11 Fantasy Cliches I HATE

by - 1:47 PM

Fantasy is my favorite reading genre, hands down. And as a result, I'm kind of very protective of the genre, and I've consumed so much of it over the years I've collected a rather large list of all the cliches (including cliches that people refuse to admit are cliches) that I absolutely despise. Today, I'm here to share part of that list with you!

Disclaimer: These are all obviously my own opinions, and I'm not trying to say that all stories which have these factors are bad. These are just things that tend to seriously bother me in most fantasy books.

1. My character has a tragic backstory and is awesome with weapons and everyone either loves them or hates them but how DARE you suggest they're a Mary-Sue?!?!?
They are. Shut up.

2. My character's name is Aria/Arya/Arwyn! Look how unique I am!
No. You're not unique. You're the literal opposite of unique. If I had ten thousand hands, I still wouldn't have enough fingers to count how many times I've seen those names (or variants of) used in fantasy fiction. There are literally millions of other names out there. USE THEM. Don't just resort to what sounds prettiest/easiest. It screams laziness.
(Also, remember that Mary-Sue character I mentioned earlier? If they're female, there's a 50% chance her name is Aria.)

3. Someone has randomly discovered they are a wizard/fairy/etc. and is whisked out of their comfortable contemporary life to attend a school for wizards/fairies/etc!
When Rowling did it, HP was pretty much the only story out there like this. Now, every other contemporary magic story follows this plot line. Make sure yours doesn't.

4. What?? My commoner parents aren't my actual parents?? I'm actually related to someone super important/cool?? 
It worked in Star Wars. It pretty much doesn't work anywhere else.

5. Wait a minute?? This totally unexplainable and random birthmark/tattoo/heirloom I have makes me heir to the kingdom?? WHOA.
Yes, whoa. Whoa as in back up and erase this whole bit. It's used so much I've actually begun to expect it.

6. Hmmm.....there's a plot hole in my story? I need to think for more than five seconds about how something will logistically/practically work out? MAGIC WILL SOLVE IT.

7. Gosh! I'm glad the hero escaped from danger in the nick of time!
You are allowed one or two of these per book. No more.

8.  Prophecies galore! Won't it be such a cliffhanger to see if the main character ends up being the person destined to fulfill all these?
Um. No.

9. ISN'T MY LOVE STORY SO CUTE??? It's a commoner and a member of the royalty and their love is forbidden but they make it work in the end!!!
If you mean "cute that you think this is actually unique", then yes. It's actually quite adorable.

10. BUT WAIT! My love interest is unique, cause they're a rugged, sassy thief! You see? Total opposites! Unique!
This is generally the bit where I close the book and chuck it back at the shelf. (Unless I already did it at the prophecies part.)

If your heroine has sumptuous breasts and beautiful hips and is 25 years old, they probably menstruate. Quit pretending they don't.


Whew! *takes deep breath* Okay, now my rant's over. What about you? What are your least favorite fantasy cliches? (or cliches from any genre!) Do you agree with any of the things on this list? Disagree? Comment below, and have an awesome day :)


P.S. Hey, everyone! I'm finally back from Guatemala and very happy to be posting again. Photos from my trip should be up Sunday :)

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  1. I totally agree. I never realized how many of these I've seen until you pointed them out. Now as much as I love Shadowhunters it has like seven of these cliches. 😂

    1. I agree; they're far too rampant. Yes, I've been hesitant about trying Shadowhunters because I've heard about that.

      - Ellie

  2. I agree with basically all of these. Fantasy books get to be so cliche sometimes, and it's frustrating, because there are often really good ideas thrown into a totally stereotypical story. I especially like the last one. I remember once walking up to my friend and she was reading a book and was really excited because the author actually remembered to mention that the main character was on her period. I really liked this post!
    Bridgette| A Bit of This and That

    1. I AGREE. Oh my God, I would get ultra excited too. Thank you, love! :D

      - Ellie

  3. Hahaha! I feel the same way about those, although I know some people who are able to pull some of them off pretty well.
    Some of my least favorite fantasy cliches
    1; they make too many girls, who after a tragic loss of their true love they become completely changed and are serious tough badasses (sorry for the language)
    2; The girl is so much smarter, quicker, and tougher than the main boy. But when they start to like each other she is suddenly weak and captured and Oh help me! But don't help me! But I'll kiss you! But I would never do that, it might ruin my reputation of being so much better than you!
    3;Parents! Stop dying on your protagonist child! Or have a good reason to do so! And if you don't die. Please please have the brains to not be in prison. and help them out on the battlefield for crying out loud! And how are you suddenly alright at the very end?
    4;These puzzles will be nice at the dinner table at the end and not when the protagonist is trying to finish their quest! They're kinda busy at the moment!
    5; the person who prophesies does not need to be so mysterious and old! And STOP giving them hard problems to solve, cut to the chase! Or do you want the fantasy world to be stuck even longer?
    So those are my least favorite fantasy cliches.

