Created By: Guvner on January 29, 2012

West is best

Western bias

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Everything tall strong and noble comes from the west or north. The south and east are places of vice and cruelty and should get their comeuppance. Examples include the lord of the rings, the lion the witch and the wardrobe and a son of ice and fire.
Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • January 29, 2012
    Considering that the most iconic example of a character associated with a direction is the Wicked Witch of the West, I think you're seeing patterns where none exist.
  • January 29, 2012
    Unknown Troper
    Maybe not applicable to characters more to fictional races. The good guys in the lord of the rings the tall, noble men of westernesse fighting against various "easterlings". 300 pits the noble spartans against the eastern Persian empire. My point is that, people from the east or south tend to be the grasping and greedy characters. In my opinion it harks back to the days of the medeival Europe.
  • January 29, 2012
    In Both the Belgariad and The Elenium, the bad guys are located east and south. Partially Subverted by the original Shannara trilogy: In the first book, the danger comes from the North and in the sequel from West, while only in the last book the danger comes from the East.
  • January 29, 2012
    In The Last Herald Mage and To Light A Candle the evil races come from the North. Any direction can be used. Any at all. There's no overarching media pattern.
  • January 29, 2012
    If there's any pattern, it's the geography in fantasy works seems to be based mainly around a four point compass. As in you often hear about someone coming from those four directins than "They come from an island 20 leagues northeast of Somethingtown".
  • January 29, 2012
    It's widely recognized in academic writing that the northern hemisphere tends to be privileged or rated over the southern. The Greek myth of Hyperborea, a paradisical land to the north, turns up in a lot of fantasy fiction, for example, most notably Robert E. Howard's Conan The Barbarian.

    Another classic example is the Victorian adventure novel: villains like Count Fosco in The Woman In White come from southern Europe to menace northern Europe; similarly, characters like '''Dracula" come from Eastern Europe to threaten good folks in Western Europe. Yellow Peril is all about preferring West to East, and then there's the popular use of "East" and "West" in the Cold War.

    The pattern is there, and the pattern is very old. It's also understandably restricted to Western works. But the proposed trope needs to be written with more detail and care to bring that out.

  • January 29, 2012
    You might want to make references to Fantasy Counterpart Culture and Left Justified Fantasy Map, as these cause the super-cool ocean-side European-inspired culture to have nobody to their west, while the bad guys are usually in one of the other cardinal directions.
  • January 29, 2012
    I think the examples given should mention where the good and bad factions lie. Otherwise, it's just a list of random works. The devil is in the details, as they say.
  • January 30, 2012
    Averted in The Wheel Of Time: The Blight is in the North. And it's not cold either.
  • January 30, 2012
    Well, there are Hordes From The East.

    The North is more ambiguous (there is Grim Up North) -- after all, the barbarians that were blamed for the Fall of Rome came from the North (and East).

    Maybe we could have an index for all the connotations of geographic directions in fiction?
  • January 30, 2012
    Two words: In America!
  • January 30, 2012
  • February 10, 2012
    Not really.