Let’s Talk About Tropes We Hate

Tropes: you love some – you hate some. And the truth is, tropes appear and reappear in stories for a reason. From the classic Cinderella story to the innocent maid winning the true-loving heart of the bad boy, a trope that is beautifully fleshed out, creatively spun, or turned on its head can rocket a story to greatness.

Likewise, a badly written or tiredly overused trope can result in a book being thrown into the dreaded DNF (Did Not Finish) pile, and a trope that personally grinds your gears can have you hurling the book at the wall with great force.

Which brings me to my personal most-hated trope. No, it’s not the love triangle – I happen to like those when they’re well-written. They get a lot of hate, particularly in YA, but that’s because so many aren’t well-written. When they are, they’re a great source of dramatic tension. Want to know my personal pet peeve, never-fails-to-trigger-me trope?

I like to call it “Together ‘Till The End.”

It boils down to this: the hero or heroine loves their true love so deeply with the truest love that ever was true, so they bind their life to their mate’s. If one of them dies, so will the other, so they never have to live without each other. Sooooooo romantic. *swoon*


Yep. Regardless of whether they have children who depend on them, or a rich, full life with purpose and family, laughter and friends, if one of them slips coming out of the shower and cracks their skull or chokes on a fish bone at dinner, blammo! The kids are orphans, and their extended family and friends can just piss right off and mourn them both. I’m looking at you, Sarah J. Maas. (She’s only the latest offender. You should have seen me screaming at Jin and Sun when I was watching LOST).

And of course, especially in YA, one or both of the power couple is a warrior and constantly facing threats, so the odds of one of them unexpectedly dropping dead in front of the kids while the other parent is off dealing with those annoying brigands at the border goes substantially up.

I swear, it makes my eye twitch nearly every time I read it (I say nearly in all fairness to Sarah J. Maas who is a goddess, because Yrene tied her life to Chaol’s to save his life, which is a good and fair use of that trope. Likewise with Lorcan giving up his immortality – which had to be done by binding himself to a mortal. Both are rare exceptions). I believe in true love, but excuse me as I clutch my pearls and shriek Somebody think of the children!

What about you? What’s your most hated trope?

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