Needs Help: Holy Child

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This does actually seem to be a distinct trope. As near as I can tell, it goes like this: MacGuffin Girl is a regular inanimate MacGuffin transformed into, or otherwise embodied within, a person. Living MacGuffin is a person who is so desirable in some way (they're a beautiful princess, an innocent child, a love interest, etc) that they're effectively a MacGuffin. The President's Daughter is a person whose only value is their relationship to someone else. Holy Child is a person who is valuable for powers or abilities they have — they're The Chosen One, or a Barrier Maiden, or something to that effect.

Of course, all of those tropes could use some work to make their distinctions more clear.
[up] I agree with all of that. MacGuffin Girl is the worst of the lot; it gets mistaken for Living MacGuffin all the time.
28 Spark923rd Jun 2013 03:10:11 PM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
[up][up] I like that summary, but within it I'm not seeing any distinction between Holy Child and Living Mc Guffin.

Looking over this thread, I see many people agreeing with merging, and then one person pipes up and says "no" but without strong arguments or alternatives. So I think that we should crowner this, there may well be a consensus for this.
Special trousers. Very heroic.
Example analysis:

The Golden Child was on Holy Child until being commented out for being a Zero-Context Example; its work page nominates the title character as a MacGuffin. However, Living MacGuffin specifies "a character who is quite free, in little to no danger, desperately sought after and out of the hero's reach," which is not true in this case, as the child has been kidnapped and is in danger. The President's Daughter also lists him as an example that "doesn't count quite as a MacGuffin." He's also listed as an example of Cosmic Keystone and Barrier Maiden. This last trope is the one whose definition fits him best, I think, though the name seems entirely awkward here (as does The President's Daughter, which I would argue needs narrowing to exclude Barrier Maiden).

I've changed my mind about needing Holy Child as a separate trope, but redirecting it to Living MacGuffin still seems wrong.

edited 23rd Jun '13 4:22:43 PM by Prfnoff

[up][up]Living MacGuffin is a MacGuffin because of some mundane but highly desirable trait they have (eg they have Royal Blood, they're rich as hell, they're So Beautiful, It's a Curse). Holy Child is a MacGuffin because they have unique, or at least extremely rare, supernatural abilities (eg they're The Chosen One, a Barrier Maiden or Apocalypse Maiden, The Antichrist or Anti Anti Christ, etc).

edited 23rd Jun '13 6:19:27 PM by NativeJovian

31 Spark924th Jun 2013 12:58:51 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
I don't see that as a split-worthy difference, because theimpact on the story is usually the same.
Special trousers. Very heroic.
[up]Then the definition of Living MacGuffin would need changing.
[up][up]I would disagree. There's a significant difference between "everyone is fighting over Helen of Troy because she's seriously ridiculously super hot" and "everyone is fighting over The Chosen One, because whoever controls them will be able to save/destroy the world as they see fit".
34 SeptimusHeap26th Jun 2013 04:40:57 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
I would question that, if only because I am not clear on how the distinction is material.
35 Spark926th Jun 2013 05:10:16 AM from Castle Wulfenbach , Relationship Status: Too sexy for my shirt
Gentleman Troper!
[up] Precisely.

In almost every case, that "ability to destroy the world" that people are fighting over is an Informed Ability, in that in most stories the world doesn't actually get destroyed. So that makes it equivalent to the unearthly beauty they're fighting over. The key is that everybody wants him/her (that's what makes the McGuffin), not how the authors justify that.
Special trousers. Very heroic.
I see what you're saying, but I still think they're distinct. It's pretty much the classic Lumper vs. Splitter debate, so I don't think there's much to do besides call for a crowner.
Our options are renamw and rewrite to match misuse and to split it into two new tropes, correct? Any other courses we could take?
The discussion thus far has been largely "merge with another trope" or "keep separate" — we haven't really gotten into which trope we'd merge it with or what we'd do with it if we kept it separate (though I'd personally vote for "rename and expand description").
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Total posts: 38
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