Favorite Archetypes | Top Ten Tuesday

The topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl, was favorite Top Ten Tropes. I struggled with this one a little bit – everything I thought of was an archetype (hello, mind of an English teacher, wherein trope is related to figurative language). So I just shifted my title to be favorite archetypes. I’ve broken them into two categories: character and situational, etc.


  1. The Fool — The only character in Shakespeare (and other stories) allowed to speak truth to power — primarily because everyone thought the fool to be ridiculous.
  2. The Evil Figure with a Good Heart — I’m a sucker for a redeemable villain. And I’m a sucker for bad guys whose circumstances made them bad guys.
  3. The Devil Figure — The first pit orchestra I played in was for Damn Yankees. I was in high school and it was the most amazing experience. All that to say that my first contact with this character archetype was in this musical, which is an adaptation of the novel The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant (which I did download after writing this entry).
  4. Star-crossed Lovers — I know how many people absolutely abhor Romeo & Juliet, but I can’t help but love it. And I don’t even know why. I’ll read star-crossed lovers all summer long.
  5. The Temptress — I learned about noir in college, and have since fallen in love with the genre. I don’t read it much, but the temptress character has the potential to be so fascinating.

Situational, etc.

  1. The Hero Journey — I will argue that every story is a hero journey. Even romance (at least YA romance). You can fight me on this.
  2. Death and Rebirth — I enjoy a good coming-of-age story, which I’ll argue falls under this archetype.
  3. Unhealable Wound — This one I find fascinating, though I don’t see it often. Interestingly, the Fisher King character archetype (who sports the unhealable wound, representative of the sins of the community) did not make the above list. But that’s okay.
  4. The Initiation — This is the part of the hero journey I like the best, especially when teenagers are involved. They’re so adamant that they’re not going to go do the thing they’re called to do, and then they go do it. It amuses me.
  5. Possession of a Magical Weapon — There’s something about a weapon that only the hero can wield that is too cool. The first that comes to mind for me is Riptide from Percy Jackson. Can I just say… I want one.

What are your favorite tropes or archetypes?

One comment

  1. What an organized list.

    I’m fascinated by Unhealable Wounds as well, although I can’t remember the last time I read a book that featured this archetype.

    My TTT


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