I’m a huge fan of Tv Tropes. Ever since I first started reading it a couple of years ago (while trying to figure out what the hell a Deus ex Machina was), I’ve had fun identifying the various tropes in every movie I watch and every book I read. Instead of making stories more predictable, this has improved my appreciation for fiction. It’s probably the only site I waste more time on than Facebook or this one.
One project I’ve been toying with in my head is identifying my own trope from my absolute favorite type of movie/literary moment. What is that moment? I love that part of the story, found right at the climax, when the hero has has gone through endless trials, is fighting the Big Bad or the Dragon, and it suddenly becomes obvious that he’s not only going to win, he can’t lose. Bonus points are if the hero always had the power or device or hidden capability to win but it wasn’t obvious until the exact time it was needed most.
This isn’t simply the point that the hero fights the baddie and wins. There has to be a mix of these elements:
1. At the climax of the story
2. The good guy(s) vs the bad guy(s) in a FINAL showdown. No quarter asked or given.
3. The hero discovers the villain’s weakness/unleashes the great power he’s had for awhile/realizes his destiny/remembers where he left his gun/etc and suddenly realizes that he’s going to beat the bad guy stupid.
4. The villain realizes that he’s totally screwed and his panic or despair is evident (Oh, Crap!)
5. It adds more tension and ultimate satisfaction if it happens shortly after it appears that all was lost.
A good example would be this scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
See what I’m talking about? It’s right there from 0:38 to until about 1:30 when Voldemort dies. You see the “Oh Crap” on his face immediately after the last horcrux is destroyed while Harry smiles a bit and administers the killing stroke as Voldemort helplessly watches the Elder Wand peter out against the wizard who had become its true master in the preceding film.
In Return of the King (gee, am I giving away how much of a royal dork I am or what?) you have a similar one during a battle between Aragorn’s Red Shirt Army and Mordor at the Black Gate:
But the Nazgul turned and fled, and vanished into Mordor’s shadows, hearing a sudden terrible call out of the Dark Tower; and even at that moment all the hosts of Mordor trembled, doubt clutched their hearts, their laughter failed, their hands shook and their limbs were loosed. The Power that drove them on and filled them with hate and fury was wavering, its will was removed from them; and now looking in the eyes of their enemies they saw a deadly light and were afraid.
Then all the Captains of the West cried aloud, for their hearts were filled with a new hope in the midst of darkness. Out from the beleaguered hills knights of Gondor, Riders of Rohan, Dunedain of the North, close-serried companies, drove against their wavering foes, piercing the press with the thrust of bitter spears. But Gandalf lifted up his arms and called once more in a clear voice:
‘Stand, Men of the West! Stand and wait! This is the hour of doom.’
What I’m blegging for here is some help with a bit of writer’s block:
1. Is there already a trope that covers this that I just haven’t seen yet?
2. Can anyone give me a good name for the potential trope I’m talking about? I can describe it but not define it.
3. Anybody got more examples of this kind of thing?
One of these days, I am going to add this but I need some creative assistance. Can anybody join in?