10 fantasy tropes that Redditors have done away with


Jurassic World Dominion has been released as the seventh film in the Jurassic Park franchise, which is close to turning 30 years old. The film is naturally jam-packed with several familiar tropes: everything that can go wrong does and there are plenty of dinosaurs to go around. Of course, the recent Jurassic World movies have taken a fresh twist on the ’90s classic, but the use of its old tropes ensures that the mood is still right.

Unfortunately, using and reusing the same tropes in movies does not always have this effect. In the case of fantasy, some genre-specific tropes have been used in written form for centuries, leading them to be well worn out by the 2020s. This has led Redditors to discuss which plot twists, character types, and world features from fantasy have been overdone and should be left in the past for good (or at least a couple of decades).

Useless Armor

Nothing makes a medieval fantasy warrior more recognizable than a suit of armor. However, the shiny chainmail seems to be for looks more than anything when it comes to film, as there appears to be no rhyme or reason to the efficacy of wearing it versus not.

Too much armor is typically reserved for villains, who only need to look menacing, while protagonists seem to wear light, extremely impractical armor. Redditor PageTheKenku listed this as their least favorite fantasy trope, stating that this “armor is pointless.”

Overusing Swords

While guns can certainly exist in a fantasy world, a majority of conflicts within the genre seem to focus on swords. Redditor PageTheKenku finds this especially annoying, stating, “there are a huge number of weapons to choose from, don’t just limit it to one.”

Even characters, like Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings, carries a sword, despite possessing powerful magic. In other films where there is more modern technology, blades will often be featured just to create a flashy fight and show that a sword is all the movie character needs to be dangerous. Ultimately, it’s just become a little played out.

Mono-Culture Races

The real world is highly diverse as humans cover the globe and each country can have a culture and heritage that is entirely different from another.

Fantasy worlds should be even more sociologically diverse, considering they often contain races like Elves, Dwarves, and Orcs. However, while there may be some differences in the way these groups live, the morals and values are all the same. Redditor Rhodehouse93 said this was “just lazy,” calling it a “trap” that many fantasy movies fall into.

A European Setting

Fantasy is often characterized by European-style castles and a Medieval time period. Redditor PsychologicalToe8745 stated that this is because the fathers of fantasy, like Lord of the Rings, are based on “European myths,” namely “Celtic, Norse, and Greek,” but agrees that settings are still often “oversaturated” with European influence.

There are undoubtedly several fantasy films that don’t follow this trope, such as the movies within the MCU. However, aside from these American settings, the typical European influence is rarely subverted.


There are several great prophecy-based movies like Willow, in which a powerful hero is foretold. However, there are other ways a prophecy might appear in a movie. If a witch says something terrible is going to happen, then the characters will likely do everything they can to prevent it, only to find out that those actions themselves fulfilled the prophecy.

Redditor Rellloe explained that they “don’t dislike prophecies as a trope” but are frustrated with how they are done. They go on to point out that writers will use prophecies to show how clever they are when really it’s “the easiest way to foreshadow in the least helpful way.”

Mastering A Skill Overnight

In The Matrix, the skill to fight is uploaded into Neo’s head. This allowed an average everyday guy to quickly become the “Chosen One” he was meant to be. However, other films like Star Wars are known for developing the skill of their “everyday” character far too quickly, and, in a way, that makes no sense. Luke Skywalker trained for only a short time before being ready to face Star Wars’ most powerful antagonists.

Redditor Ckal9 said that if screenwriters “can’t figure out a way for [their] character to be relevant” without them learning an ability in way too short a time, then they should re-evaluate their character altogether.

Subverting Tropes

The conversation about overused tropes will often lead movie makers attempting to create a story that subverts every trope in the book. This is often seen in fairy tale remakes, like Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, where the story is turned on its head to keep it from being predictable.

The problem with this is that when everyone is trying so hard to subvert tropes, it becomes an overused trope all its own. Redditor Malithirond stated that writers do this “just to be edgy, which isn’t actually edgy anymore.” When all movies try to be different, they just end up coming full circle to being all the same again.

Invisible Villains

In The Lord of the Rings, Sauron is never given any real scenes. For most of the films, he is working on developing a form and is, therefore, more of an idea than a corporeal villain. This is often done in fantasy and creates a bad guy with no boundaries other than the audience’s imagination.

However, Redditors like GreatestJabaitest feel that this creates a “weak villain” that is difficult for audiences to connect to. Villains like Thanos in MCU give audiences someone to both empathize with, and hate. It’s harder to be happy about a protagonist’s victory when the antagonist never felt real, to begin with.

The Chosen One

Redditor Nothing_in_my_mind stated that their least favorite fantasy trope is the “Chose One or secretly royal protagonist.” This trope will often come hand in hand with a prophecy foretelling this hero’s triumph or return to the throne. The issue is that after so many movies about a Chosen One, the concept loses its novelty.

While there may only be one “Chosen One” in that specific fantasy universe, those characters exist in infinite numbers in the real world. Aragorn, Harry Potter, Azor Ahai, and even Jake Sully; there are more than enough chosen ones to go around.

Love Triangles

While love triangles are not exclusive to fantasy, the idea of a protagonist being stuck between a happily ever after with two supernatural beings has always appealed to writers. Films like Twilight have been very successful with love triangles, hooking audiences (especially teenagers) by making them invest in one pairing or the other.

More often than not, the movie or series that follows this trope features a female protagonist being fought over by two male characters. Over the years, this has begun to feel problematic, as it seems like objectification and a bit outdated. Combined with the fact that it is typically pretty easy to determine who the center person of the triangle will end up with, it’s clear why Redditors like Jesatria listed this as their “least favorite trope.”