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We've had two previous ATT threads talking about the foil trope, and misuse that's gone on with it.
I kinda proposed starting a cleanup thread for it in the older of the two threads, and since the term itself is already existent and well-defined, we determined we don't need to worry about a TRS thread for it.
This is the thread for us to talk about and fix misuse of the trope. It was brought up in the previous thread that some of the subtropes listed under foil might be misuse as well, so we can talk about that too.
Traditionally, a literary foil is a character with contrasting character traits to another character (normally the protagonist, but this isn't a requirement). They're brought in, interact with the other character, and through their contrast, end up highlighting/emphasizing certain traits of the other character.
The foil page itself uses the example of a hero and their sidekick (Don Quixote and his sidekick Sancho, to be specific) with contrasting traits.
In the ATT threads, the following was discussed:
Edited by ILikeRobots on Sep 1st 2019 at 8:08:24 AM
Great, let's do this.
Let's start with the Foil.Persona 5 thread and move on from there. I'll go create those TLP threads now (one for Foil misuse and one for Expy misuse).
Common ways in which Foil is misused and the new trope will cover:
Edited by Lermis on Sep 1st 2019 at 12:37:36 PM
I don't know if the first bullet is a tropeworthy thing at all, since "opposite characters exist in the same universe" isn't really a narrative pattern or mean anything.
The second, involving backstories and different paths in the plot, I can see having significance in a different trope.
For Persona 5, I'm not fully familiar with the work, but a lot of the entries are written with "this character is different from this character" instead of bringing up how and when they interact and how these traits emphasize their characterization.
Here's a question. Can foil even be given inversions? If so, does this count as an inversion? From Fire Emblem: Three Houses - Golden Deer:
Edited by ILikeRobots on Sep 1st 2019 at 2:58:37 AM
That's the point. Foil has been misused so that characters who do not interact with each other are still slapped with this trope. The reason I'm restricting this to "coming from the same franchise" is because we'd end up with a Counterpart Comparison situation again, and everyone would start comparing characters from different works for the slightest of similarity and difference. I'm just putting this here to show the others were to put the wrong examples. I'll post the link to the thread here once I'm done writing it.
Seriously, I'm new to this so anything you have to say, I'll accept it. I'm just trying to help here. I'm kinda bummed cause I misused the trope to hell and back.
Don't worry. A lot of us have in the past have misunderstood and misused tropes until it was called to our attention/we learned. Don't feel bad.
I might have misunderstood your post, but from what you said:
From what I read, seems like you're saying the new proposed trope will cover examples of "opposite characters in the same setting that don't interact," which I'm arguing isn't tropeworthy at all. I agree with you on characters from different works entirely not counting for the trope as well.
Edited by ILikeRobots on Sep 1st 2019 at 3:11:44 AM
Yeah, I'd agree with "characters who never interact just happen to be different" isn't a trope, more than it is, just... something that happens.
I meant characters that not necessarily interact but still might do so, have near identical backstories and/or traits but their Character Development between the two is very different, ending up highlighting the difference.
I'm writing the draft right now, I'll post the link here once I'm done with it. I'm adding examples now. Hopefully it'll help make things clearer, and help the other tropers understand how they've been misusing Foil.
I'll make a similar thread for Expy misuses afterwards, but this is not the thread to discuss this.
By the way, Inverted foil? No, that won't work. Foil goes both ways, you can't invert it.
Yes, I agree that foil can't be inverted. I genuinely don't understand how that would even work.
and x2 Yeah, I was a bit iffy on it from the beginning. Glad I'm not the only one. I've cut it and put an edit reason linking this thread.
Edited by ILikeRobots on Sep 1st 2019 at 3:39:09 AM
Here is the TLP thread. The proposed trope's name is Same Backstory, Different Behavior. Any potentially misused Foil tropes will be examined by this thread.
So one of my biggest concerns was that the list of "foil tropes" seems shoehorny, as a lot of the tropes (especially the duo tropes) are more about "contrasting character duo".
I agree. The "single characters that are commonly foils" section feels awkward, since if we're just listing character types that might foil others with no context on how they could fit the trope, we'd have to list every character trope, and that's rampant Trope Decay. Some of these duos could be foils, but just listing contrasting character types isn't what the trope is. Maybe the general examples can be clarified as to how they interact and foil one another.
Some of the examples start to do this, but they're not fleshed out enough. For example, maybe something like:
Includes them interacting, an explanation of contrasting traits, and what characterization is emphasized.
Tonight I'll try and go through the list and add my thoughts on every trope mentioned, so look out for that.
Sounds good! Looking forward to it.
I forgot about this in the midst of making a new work page. My post will be tomorrow instead. I gotta sleep.
x2 The main description does have a section that points out that foils often have contrasting appearances, but just the appearance alone doesn't make the trope. Something like Huge Guy, Tiny Girl could be a pair of foils, but it needs context as to how the characters' personalities contrast and emphasize each other.
I don't see how the appearance tropes stand on their own as foil subtropes, really, since a contrasting appearance doesn't immediately mean contrasting and foiling personalities.
Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick already contains contrasting personalities, so it fits the trope with a little explanation.
A Boy and His X is also not about contrasting personalities on its own, but just a close companionship between a person and some sort of pet or creature.
Henpecked Husband could work, given an explanation that the wife's overbearing, strict attitude emphasizes the husband's meek, shy personality.
I was thinking potential tropes so yeah.
Foil.Danganronpa V 3 Killing Harmony, while smaller than P5's page, is probably full of misuse too - only one of the folders covers characters who interact within the main game, with the rest being characters from within the franchise. While a side mode, Ultimate Talent Development Plan, has characters from the other games interact, I don't know what to do in that situation, as it isn't canon.
Edited by GoldenCityBird on Sep 2nd 2019 at 6:05:43 PM
Just looked it over, and yeah, it's rife with "these characters are opposites" with little to nothing about when and if they interact, and "[character] might be this to [character]," which violates Examples Are Not Arguable.
I'm not familiar with the work. Can some of these be made legitimate examples by mentioning how they interact and what characterization is emphasized? Some of these also look like they can be migrated to Same Backstory, Different Behavior when it's finished and launched as well.
As for scenes that aren't necessarily canon, I think it's okay to include them in writeups if there are legitimate foil examples. Fire Emblem's support conversations are generally independent of the main story, and in a lot of cases can't all be canon within the same run of the game since they they affect the endings characters get, but they're still important and many of the foil examples come from support conversations.
Edited by ILikeRobots on Sep 2nd 2019 at 11:33:47 AM
Common Foils, with my commentary and critique, starting with the Standalone Characters:
My take: Most of these tropes do belong here as they do make great foil characters. Others are a serious stretch.
Yeah, I feel that some of these could be examples with proper context. There's a lot to look through, though, so I doubt I can do it all today.
Edited by GoldenCityBird on Sep 2nd 2019 at 7:43:52 PM
No worries. You don't need to scrub through the entire page all at once. Work at your own pace. The important thing is that we're thorough and it gets all cleaned up.
x2 Good analysis. I agree with pretty much all of it. I've gone through and pulled a bunch of subtropes that feel shoehorned and could be pruned or edited on the page with my thoughts after them:
Edited by ILikeRobots on Sep 2nd 2019 at 2:21:01 AM
I agree, and we should add Worthy Opponent as a possible reaction between foils, not a foil trope itself.
As before, most of these are good, but some are really pushing it.
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How well does it match the trope?