Tropes 001 – Why is it Always a Farm Boy

Tropes are important for storytelling. They are essential tools that help an author. They can also feel overused and outdated.

Fantasy heroes have a pretty standard origin. They are either the noble son of the noble father of the noble line, destined to rule with peace and prosperity…or they are a farm boy. But why a farm boy? Why always a farm boy? Let’s take a look at why this trope exists and what function it serves. I mean, we need to look at why it’s always a farm boy before we can find a replacement.

First and foremost, this person is supposed to become the hero. Farm boys work because working farms are hard. You get those country muscles. I could see a farm boy overpowering a soldier. If that were the only case, that leaves us with some other jobs that are good subs. Blacksmiths are great, dock loaders, pretty much any physically demanding job.

Second, farm boys come from humble origins. They have to overcome their social class as well. This adds at least two decent subplots as the farm boy learns to be gentile and some snobby git tries to sabotage them for the farm boys heritage. If this is the case, any lower class job would work. I’d start to avoid things like blacksmiths at this point as they would have routine dealings with nobles who need repairs and arms. Depending on skill, a blacksmith might have more leeway to say what they want, but they still know their place. Kind if ruins some of the humble origins bit.

But the most important reason why it’s always a farm boy is this. They are easily ignorant of the world. Farms are in rural areas. Rural areas are simple and innocent and poorly educated because everyone has to work all day. So the farm boy leaves the farm and now doesn’t know anything about the world. He gets to ask questions and get explanations, meaning we get explanations. He doesn’t know urban politics so we get the crash course in the major houses and who hates who. Same with the war and the rebellion and etc and etc and etc. So who can replace the farm boy here? Well, someone rural. But they also have to be strong enough to become the hero in a 100 pages. See how we are starting to run out of jobs? So that’s why it’s always a farm boy.

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