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GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Aug 26th 2021 at 9:25:19 PM

Should the rename option just be for renaming in general, rather than just having one name option, so we can run an Alternative Titles crowner later if that option has consensus?

Edit: Fixed typo.

Edited by GastonRabbit on Aug 27th 2021 at 10:11:21 AM

Thud!!
WarJay77 The cutest little monster from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The cutest little monster
Berrenta MOD Winter is coming... from Texas Relationship Status: Can't buy me love
Winter is coming...
Sep 4th 2021 at 6:10:36 AM

Sorry for the delay. Hooked.

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GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Sep 11th 2021 at 5:41:53 PM

While the redefinition option has enough consensus, the other options don't have enough votes, so I'm going to advertise this thread on ATT.

Edit: Done.

Edited by GastonRabbit on Sep 11th 2021 at 9:01:07 AM

Thud!!
GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Sep 12th 2021 at 9:18:11 AM

We got a bit more votes after I posted the bulletin, and the rename option is above ten votes, but I'm not sure it counts as enough consensus to rename. Either way, the consensus to redefine to morals that are impossible in real life is unanimously in favor.

Thud!!
Berrenta MOD Winter is coming... from Texas Relationship Status: Can't buy me love
Winter is coming...
Sep 12th 2021 at 1:19:18 PM

Calling in favor of redefining. Renaming's off the table due to failed consensus.

TRS needs your help!
Adept Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sep 13th 2021 at 9:10:16 AM

So I think we need to put clearer restrictions on what "impossible to apply in real life" actually mean. Because some Aesops are impossible to apply if you take the events leading up to it literally (e.g. don't do time travel to change the past), but if you strip away the fantastical trappings it's possible to get a more reasonable moral lesson that can (e.g. don't get too hung up on past failures, and focus on improving the future).

Edited by Adept on Sep 13th 2021 at 11:11:03 PM

WarJay77 The cutest little monster from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The cutest little monster
Sep 13th 2021 at 11:56:07 AM

I think "impossible in real life" would mean lessons that only apply in a fantasy world, and are just irrelevant to the audience.

...THAT said, you bring up a good point, and now I'm wondering if this would be better as YMMV- as the lessons might be interpreted differently. That's an issue with a lot of Aesop tropes, tbh; they act as though the lessons are objectively present, but in many cases they're just up for interpretation or don't exist at all.

Wick Check Project - Troper Wall - Currently working on: Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World
selkies Inactive threads bumper Relationship Status: Star-crossed
Inactive threads bumper
Sep 13th 2021 at 1:43:09 PM

Right, lessons that are impossible to apply IRL in its core, i.e. don't lie to your friends because a dragon might eat you. Well, lying definitely has consequences, but dragons aren't real and there isn't more to the Aesop than that. If a work has such a direct Aesop like this In-Universe, it can be objective. Only if it can be interpreted in different ways, then yeah, it'd be YMMV.

Sep 13th 2021 at 2:18:19 PM

[up]That example would be a Space Whale Aesop. Perhaps Fantastic Aesop could cover situations that obviously have no real life applications (e.g. don't raise the dead because they'll come back as zombies) and there could be a separate trope for use of a supernatural lesson as a metaphor for a real life one (e.g. don't be racist against vampires).

GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Sep 13th 2021 at 2:28:41 PM

[up]Correct. That is indeed a Space Whale Aesop. A Fantastic Aesop would be something more along the lines of "Don't lie to dragons or they might burn you to a crisp."

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selkies Inactive threads bumper Relationship Status: Star-crossed
Inactive threads bumper
Sep 13th 2021 at 3:14:03 PM

The two are confusing tbh, but I agree. The distinction between this and Space Whale Aesop needs to be clear after the redefinition. Regardless, I still see it as an objective trope, though.

WarJay77 The cutest little monster from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The cutest little monster
Sep 13th 2021 at 3:15:00 PM

Fair enough. We just need to weed out examples where the aesop is entirely speculative.

Wick Check Project - Troper Wall - Currently working on: Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World
GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Sep 13th 2021 at 4:40:56 PM

Well, here's the difference between a regular lesson, a Space Whale Aesop, and a Fantastic Aesop:

  • Regular lesson: Don't run with scissors or you might hurt someone. (The lesson is applicable to real life and the outcome is realistic.)
  • Space Whale Aesop: Don't run with scissors or you might cause a Zombie Apocalypse. (The lesson is applicable to real life, but the outcome is unrealistic.)
  • Fantastic Aesop: Don't try to resurrect the dead or you might cause a Zombie Apocalypse. (Both the lesson and the outcome are unrealistic.)

And yeah, I agree that it's an objective trope. If a work of fiction is saying not to do something that can't be done in real life, the fact that it can't be done in real life doesn't keep it from being objectively in the work.

Edited by GastonRabbit on Sep 13th 2021 at 6:43:21 AM

Thud!!
Adept Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Sep 13th 2021 at 9:04:31 PM

A Fantastic Aesop would be something more along the lines of "Don't lie to dragons or they might burn you to a crisp."

