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Top 10 fantasy writing tropes

Last updated on 22/06/2023

In the vast realm of fantasy literature, certain tropes and themes have become iconic and beloved by readers around the world. These narrative devices and storytelling elements have shaped the genre and continue to captivate audiences with their timeless appeal. From the destined hero embarking on an epic quest to the mythical creatures that inhabit fantastical realms, these tropes serve as building blocks for imaginative worlds and compelling narratives.

Chosen One

The “Chosen One” trope revolves around a protagonist who is destined to play a pivotal role in the world’s fate. They may possess a unique power, be the reincarnation of a legendary figure, or fulfill an ancient prophecy. While this trope can be clichéd, it offers opportunities for character growth, inner conflict, and the exploration of destiny versus personal agency.

Magical Creatures

Fantasy worlds often feature a diverse array of magical creatures that captivate readers’ imaginations. Dragons, mythical beasts, talking animals, and sentient beings like elves, dwarves, or fae populate these realms. These creatures can serve as allies, adversaries, or sources of wisdom, contributing to world-building and adding depth to the story’s lore.


A quest is a central narrative device in fantasy literature. It involves a group of characters setting out on a challenging journey to accomplish a specific goal, such as finding a lost artifact, overcoming a great evil, or saving a kingdom. Quests provide opportunities for character development, tests of courage, and exploration of the world’s geography and cultures.

Medieval Setting

Many fantasy stories draw inspiration from medieval times, incorporating elements such as castles, knights, feudal hierarchies, and courtly intrigue. This setting offers a sense of nostalgia and familiarity, while still allowing room for creative reinterpretation and blending with other genres.

Magic System

Fantasy often introduces a distinct magic system, which encompasses the rules, limitations, and mechanics of magic within the story’s universe. This system can involve different types of magic, sources of power, or unique abilities possessed by characters. Well-developed magic systems add depth and consistency to the world-building, allowing readers to immerse themselves in a vibrant and believable magical realm.

Epic Battles

Epic battles are a hallmark of fantasy storytelling. These grand-scale conflicts typically involve clashes between vast armies, powerful sorcery, or legendary beings. They showcase the stakes, test the characters’ abilities, and provide moments of high tension and excitement. Skillful depiction of these battles can evoke awe and make for exhilarating reading experiences.


Prophecies and visions often shape the narrative arc in fantasy stories. Prophetic insights or ancient texts foretell events that guide the characters’ actions and shape their destinies. They can add an air of mystery, create tension as characters interpret and navigate their prophecies, and introduce elements of fate and inevitability.

Hidden Worlds

Fantasy worlds frequently feature hidden or secret realms beyond the ordinary, accessible only to a select few. These hidden worlds might be enchanted forests, mystical islands, or hidden cities. Exploring these hidden realms adds an element of wonder, discovery, and escapism to the story.

Reluctant Hero

The “Reluctant Hero” trope involves a protagonist who initially resists their calling or resents the burdens placed upon them. They may doubt their abilities or fear the sacrifices required to fulfill their destiny. This trope allows for internal conflict, character development, and the exploration of themes such as self-discovery, responsibility, and the journey towards embracing one’s true potential.

Dark Lord

The “Dark Lord” archetype represents the ultimate embodiment of evil in many fantasy tales. This powerful antagonist seeks to dominate or destroy the world and often has an army of loyal followers. The conflict between the Dark Lord and the protagonists forms the core of the story, with themes of good versus evil, heroism, and the struggle to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds.

As we come to the end of our exploration of the top 10 fantasy writing tropes, it is clear that these narrative devices have endured for a reason. They have captivated readers for generations, transporting them to realms of magic, adventure, and wonder. While these tropes may be familiar, they serve as foundations upon which authors can build intricate and engaging worlds.

However, it is important to remember that tropes are tools, and like any tool, their effectiveness lies in how they are used. The true magic of storytelling lies in the hands of the writer, who has the power to breathe new life into these tropes, infusing them with their unique voice, perspective, and creativity. By subverting expectations, adding fresh twists, and delving into the depths of character development, writers can create stories that transcend the limitations of cliché.

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