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Misused (YKTTW name crowner): Heroes Prefer Swords get usage counts

[up] That's true. I'm thinking that the name was just picked because it sounds nice, and this trope really is supposed to be part of Weapon of Choice. There's nothing in the description about heroes actually preferring swords - it just says that they always use one.

edited 26th Feb '12 11:12:46 PM by abk0100

 27 Native Jovian, Sun, 26th Feb '12 11:12:50 PM from Orlando, Florida
Io vs Jupiter
Actually, I feel like "Heroes use swords instead of other period-appropriate weapons" and "heroes use swords when more advanced weapons are available" are really the same trope
There are definitely different implications if a character uses a sword instead of a spear/axe/knife than if a character uses a sword instead of a rifle/pistol/machine gun. The former is just a specific form of Weapon of Choice (where the hero's Weapon of Choice is a sword because it's more heroic that way), while the latter implies something unusual going on like Implausible Fencing Powers and actually probably requires its own Anachronistic Weapon Usage trope.

edited 26th Feb '12 11:14:08 PM by NativeJovian

 28 Tera Chimera, Sun, 26th Feb '12 11:18:42 PM from somewhere out there
Cool Celtic Composition
[up][up] The title could probably use some tweaking. If we're going with using the sword to show who the hero is, it could be Swords Denote Leadership. We'll also need a new page image.

This is entirely separate from Anachronistic Weapon Usage.
"The Uncertainty Principle isn't about uncertainty and it isn't a principle; other than that, it's perfectly named." — David Van Baak
 29 Helter Skelter, Sun, 26th Feb '12 11:24:08 PM Relationship Status: Drift compatible
[up][up] And yet I feel like they are born of the same reason: swords are heroic, and thus heroes use them. But, I do believe the fact that anachronistic weapons are used at all is its own trope. It's just when a hero uses a sword anachronistically and everyone else doesn't, that's part of this trope too.

I also feel like it's very rare that we see a reason for the hero to use a sword and not, say, a laser gun. Usually he simply has it.

It seems like everyone basically agree? 2 tropes:

  • "Heroes use swords because swords and heroic. No in-story reason needs to be given."

  • and "Character uses anachronistic weapons, either just because they prefer them and are really good at using them, or for some other justification."

I mentioned before, we have something very close to that second one. It's The John Henry, and it's not doing very well.

 31 Deboss, Sun, 26th Feb '12 11:59:31 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
Being born of the same reason doesn't mean they're not different.
 32 Helter Skelter, Mon, 27th Feb '12 12:54:47 AM Relationship Status: Drift compatible
[up] I mean that, in essence, they are there and used the same exact way. But they might be connected to tropes that have different implications.

 33 Deboss, Mon, 27th Feb '12 2:57:36 AM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
From the authors perspective, they might have the same purpose, but they don't have the same purpose from the characters perspective.
 34 Martello, Thu, 1st Mar '12 7:05:19 PM from Black River, NY
Hammer of the Pervs
Why is this a "video game only" trope again? This definitely shows up in all kinds of media. Pretty much anything sword-and-sandal or fantasy will feature this trope. Troy definitely did this, with Achilles primarily using a sword instead of the spear. The classical warriors used spears as a main weapon and swords as a sidearm, but that's rarely reflected in real life fiction. Same with many Early Middle Ages works. Anything with Saxons should feature a lot of spears, but you'll likely see more swords and axes, and maybe a seax or two if they're trying a little harder to be historically accurate.

When's the last time you saw any fantasy hero in anything with a spear?

EDIT: Stupid wrong word choice. Less tequila would be good.

edited 1st Mar '12 7:29:50 PM by Martello

"Did anybody invent this stuff on purpose?" - Phillip Marlowe on tequila, Finger Man by Raymond Chandler.
 35 shimaspawn, Thu, 1st Mar '12 7:06:14 PM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
Son Goku and anything based on him has staves or spears, but I get your point.

edited 1st Mar '12 7:12:33 PM by shimaspawn

Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
 36 ccoa, Thu, 1st Mar '12 7:21:22 PM from the Sleeping Giant
Ravenous Sophovore
It's worth noting that this trope was already renamed once, from Not Compensating for Anything (which was an terrible name and widely misused). The other names considered can be seen on the old crowner.

I'd support spinning off Anachronistic Weapon (or whatever) and making this more about swords being heroic (possibly with a name change). That's hitting the meaning of the trope, not just the pattern.
Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
 37 Martello, Thu, 1st Mar '12 9:27:09 PM from Black River, NY
Hammer of the Pervs
[up][up]True, and I was going to say I might be focusing too much on western fantasy works, but even most Japanese medieval heroes, fantasy and otherwise, use katana despite the huge number of other choices. At least that I've seen.

There are certainly cultural reasons for this trope, which I believe should be reflected in the description. Many northern European cultures venerated the longsword just as much as samurai did the katana.
"Did anybody invent this stuff on purpose?" - Phillip Marlowe on tequila, Finger Man by Raymond Chandler.
 38 Deboss, Fri, 2nd Mar '12 12:55:52 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
Why is this a "video game only" trope again?

