TO LOVERS VS. FRIENDS TO LOVERS
Another pretty easy one!
Enemies to lovers has redeeming qualities, particularly in comedy. I enjoy plenty of great banter and rocky starts as long as it eventually gives way to a genuine and healthy relationship. But in general, the trope can be problematic for me. I often have trouble looking past the horrid treatment of one another and wonder if the end relationship is really a healthy one, or if it’s just based off of attraction or the like.
Friends to lovers on the other hand . . . what’s not to like? Personally, I prefer to see two characters who have a strong and healthy platonic relationship that eventually blossoms into something more. Then I can trust that they truly do value the other person and will treat them well. Maybe I’m thinking too deeply about fictional characters’ relationships.
As you can guess, FRIENDS TO LOVERS is the winner for this one!
MATCHMAKER GONE WRONG VS. LOVE POTION
I actually had to look this one up because I couldn’t think of stories with either trope (besides Ron and Lavender in Harry Potter, with the love potion? If that counts?).
Apparently, the matchmaker gone wrong trope is usually where one character tries to match two other characters, and then ends up falling in love with one of them instead. I think I’ve read a couple of books with similar plots, and this can be cute. Not always done well, but it can lead to some interesting and even heart-warming situations.
Love potion is a bit more self-explanatory. I’ve never been very fond of love potion romances, probably just because they’re not real. I feel too bad for the character that is being influenced, and just am uncomfortable at the situation in general.
So here, THE MATCHMAKER GONE WRONG wins!
TRAPPED IN AN ELEVATOR VS. WORKING WITH THE EX
Here again, I needed to look up examples for these.
Trapped in an elevator generally just refers to stories where characters get stuck somewhere with no escape from one another and no choice but to work together to get free. Whether they’re friends, romantic interests, enemies . . . the trope has been used for all sorts of characters. Not on actual elevators, but I actually do enjoy this trope a lot, particularly when its enemies that are suddenly forced to be on the same side for survival.
I haven’t seen or read many stories with the working with the ex trope. From those that I can think of (even Jack Sparrow working with Angelica in Stranger Tides comes to mind), it can make for an enjoyable story, but tends to have a lot more drama. Sometimes that’s great for humor or tension, what have you, but sometimes it can also just get so petty and unnecessary, haha. That’s a tough one.
Both have their places, but TRAPPED IN AN ELEVATOR wins this round!
MISTAKEN IDENTITY VS. MARRIAGE PACT
This one might have a winner simply by default. I’ve never read any books or seen any movies that I can think of that contain a marriage pact (where two characters make a pact that if they’re both still single by a certain age, they’ll get married). This definitely has potential to be sweet, so I’d be interested in finding a story like that at some point!
Mistaken identity is a trope that I’ve read often, and usually enjoy. While it can be frustrating sometimes when we feel the characters are missing things right in front of their eyes, I do like stories with disguises, amnesia, pretending to be someone else, or people thinking one character is someone else without them even pretending. They can be very entertaining.
So kind of by default, MISTAKEN IDENTITY is the winning trope here!
KIDNAPPED VS. THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY
The first thing that comes to mind with the kidnapped trope is Seven Brides for Seven Brothers which certainly makes entertaining use of the kidnapping element. I don’t condone it obviously, and there have been some kidnapping stories that I don’t like because they’re too problematic, but when done for humor, or when the kidnapping is done for good purposes (like rescues), then I enjoy them. Mostly when romance isn’t part of it.
The one that got away trope can also make for some intense stories though. I don’t think I’ve ever found a lighthearted story with this trope, just sad or contemplative ones. There’s good opportunity for character growth and sacrifice in these kinds of stories, and I’m rarely one to shy away from melancholic stories, but I do have to be in a certain mood for them.
Hmm, this is the hardest pairing by far today . . . and I think it depends on my mood at the time that I’m reading. But today, I’m going to have to go with KIDNAPPED!
Thank you so much for joining me for this tag! I’m not going to tag specific people, but if this sounds like fun to you, please feel free to hop in! Which trope would you pick from each pairing? Do you agree or disagree with any of my favorites?
And wait – there’s more . . .
If you’re not just a reader but a writer as well, the original creator of this tag attached a challenge for you! Why not write a short story incorporating every. single. one. of the tropes that you chose as your favorites? While I won’t have time to do this soon, I would love to try it at some point! If you’re itching to attempt it as well, please do! And let us know how it goes!