    1. 1. I know, right? I'd like to see someone whose loss manifested itself in a different way.
      2. ASDFGHJKL THAT ONE PISSES ME OFF SO MUCH. I can't believe I forgot to include it!
      3. Ikr?!?! It seems like parents usually just die for convenience, so the protagonist can be free to wander the world. I want parents who play an integral role in the story and/or are actually loving and alive and/or set their kids free in a different way.
      4. IKR!
      5. Some of my favorite characters are middle-aged or teen prophecy-ers. (That's a word now, okay?) It's so different from the old people and sets up potential for lots of different conflicts.

      - Ellie

  4. I want to read a fantasy novel where the MC is playing with their four year old cousin or something, and suddenly, the cousin looks up at the MC, stares them dead in the eye, issues a prophecy completely deadpan, and then goes back to playing.

    And also...the period thing. I remember Tamora Pierce's novels mentioning it, and in Throne of Glass Celaena got her period, like, once, and I think it was mostly so she could throw up on Chaol. I ALSO need a fantasy novel where the female MC is on her period and is like, "No, I can't go swimming," and the male MC is like "Why not?" and she just stares at him and goes "because I'm bleeding."

    1. TAMORA PIERCE. She's awesome, man.
      Oh my god /yes/.

      - Ellie

  5. I totally agree with these! It's so annoying to see the same.things.over.and.over!!!

  6. lol I've probably been guilty of #6 XDD Magic, yo. I wear my brain out quickly and then I resort to things like that. Sometimes. I try not to. T.T

    #7 uuuerrrg I hate this. Happens far too often, is far too predictable, is far too annoying and safe.

    #8 Considering that I haven't actually read a ton of fantasy (despite my love for it), I haven't yet felt "prophecy fatigue" like a lot of people. I'm fine with a SUBTLE prophecy, even several of them. But the one special snowflake that fulfills them all? Rather not.

    #9 and #10 Love stories. I'm not big on romance anyway, but sheeeesh fantasy and YA is just full of love triangles, star-crossed lovers, etc. Enough, people.

    That last one is interesting. Never even occurred to me, but you're right lol. I'm personally okay with authors not including that, though.. I mean, yes, it's more realistic, but do I really want to read about that? :p Crankiness could serve character development maybe, but menstruation might be better left to the imagination.

    1. 6. I agree xD One thing I have to commend JK Rowling for is that she specifically avoided this in Goblet of Fire. Halfway through writing the book, she realized she had a giant plot hole, and instead of just dousing it with buckets of magic she went back and rewrote it.

      7. IKR??

      8. I like subtle little prophecies that end up being fulfilled in unexpected ways throughout the book, but one person who predicts everything for one person to fulfill gets tiresome.

      9 + 10. IKR. If a book is well-written enough, there does /not/ have to be romance in order for it to sell. Romance is common - not necessary.

      11. Hah, yes. I'm not wishing for graphic descriptions, just scattered incidents where the character mentions it or is briefly inconvenienced by it in some fashion.

      - Ellie

  7. I so so absolutely agree Ellie! I find these in so many books and sometimes it is just annoying! Awesome post :)

    Nabila // Hot Town Cool Girl

  8. Yes to all of these, they're so annoying.

  9. A lot of these cliches annoy me on end, and that's the reason why whenever I tend to write my novels, I try not to fall into those traps. A series that I have, in previous drafts, has had tons of cliches (THANK YOU, fifth grade self), and you can TOTALLY tell it's been fun trying to get rid of them. But a lot of it, surprisingly was originally non-cliched. The girls didn't have to rely on the guys, and both of them aren't actually that athletic or hardcore, but they EQUALLY CONTRIBUTE *coughcough* to the plot as much as the guys, despite their physical disadvantages.

    xoxo Morning

    P.S. Okay, I actually can't change my character's names (thank goodness none of them is named Aria) because now, their first names and personalities have stuck. But in the naming department, I could have been a bit more creative with my protagonists. THE ANTAGONIST NAME THOUGH. XD

    P.P.S. If I left you in a mangled mess from my rambling, I am so sorry. >.<

    1. Ugh, yes! It's surprisingly hard to not fall into some of the traps - you're so used to seeing them it's difficult to think of other ways it could be.
      Hurrah for you! EQUALITY.
      I have that problem with some unpronounceable character names....*sigh* I've been thinking of Sarine for a substitute, though - or does that sound too feminine?
      No problem!

      - Ellie


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