Tweet of the Day: Writing Excuses 10.5: Worldbuiding Wilderness with Wes Chu
We know these tropes by heart. Threaten a child and expect either their mother or father to come after you with the intention to destroy you and then spit on whatever little pieces are left. A reliable trope if you want to show that a) a character is a bad ass and b) that they care for more than themselves.
And there lies the problem.
When invoked by or for characters to allow for what otherwise would be out of character moments. A female character known to be defenseless or hopeless all of the sudden transforms into an amazon. A male character known to be selfish and uncaring becomes a heroic figure out to protect the meek. Not only that, due to this trope they are expected to succeed where moments before they surely would have failed. Without any proper foreshadowing it has the tendency to fall flat.