Character Tropes

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Merriam-Webster gives a definition of "trope" as a "figure of speech." In storytelling, a trope is just that — a conceptual figure of speech, a storytelling shorthand for a concept that the audience will recognize and understand instantly.

Above all, a trope is a convention. It can be a plot trick, a setup, a narrative structure, a character type, a linguistic idiom... you know it when you see it. Tropes are not inherently disruptive to a story; however, when the trope itself becomes intrusive, distracting the viewer rather than serving as shorthand, it has become a cliché.
- Television Tropes and Idioms



Bad Ass Normal

In a World with supernatural dealings or superpowers, this character is the one who is able to keep being useful through intellect, martial arts abilities, general ruthlessness, or just being Crazy-Prepared. They notably have none of the fantastic enhancements, magic or special powers that others do. It might even be a sore point for them, but that just makes us encourage them more. Female versions are usually Action Girls with a Girl Posse or Lovely Angels. - Bad Ass Normal

  • Iolaus, Jason, Lilith, and Theseus are all part of this trope. None of them have any super powers, but they regularly hold their own against the more mischevious Gods and gangs around.

Big Bad

A Big Bad could be a character with Evil Plans or it could be a situation, such as a comet heading towards the Earth. It is behind all of the other bad happenings. The Big Bad can (and often does) exert effect across a number of episodes, and even an entire season. Note that Big Bad is not a catch-all trope for the biggest and ugliest villain of any given story. The Badass leader of the outlaw gang that the heroes face once or twice is not the Big Bad. The railroad tycoon who turns out to be using the gang as muscle is the Big Bad. If there is a constant Man Behind the Man story going on in order to reveal the big bad, then whoever is behind it all is the Big Bad, not every major villain in the lead-up. At other times, if a new enemy shows up to replace the previous Big Bad, then they are the Big Bads of their individual storylines. - Big Bad

Big Brother Bully

Older siblings as bullies towards their younger siblings as well as others. - Big Brother Bully

Brother-Sister Incest

Nothing adds that certain je ne sais quoi to a storyline like a romantic or sexual attraction between siblings. Most of the time it may be merely implied, but sometimes it's laid out right in the open for the viewer to see. Its presence in a story usually adds a great deal of emotional intensity. - Brother-Sister Incest

Evil Counterpart

A character who looks like the protagonists and has/had abilities and obstacles similar to the them, but is evil. Sometimes, but not always, a Big Bad. Frequently, the Evil Counterpart is the character equivalent of For Want of a Nail: he represents what our hero could have become as a result of a very small change in his backstory. - Evil Counterpart

Fire-Forged Friends

Characters, hostile to each other, indifferent, or strangers, must fight on the same side. All the way up to an Enemy Mine situation. Afterwards, they are no longer hostile and perhaps even actual friends. If they continue as enemies, they are Friendly Enemy. - Fire-Forged Friends

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