Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.


"In the Harry Potter universe, much hubbub is made about how the economically challenged Weasley family have worn-out clothing. There are spells that turn teacups into rats, but not anything resembling tailoring?"

Seven Seals: This is actually a wonderful observation to have Fan Wank theories over. Right off the top of my head: using magic to make yourself look better than you are is considered undignified to wizards (or maybe even unlawful if done on a sufficiently grand scale), or transmutation doesn't work that way (in terms of duration), or it's just too hard/"magically expensive" to keep outfitting everyone with appealing clothes. Not that we should be discussing that here...
arromdee: I've moved some stuff back and forth with Forgotten Phlebotinum to distinguish the two better; forgetting one of your standard powers is Plot-Induced Stupidity, while forgetting something only discovered last episode is Forgotten Phlebotinum. I think there's a good case to be made for keeping these separate; Forgotten Phlebotinum is really a kind of way to keep the status quo.

Tanto: No, forgetting something only discovered last episode is It Only Works Once, which Forgotten Phlebotinum unnecessarily duplicates.

arromdee: Well, the point of Forgotten Phlebotinum is that it *works* as many times as anyone would care to use it. The device isn't useless; it doesn't work just once. It's just they're pressing the Reset Button for each new episode by pretending that any changes in other episodes, such as useful discoveries, never happened.

Tanto: Look. You = Taking a trope name too literally. It Only Works Once (and Holding Back the Phlebotinum) easily encompasses situations where the phlebotinum breaks / is forgotten / is rendered useless by some sort of deus ex machina in order to keep the tension in future installments from being destroyed. If Forgotten Phlebotinum is different, it is by a very slender margin, too slender to justify its own entry. The only difference, as near as I can tell, is whether the writers bothered to handwave it or not. It's all the same crap, in the end — the effect on storytelling is the same.

Morgan Wick: Well, arromdee isn't taking Forgotten Phlebotinum as literally as It Only Works Once, or (s)he'd be confusing it with We Have Forgotten the Phlebotinum.

I think there is a good Lumper vs. Splitter argument here, actually, if only because IOWO and HBTP are already fairly similar. Having read all three, I'm not entirely sure they aren't all the same trope.
Gitara: He is born again! I feel him! The Dragon takes his first breath on the slope of Dragonmount! [Dies.]
Moiraine: Too bad she didn't specify when and where the Dragon was reborn.
Siuan: Yes, it's quite a puzzle.
Moiraine: Yes, if only there were some specificity to her comments.
Tamra: To be safe, fill this journal with the name of every boy born in the last ten years from here to the ocean.

  • Usagi often used her disguise pen in the first season of Sailor Moon to get into areas where access was forbidden otherwise. In later seasons, it was completely forgotten... except for one odd season three episode when Minako borrowed Usagi's pen to act as an Identity Impersonator for Sailor Moon. But then, the reason why it had to be Usagi's pen was never explained, given that Minako had her own disguise device that she used a lot in the preceding Codename wa Sailor V manga, but never since joining the Sailor Moon cast.

Umm... actually, this may have to do with the fact that Minako's compact she used as Sailor V was never shown to exist in the anime — she does use it in the Sailor Moon manga, by the way.

What is probably worth mentioning, however, is Usagi's mask she initially wears in the manga as Sailor Moon — it can show the enemies' true forms, and allows her to know when enemies are attacking someone, as shown in the first chapter. She eventually stops wearing it, but it is still shown to exist in the Black Moon arc, when she uses it to reveal the droids' disguise — so why doesn't she just use it all the way to locate enemies posing as humans (Witches 5, Animamates) is not known. Minako's compact has the same function, and she doesn't seem to use it for this either.

INH: Taking out this:
  • In the Pendragon series, Raven Rise, why did they not just go back to First Earth and forcibly take Mark's ring back from Alexander? Then none of the events of the book would have happened and Halla would be just fine, while Mark would be smart enough not to give Nevva his ring again if she tried the ploy again...
According to Alexander, Nevva stayed with him for several years as a mentor figure. She wouldn't have let them take the ring back, and there's not much they could do against a nigh invulnerable shape shifter. And it's still unknown whether she could have carried out her threat of killing Mark's parents through a time paradox or not.

That Other 1 Dude: Disputed
  • During the 'Day of Black Sun' invasion plotline in Avatar The Last Airbender the team sent to despatch the Firelord conveniently manages to leave one of their most powerful benders behind to quite literally be a crutch for her father. It is very likely that had Katara given crutch-duties to anyone else and gone with Aang, that she could have been the dealbreaker in the running battle with Azula that followed.

What do you mean a crutch? She was treating a wound.

Honore DB: More Avatar: Removed
  • In the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Zhao manages to capture Aang, but doesn't kill him, because of the whole reincarnation thing. Never mind that the next Avatar would, at best, have difficulty sitting up straight by the time Sozin's Comet arrived. Furthermore, Zhao's options for killing the kid were less than limited:
    • Snip disturbing list of ways to kill a chained-up prisoner

Zhao both has orders to the contrary, and an extra motive for following them: he wants a crowning achievement that will last for all time, and forcing the Avatar to respawn won't cut it. Disabling the Avatar for a hundred years while gradually killing off every last waterbender, on the other hand, would. If anybody's being stupid, it's the Fire Lord, for not adding a codicil to the order saying "If your capture of the Avatar is tenuous and killing him/her would create a major strategic advantage, it's at your discretion." But that's Advanced Evil Overlording.