I’m really enjoying this Trope Tuesday thing in the Wyrd & Wonder Challenge. Previously I had covered I Never Knew My Father aka The Orphan trope which often goes hand in hand with The Chosen One trope. Star Wars, Harry Potter (sort of), The Kingkiller Chronicles (oh I really hope that whenever book 3 comes out we see the tropes completely subverted though!) just to name a few. Honestly, The Chosen One trope is probably one of the most popular and everlasting tropes in Fantasy even before Fantasy was a distinct genre. King Arthur, anyone? So, this is all well known and established in the community. This trope also can be found alongside prophecies–because who is to decree there even *is* a ‘chosen one’ if there isn’t some sort of prophecy about it? (Hmmm, was Zeus a ‘chosen one’?’)
Because this is SUCH a popular trope, it’s one that often gets subverted a lot or played around with. Even in Harry Potter it turns out that Harry is just one of two possible choices that could have turned out to be *THE ONE*. And I really am looking forward to whatever Rothfuss does with it because he does love to play on the reader’s expectations. And what are tropes except a handy blueprint of collective expectations based upon literary devices? I love when a chosen one trope goes really horribly wrong. You think this person is the hero but it turns out they were the villain all along! Or maybe it turns out they were never ‘the chosen one’ but they were able to get the job done anyway. Good Omens, one of my favorite books, is one that played around with prophecy and chosen ones and someone’s destined lot in life and it’s one of the many reasons I love that book.
Whether straightforward or subverted, this is a trope that’s not going away anytime soon. I think as long as there are fantasy fans this trope will be utilized in some way. I look forward to the way authors continue to build on this trope that’s been around for hundreds of years. What are some of your favorite ‘chosen one’ stories or characters? Leave a note in the comments, I’d love to chat!