Because we have a number of users who think in only one medium. Saving the World had the same problem (assuming it was fixed and doesn't need another round). Anime is the other big offender of this. At least, the ones that come to TRS anyway.
Saving the World never got fixed. The TRS for that is still outstanding.

The large number of medium specific tropes is in part an artifact of when this website was more sharply segregated by medium.

edited 2nd Mar '12 1:44:56 PM by Catbert

 40 Deboss, Fri, 2nd Mar '12 1:52:02 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
And fandoms.
 41 ccoa, Fri, 2nd Mar '12 2:18:34 PM from the Sleeping Giant
Ravenous Sophovore
It should probably be mentioned to whomever YKTT Ws Anachronistic Weapon that a subtrope already exists: The Straight and Arrow Path.
Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
 42 Martello, Fri, 2nd Mar '12 2:38:52 PM from Black River, NY
Hammer of the Pervs
[up][up]I kind of don't like fandoms, in general. Fans are cool. Just not when they're part of a rabid "fandom."

edited 2nd Mar '12 2:39:10 PM by Martello

"Did anybody invent this stuff on purpose?" - Phillip Marlowe on tequila, Finger Man by Raymond Chandler.
 43 Native Jovian, Fri, 2nd Mar '12 3:52:04 PM from Orlando, Florida
Io vs Jupiter
So, what do we actually want to do with this trope? Restrict it to medieval-ish only settings, or allow it to include any example of The Hero using a sword, regardless of tech level?
[up][up] Same here.

[up] I think this should be when the hero is using a sword when there are better weapons available. I'm unsure about situations where enough characters have various melee weapons to the point where it seems standard for the setting, considering swords are rather good melee weapons.
The Internet misuses, abuses, and overuses everything.
 45 Native Jovian, Fri, 2nd Mar '12 4:04:09 PM from Orlando, Florida
Io vs Jupiter
Well, we definitely need a trope for "The Hero uses a sword rather than a spear/axe/mace/etc". And "a character uses a sword/spear/axe/mace/etc instead of a gun or other modern weapon" seems tropable as well. The question is whether we want to have those be separate tropes or not.
Well, it's definitely a trope that the guy with the sword is the hero, pretty much no matter technology level. Or possibly his rival. I'd also say it's an Always Male trope, considering females don't tend to use swords to signify hero-status the same way.

Perhaps they do fit under one roof. Soft split, perhaps? Or Heroes Prefer Swords with Heroes Prefer Swords Even When Its Not A Very Good Idea Just Because They Are The Heroes as a subtrope. Personally I'm in favour of using the second as a name for the actual trope.

edited 2nd Mar '12 4:18:58 PM by Feather7603

The Internet misuses, abuses, and overuses everything.
 47 ccoa, Fri, 2nd Mar '12 5:36:04 PM from the Sleeping Giant
Ravenous Sophovore
I think the best idea is to have two tropes:

  • Swords Are Heroic: The hero uses a sword because, due to cultural ideas, they are deemed heroic, even if other weapons are more practical.
  • Anachronistic Weapon: A character uses a weapon that should be obsolete in the setting, but it's shown to be just as effective as or better than modern (to the setting) weapons
Waiting on a TRS slot? Finishing off one of these cleaning efforts will usually open one up.
 48 Martello, Fri, 2nd Mar '12 5:46:44 PM from Black River, NY
Hammer of the Pervs
Agreed.

Swords Are Heroic should also cover in the description situations where the hero uses a sword even if it's unlikely that he would have one, especially instead of a spear. For example, he's a hoplite or some other classical non-Roman warrior. Or he's a poor farmboy who would have no logical means of acquiring such an expensive weapon. Or he's a Saxon. Vikings were fond of axes and spears as well as swords, but a Viking hero will always use a sword. Beowulf is a notable exception due to it being a contemporary work. Haven't read it in a while, but I believe he primarily uses a spear. "Wyrd goeth where she must" and all that.

edited 2nd Mar '12 5:48:23 PM by Martello

"Did anybody invent this stuff on purpose?" - Phillip Marlowe on tequila, Finger Man by Raymond Chandler.
Not An Avatar
I could have sworn we had a trope about anachronistic sword users in YKTTW a while ago... aha!

I think this trope needs to be prioritized as the Weapon of Choice trope for sword-users. It is part of the trope that the lead character generally uses a sword, though.
We're not just men of science, we're men of TROPE!
 50 Deboss, Fri, 2nd Mar '12 6:14:02 PM from Awesomeville Texas
I see the Awesomeness.
Opinion: Swords Are Heroic should also include when generals and other military officers (of fictional militaries) carry swords for this reason. Or it's mentioned in name. Being accurate in a historical period is just being accurate, even if it's a RL invocation of the trope.

Alternative Titles: Deprecated Weapon YKTTW
21st Jun '12 9:21:06 AM
Vote up names you like, vote down names you don't. Whether or not the name will actually be changed is determined with a different kind of Crowner (the Single Proposition crowner). This one just collects and ranks alternative names.
At issue:

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