I mean if you take the moral lesson as simply "don't lie" instead of "don't lie to dragons", then the moral lesson is no longer a fantastic one.

Orbiting Relationship Status: I've got a total eclipse of the heart
Sep 13th 2021 at 9:11:07 PM

Yeah, that's what's tripping me up on understanding these tropes. "If you have super-strength and don't use it to stop muggers when you see them, they will kill your uncle" is a Fantastic Aesop, right? But the more general aesop of "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility" isn't, even though you can get both from the exact same work depending on your perspective.

WarJay77 The cutest little monster from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The cutest little monster
Sep 13th 2021 at 9:11:52 PM

Even something like "Don't ride dragons, or they'll eat you" can be taken as "be careful with wild animals".

Wick Check Project - Troper Wall - Currently working on: Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World
GastonRabbit A real nowhere man from Robinson, Illinois, USA Relationship Status: I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me
Sep 19th 2021 at 1:30:10 AM

Yep, that's my problem with those tropes as well. Most seemingly "fantastic" lessons can be applied to real life if you think about it for a couple of minutes. Those that really can't are exceedingly rare. "Burn the corpses in a setting with undead", Never Shall The Selves Meet or "don't mess with paradoxes in a setting with time travel" (and even those often just end up being Be Careful What You Wish For in disguise).

And some examples with seemingly no relevance (like "don't tamper with genes") actually have a lot of relevance without any interpretation necessary.

Also, isn't "the analogy breaks down" just the Broken Aesop?

Edited by Asherinka on Sep 19th 2021 at 2:11:55 PM

Sep 26th 2021 at 3:46:36 AM

Most of the clear examples i can come up with are spoofs, actually. So this is almost a subtrope of Spoof Aesop. although I would argue not quite a true subtrope, since it could in theory by used straight and not as a joke -for example an old puritan tale whose moral is "don't make deals with witches!" could be played straight but isn't possible in real life

(And you could certainly interpret that to mean "don't make deals with bad people", but the original writers clearly meant it literally)

At any rate I would certainly mention the heavy overlap with Spoof Aesop in the new description

Hmmm- as one potential criteria- if the moral lesson learned by the characters could apply to real life without a metaphorical interpretation or analogy, it doesn't count- for example, "don't tell lies to dragons" doesn't require any interpretation to apply to "don't tell lies in general", while "don't use time travel to solve your problem" cannot possibly be applied irl without generous interpretation

I can see that it's difficult to make a clear cut case between "impossible to apply to real life" vs "clearly meant to be a direct analogy to real life". There's quite a bit of gray area. But there are lots of unambiguous examples- the page image and the page quote, for example. So there is a real trope to be found here.

Edited by Tremmor19 on Sep 27th 2021 at 3:25:48 PM

WarJay77 The cutest little monster from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The cutest little monster
Oct 5th 2021 at 2:06:41 AM

Those ones definitely seem like spoofs, though. Like, I'm pretty sure both of them are parodies.

I can't think of any legit, unambiguous, straight examples.

Edited by WarJay77 on Oct 5th 2021 at 5:07:15 AM

Wick Check Project - Troper Wall - Currently working on: Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World
Adept Relationship Status: Having tea with Cthulhu
Oct 5th 2021 at 8:45:43 AM

By the way, "half" of the current definition of Fantastic Aesop is a "failed metaphor" that causes an otherwise decent aesop to fall apart if you apply some Fridge Logic (e.g. presenting a message against racism, but the race being discriminated against is genuinely Always Chaotic Evil). Can that be salvaged, or can it be put under other An Aesop tropes? The option to keep that definition for this page was downvoted, but I think it can work as its own thing.

Edited by Adept on Oct 5th 2021 at 10:53:06 PM

WarJay77 The cutest little monster from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
The cutest little monster
Oct 28th 2021 at 9:54:25 PM

Ive written out a description that fits the definition as decided on in the crowner, just so we can see how this looks for now- although if someone has any more specific ideas on that I'd love to hear.

I think it might also be a good idea to include a paragraph about how this can turn into a broken or lost aesop if the metaphor struggles to connect to real life etc

I also do agree with [up][up] that the trope idea for "broken metaphor aesop" is actually quite a good one and could be salvaged, possibly in tlp


A situation in which the characters learn some sort of moral or lesson which is impossible to apply in Real Life. The lesson may be perfectly reasonable in context- but totally useless to the audience, who presumably live on modern day planet Earth.

Often Science Fiction and Fantasy stories will use metaphors or analogies to teach a moral lesson which does apply to the real world- for example, using Fantastic Racism to apply to a lesson about real-world discrimination. Other times the lesson just has no direct relevance at all (at least without a generous level of interpretation)- such as teaching a moral lesson against using Time Travel or The Dark Side to fix your problems.

This is commonly used as a Spoof Aesop, generally acknowledged when the characters explicitly state the ridiculous moral they've just learned]].

Compare with Space Whale Aesop: the lesson itself is reasonable, but the consequences are unrealistic

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PageAction: FantasticAesopRedux
26th Aug '21 12:49:55 PM

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