The Wizard From Ordinaryville YKTTW Discussion

The Wizard From Ordinaryville
A schmo from Ordinaryville is The Ace in fantasyland.
Description Needs Help Better Name Up For Grabs
(permanent link) added: 2012-04-22 08:43:00 sponsor: surgoshan edited by: bwburke94 (last reply: 2013-01-22 04:06:36)

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"I don't mean to rain on your parade, but we both know that an expert is someone from off-planet with a briefcase." -- Colonel Battleaxe

Meet Mike Johnson. He's an ordinary kid from an ordinary town with a paper route and trouble talking to the girl he likes. He has a dog and a bedroom and a haircut. He seems destined to grow up, go to refrigerator repair school, get married, and never leave the humble town of Everyburg.

Then Mike gets magically whisked off to Magical Land! He meets elves and fights ogres. He has no frickin' clue how magic works and the social rules and local government are a complete mystery, but thanks to his ability ride a bike and an understanding of how a ground rule double works, he can solve every single problem that has plagued these unwashed heathens for the last five thousand years and rule over them like unto a god. He is... The Wizard From Ordinaryville.

The original Trope Namer was The Wizard of Oz. A travelling carny from Omaha with a penchant for fake magic gets whisked away in his hot air balloon to a land of real magic and ends up ruling there as an unquestioned tyrant, the Great and Powerful Oz.

Unlike a Normal Fish in a Tiny Pond, where the protagonist possesses a power that makes him unique in Magical Land, The Wizard didn't stand out in Ordinaryville and stands out even less in Fantasyland.

Compare to Summon Everyman Hero, where it's explicitly stated that The Everyman is exactly what Magical Land needs, and Down the Rabbit Hole. May have Unfortunate Implications of the Mighty Whitey type.


  • Adam Strange of DC Comics. Here, he's just a scientist. On Rann, he's the greatest superhero on the planet.

  • The Wizard of Oz
  • Josh Kirby Time Warrior. The title character is just an ordinary kid (or so he thinks) until he gets caught up in a journey to save time from some evil maniac in a robotic suit. He saves the day numerous times, despite having virtually no experience wielding a sword, not being particularly intelligent, powerful, or skilled. Subverted later, since it turns out he has time manipulation powers.
  • In Mom and Dad Save the World, the title characters prove to be this because the invading aliens' hat is Too Stupid To Live.
  • Ash from Army Of Darkness was a department store clerk in our era, yet took this trope Up to Eleven after his encounters with the supernatural and unintended trip though time.

  • The Wizard of Oz: See above. The titular character was considered as the Trope Namer, but the trope was ultimately given a generic name.
  • A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court: A nineteenth-century man with an inexplicably encyclopedic knowledge of all technology takes advantage of Clarke's Third Law to remake 6th century England as a modern paradise.
  • In the Wiz Biz series, "Wiz" Zumwalt is an ordinary computer programmer, who becomes the mightiest wizard in Fantasyland by analyzing the magic.
  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, the Pevensee children become kings and queens because of pre-existing prophesy.
  • The protagonist of the Cross-Time Engineer novels is another example in the Connecticut Yankee vein.
  • In the Spellsinger series, Jon-Tom's knowledge of such Real World trivia as aerobics, socialist political science, and TV commercials wind up saving the party just as often as his emerging magical talent.
  • Simon Hawke's Reluctant Sorcerer trilogy deconstructs the "inexplicably knowing things" part by having the "ordinary man" be a genius Absent-Minded Professor and Omnidisciplinary Scientist.

Live Action TV
  • A very-nearly real life version in The West Wing, when a reporter ends up worshiped as a god by a tribe of cannibals because of his palm pilot's ability to predict the next day's weather.

  • The concept album Eldorado by Electric Light Orchestra follows a man on a mission to escape the real world and take up permanent residence in his dream world so he can be this.

Western Animation
  • In The Simpsons episode "Lisa The Drama Queen", Lisa and her friend create a fantasy land where they're the rulers.
  • Ned Frischman was Dave the Barbarian, who is able to dominate the past with video games and a joke book from 1940.
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