Narrative tropes that annoy me, #17

Characters who automatically, unfairly, and without much in the way of supporting evidence, put the worst possible spin on Our Hero’s actions and blame him for whatever bad thing has just happened.

I’ve read two books lately with that trope. There better not be a third one any time soon, or that book will probably get dropped and not picked up again, regardless of what else it may be doing right.

0 Responses to “Narrative tropes that annoy me, #17”

  1. mrissa

    But — but — but nobody understands me! And that’s why I don’t have any friends, not my own obnoxious behavior or my own stupid mistakes, but because everyone is against me! And nobody understands Our Hero, either, and that’s why I know his heart is pure!

    It’s a very powerful set of buttons to push for a certain group of readers. I just don’t happen to be in that group, and I try to get anybody I know out of it posthaste.

    • Marie Brennan

      It isn’t even that, at least in the books in question. More like, oh, I want to create obstacles for my protagonist, therefore I will have these people who don’t believe a word he says and default to assuming he’s the enemy.

      Even though that’s dumb.

      Me, I find smart antagonists much more interesting, and much less likely to induce cranio-deskal impaction.

  2. sartorias

    Hate that one, but double triple quadruple hate it when asking a single easy question would straighten everything out, but noooo, they go off half cocked and screw up everything. Blech!

    • Marie Brennan

      Heh — you remind me of a discussion I was having with this weekend, when I introduced her to the fabulousness that is the Pride and Prejudice miniseries. I said then that I think the Regency is the natural home of romance, because at least then there’s a cultural reason why the hero and heroine don’t just talk to each other and straighten out the misunderstandings.

      But yeah, most of the time that’s bloody annoying.

  3. mindstalk

    To Reign in Hell!

    Though you can arguably give them a pass because they’re all like three years old, along with what passes for the universe, and things like deceit and misunderstanding and politics are still being invented.

    • Marie Brennan

      Not familiar with that one, actually. But yes, sometimes there are things to justify it. It’s the times when the justification is “because that creates conflict” that I really hate.

      • mindstalk

        Steven Brust’s version of the Creation and the Fall of Satan. One of his first three novels, shares a “just let them finish talking” feature with Yendi. Zelazny liked him anyway.

    • diatryma

      OH GOD YES.

      I stopped reading that one because I kept getting despairingly frustrated.

      • mindstalk

        How about Yendi? Much shorter if Vlad would stop interrupting Morrolan. Admittedly Vlad’s a cocky 18 year old or so.

        • diatryma

          I think I’ve read that one– but I can’t keep track of the Vlad books at all. I feel horrible that I don’t buy them, but I don’t know which ones I have, and which I have read.

  4. mythusmage

    My beef with it is that it’s too much like real life. You do follow politics, right?

    “Fiction is better than real life because fiction has to make sense.”

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