My Favorite… Tropes?

by Noise Pollution

Whenever I’m reading, watching or playing something, there are certain specific types of stories or story beats that always, always stir up my emotions. It’s so common for me to react to these things, that for a while, I almost felt cheated whenever some piece of media would use those plot points. It felt like it was such an easy way to get at my emotions; I felt manipulated. I’m kind of over that sensation now, though. Nowadays I kind of just let myself feel the things I’m going to feel and know that it’s kind of on me for being so easily swayed by such simple tropes.

One of the biggest story beats that causes me to get all out of sorts is when the hero of the story triumphs. I know it sounds vague, and maybe it is, but I’m talking about that turning point that happens in every good fantasy tale; the point when the hero proves himself, and he earns the respect of everyone who used to look down on him. I’m talking about moments like when Hercules slays the Hydra. He was a joke to everyone before; but he proved himself. He was incredible all along, and now everyone can finally see.

I suppose a variation on that particular story beat that does similar things to me is the moment of self-sacrifice. I feel such a sense of pride when I experience these scenes; it’s almost as though I were doing them myself. I wish I could. I wish I had confidence that I would. Im just scared, you know? In the real world, people who rush into burning buildings to save a stranger don’t really come out of that alive. In media, the hero always almost dies, but proves that the willingness to make the sacrifice was enough to get them through it. And I fawn over that stuff. I can’t sit still or shut up when Hercules dives into depths of the Underworld to save Meg. It’s incredible. And then… And then he turns down godhood to be with her! Its just so incredible and beautiful and I bawl my goddamn eyes out during those scenes.

The other trope that really just does me in emotionally is when a love interest dies. There are very few instances of this where I haven’t ended up in a mess of tears. In fact, I can only think of one time that it didn’t and that was [spoilers for The Maze Runner trilogy until next bracketed text] when whatsername from The Maze Runner series dies near the end. Man, they really fucked up that last book. I was glad when she died. I guess the spoiler tag itself is just as much of a spoiler as what I actually said, since I can’t remember her name anyway. Whatever. Don’t bother with those books. The first one is the only one worth reading, and the reveals of the second and third books are so lame and terrible that they make the first book worse. [spoilers over] But anyways, I don’t even have to be that invested in a story to become a mess because of this beat. I was casually watching a movie on TV in the background, and then found out the girlfriend character in the movie had died and I was bawling for forty-five minutes and was seriously emotionally fucked-up for the next three or four days afterwards. I can’t deal with that shit. I don’t really know why. My best guess is that I start reliving all of my breakups in my head. Because every time I’ve had a breakup, they’ve left my life entirely. It’s kind of like they’ve died. Maybe that’s why I can’t handle this stuff, but it still seems like an extreme reaction for me to have, especially when its not written all that well.

I wish I could be a hero. And I wish I wasn’t such a goddamn baby. But I have to deal with reality, and maybe the fact that I’m stuck here in reality is why those tropes affect me so much.

[As a side note, as I was watching those clips from Disney’s Hercules to link here, I was just fucking giddy. I love that movie so much. It’s so good. It’s so good.]