[[quoteright:260:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/toughguidetofantasyland_7211.jpg]]
This piece of MetaFiction by Creator/DianaWynneJones [[AllMythsAreTrue pretends that pretty much all of the fantasy stories ever told -- well, most]] [[StrictlyFormula modern genre fantasies]], [[AllMythsAreTrue anyway -- took place in a place called "Fantasyland"]], and that the creators of the stories are the [[LiteraryAgentHypothesis "Management"]] who arrange for the audience to go on "tours". With this setup, an extensive list of fantasy tropes is presented as if to a tourist visiting another country and thoroughly {{deconstruct|ion}}ed. It also pretends that the stories are statistically representative of "Fantasyland," and thus concludes that the most common type of meal is stew, that cities are composed mainly of alleyways, and that the ecology and economy of Fantasyland are severely screwed up.

Jones later wrote a novel called ''Literature/DarkLordOfDerkholm'' set in the Fantasyland described in the ''Tough Guide'' and deconstructing it further by revealing it's really nothing like the guidebook at all and it's all put on (very reluctantly) for the benefit of the tourists.
----
!!Tropes in this book.

('''Note:''' As the whole point of the book is to list and {{deconstruct|edTrope}} as many fantasy tropes as the author could identify, it's a fair bet that any fantasy-related trope known to this wiki gets some kind of coverage. But the following tropes are definitely among those included -- and, pretty much to a one, [[SubvertedTrope subverted]] and [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]].)

* AlwaysChaoticEvil: Jones pretty much comments on ''all'' the UnfortunateImplications found in "Tolkienesque" fantasy.
* ArabianNightsDays: The "Fanatic Caliphates" setting.
* ApothecaryAlligator: Mummified alligators are a common feature of wizards' laboratories. Live alligators are much rarer, and believed to be extinct.
* AristocratsAreEvil: A primary feature of the land of the Aristocratic Feudalists.
* AssassinOutclassin: This is the topic of the entry on Assassins - that the tourist is attacked in an inn by a [[TheWorfEffect supposedly]] expert Assassin but manages to overpower and kill them, and the Assassin goes to his death complaining about the Tourist breaking the [[WeirdTradeUnion rules]].
* AutomatonHorses: The Tough Guide speculates that in Fantasyland horses may be a type of vegetable.
* BeautyEqualsGoodness: Jones pretty much comments on ''all'' the UnfortunateImplications found in "Tolkienesque" fantasy.
* BetterThanABareBulb: The book was written to lampshade.
* {{Bishonen}}: The "gay mage" tour companion.
* TheBlacksmith: A good source of allies.
* BornInTheSaddle: The Anglo-Saxon Cossack barbarians.
* BurnTheWitch: A common hazard (along with crucifixion) when dealing with Religious Feudalists.
* ButNotTooWhite: A character's goodness can be judged by their tan.
* CityOfCanals
* ColorCodedForYourConvenience: Jones pretty much comments on ''all'' the UnfortunateImplications found in "Tolkienesque" fantasy.
* CorruptChurch: The land of the Religious Feudalists are ruled by one of these.
* CrystalDragonJesus: The One God variety of Religion, if a male god is used. Even if his worshipers see him as benign, they tend to hate women and magic users (and witches, who are frequently both), and fall into KnightTemplar territory at their worst.
* DidYouJustHaveSex: The Guide tells you the signs to look for in one of your tour members and the correct etiquette for the situation.
* DistressedDamsel: Entry number one on Princesses consists of one word -- "Wimps."
* DragonHoard: Wondering on why dragons hoard treasure, Jones conjectures that dragons absorb nutrients from gold by sleeping on it.
* DragonRider: Likely to show up.
* DroitDuSeigneur: Mentioned by name as one of the things that bad Aristocratic Feudalists get up to when oppressing the peasantry.
* EvilChancellor: Very likely to show up.
* EvilSmellsBad: The "Reek of Wrongness."
* EncyclopediaExposita
* EvilMatriarch: The "bad mother" variety of bad queen.
* FantasyCounterpartCulture: A whole bunch of them.
* FantasyWorldMap: [[spoiler: Take a look at the map ''upside down''. Run the place-names through an anagram generator while you're at it.]]
* ForgottenTrope: The entries tend to draw from cliches of StrictlyFormula commercial fantasy as well as some instances likely [[TakeThat directed at particular works]]. So, while a lot of the tropes it cites are still frequently used, others aren't so much.
* GalleySlave: The only reason that galleys seem to exist in Fantasyland. If a male character is enslaved, chances are he'll probably wind up chained to an oar as one of these.
* GiantFlyer
* GladiatorGames: The other common fate of male characters who get enslaved.
* GladiatorRevolt: The inevitable consequence of a lead character being enslaved as a gladiator.
* GodSaveUsFromTheQueen: The "old fashioned bad" variety of bad queen.
* GodsNeedPrayerBadly: One of the two absolute Rules in regards to religion in Fantasyland.
* HeroesWantRedheads: Princesses who fall for the hero are often redheads in Fantasyland.
* IKnowYourTrueName: Using PunctuationShaker names is used as a form of protection against this.
* LampshadeHanging
* LeftJustifiedFantasyMap
* MadeASlave
* AManIsNotAVirgin
* MorePredatorsThanPrey
* NoPeriodsPeriod
* PunctuationShaker
* RebelliousPrincess: Entry number two on Princesses.
* RedShirt: The Serious Soldier, who lacks personality and whose role in the story consists mainly of helping out in the fight scenes and inevitably dying at a dramatically appropriate moment.
* RescueSex: The entry on slavery mentions beautiful female varieties of slave and how they are rescued from [[SexSlave sexual slavery]] by a Conanesque male character, who is rewarded with no-holds-barred sex, and then [[NotStayingForBreakfast abandons them in the middle of nowhere]].
* ShoutOut: [[TheLordOfTheRings "[Cursed rings] must be returned from whence they came, preferably at over a thousand degrees Fahrenheit, and the curse means you won't want to do this."]] Among others.
* TarotMotifs
* {{Turncoat}}: Which is only people who turn ''against'' you. People who come over to your side are only doing what is right. Notable in that coats do not exist in Fantasyland (cloaks, instead, are the preferred form of outerwear), but turncoats do.
* VainSorceress
* VestigialEmpire: The TropeNamer, even.
* VirginSacrifice: The preferred form of Sacrifice among evil religions, which features ritual rape as part of the ceremony.
* VirginityMakesYouStupid
* WhenTreesAttack
* WeirdTradeUnion: Jones wonders if the assassins' and thieves' guilds are the only ones existing in Fantasyland.
* YouAllMeetInAnInn: Of course you do.

----