Sometimes I think the internet is dominated by English teachers. Literary Fanfiction, trailers for books on YouTube, and sites like tvTropes.com seem like really good teacher’s resources dreamed up by bored English teachers. I’ve written about fanfiction before, and you can see a movie trailer for a book series below.
I want to talk about tvTropes. tvTropes is probably one of the quirkiest and book-geekiest sites I have seen. The website is a comprehensive list of tropes found in television, anime, movies and books. But, because it is a wiki, the tropes have names like:
It’s oddly addictive reading through these irreverent, fan-obsessive and eerily accurate descriptions of these tropes. Each trope page (put together by groups of tropers, ie, those who lurk on tvtropes.org) starts with a description of that trope, and then tons of examples. For Machiavelli Was Wrong the description (sans links) is:
Bands of heroes are generally held together by The Power Of Friendship, Love, or just general loyalty to the hero. Bands of villains tend to be held together by fear of the head villain. Eventually, villains often discover to their surprise that while fear might be easier to establish, love has a lot more staying power.
It then goes on to gives examples Machiavelli being wrong in books and tv shows, touching on the contrasts between Harry Potter and Voldemort’s gangs, the differences in loyalty for Buffy’s Scoobies and the vampires she fights. It also, in typical English teacher fashion, points out that Lord Vetinary in Discworld subverts this trope (this then leads to the VetinaryParadox).
The writing is chatty and full of inside jokes. That can make it confusing to peruse or simply delightful, depending on the reader and the situation. The website is also organized by works (and authors, and characters, and and and…). You can read a summaries and lists of tropes for
I can’t wait until my generation of teachers gets into the classroom and hooks the energy of these fans (who, despite the thesis of this post, are probably mostly bored teenagers) and channels it into exploring outside the world of the web. It will be great fun.
PS: the trailer for a books series I linked to is for the Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. It is one of the best trailers I have seen–I love the use of the Hans Zimmerman music to make it epic. Here is the video:
“Take away my people, but leave my factories, and soon grass will grow on the factory floors. Take away my factories, but leave my people, and soon we will have a new and better factory.” Andrew Carnegie