kaleidoscope of tropes #2: found families

kaleidoscope of tropes.(1)

Hello, friends!

First of all: thank you so much for your support in the first post of this series that I posted a couple weeks ago. I really enjoyed writing this post, and it’s been making me think so much lately about the things I like that have themes in common and identifying other tropes I never realized how much I loved.

WHAT IS A TROPE?

In storytelling, a trope is just that — a conceptual figure of speech, a storytelling shorthand for a concept that the audience will recognize and understand instantly. Above all, a trope is a convention. It can be a plot trick, a setup, a narrative structure, a character type, a linguistic idiom… you know it when you see it. (source)

Our trope for today will be:

FOUND FAMILIES

The found family trope can mean a lot of things. I find that my favorite version is just following a character who’s either an orphan or has no close family around, and ends up taking his friends as family. It is a very close friendship dynamic, but that means even more when you realize the person really has no one else to rely on.

Harry Potter probably has one of the most well known examples of this trope, as Harry has no actual family members around. So Hogwarts (Ron, Hermione, Ginny) end up becoming his family, even though they’re technically all only friends.

in books

EXHIBIT #A: THE MAZE RUNNER, BY JAMES DASHNER

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Of course I had to mention The Maze Runner, as this is one of my favorite series of all times. In this dynamic all of the characters are in need of families.

At the beginning of the first book, we have this group of boys thrown into a maze together, with no recollection of their past lives. Naturally, they start gravitating towards each other for comfort or advice, becoming each other’s family.

I loved this dynamic, because it perdured so well throughout the trilogy. The more these characters go through together, the less they’re willing to let each other go. They build more than just a trust-worthy friendship; they’re legit determined to go to the ends of Earth to find each other. And that’s the type of thing you’d do for family only, because that’s what they become for each other after all.

EXHIBIT #B: THE ILLUMINAE FILES, BY JAY KRISTOFF AND AMIE KAUFMAN

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Now, obviously the relationship in here is slightly different, because some of these characters do have family around. But the reason why I think they fit into this trope so perfectly is because their dynamic is so family-like.

Kady is like the mom of the group, definitely. Nik and Hanna the rebelious children. Even the way Nik and Ezra fight is the perfect sibling banter. You simply can not convince me that they’re not actually related.

And so while these characters didn’t have a dramatic coming together, where they had no one else but each other, the way they interact remind me a lot of a big family dynamic, so I had to mention them.

EXHIBIT #C: A LIST OF CAGES, BY ROBIN ROE

IMG_3550This is probably one of the most perfect examples of this trope, because this book is a lot about family. In A List of Cages, Adam used to be a foster brother to Julian, but they haven’t seen each other in years, as Julian moved in with a distant uncle. Now that they’re in the same school, they start re-connecting and a lot comes from that.

Adam and Julian are brothers, period. Even though they are not related and there’s so much that needs to be unpacked on that relationship, it is clear that they care about each other as if they were family.

Adam’s group of friend also becomes a found family to Julian, apart from him and his mom. I loved seeing Julian interact with Adam’s friends – even if not all of them were perfectly friendly (cof cof Charlie), they were still there whenever Julian truly needed, offering the support and the strength he needed to grow.

in television

EXHIBIT #A: THE 100

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Of course I had to mention The 100, because even though it’s been such a long time since I last properly watched this show, the entire reason why I was so sold on it was because of the amazing dynamic the characters had.

Indeed, these characters have no family on Earth. Bellamy and Octavia are the only pair of actual siblings the show introduces at first, but they all become family in one way or another. Having to survive and protect each other really brings people together.

More than that, there is a lot of trust (or lack thereof) because there are literally no adults around. And throwing a bunch of irresponsible teenagers on a post-apocalyptical version of Earth is just as bad as it sounds. And the process of figuring out rules and laws, in order to live together, is very tricky, but also the reason why I find this dynamic to be so family-like: because these characters are also learning how to swallow up their pride and give in during an argument, apart from surviving skills.

EXHIBIT #B: WTFOCK

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Find one post in which I’m not talking about SKAM or one of its remakes. I dare you.

But here’s the thing: in this Belgium version of SKAM, the flatshare dynamic is just *another level*. These characters are truly family to each other, with both the day to day arguments about who’s doing the dishes and the thoughtful conversations in the middle of the night about relationships.

All these characters are living together with people their own age for a reason. Most, because they don’t have a very good relationship with their parents, so they end up relying on each other for the tough things too. And it’s brilliant and heart-warming.

As I said, the authenticity of this relationship is truly what sells it for me. Because they’re not only being each other’s support system, but they’re also being honest and bickering and being their adorable selves, and I couldn’t be more thankful.

EXHIBIT #C: QUEER EYE

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Okay, okay, Queer Eye is technically a reality show, but the Fab5 have the most precious relationship I know.

Not all of these guys have had the easiest time coming out to their families and their communities. And even though the show is about how they already have their lives figured out enough, they can help others do the same, I love whenever we can catch a glimpse of their past, because it is truly phenomenal that they’ve found each other.

I love their relationship, because it makes me laugh as much as it makes me cry. It’s so awesome that they have such an amazing and unique support system, of other guys coming from very distinct backgrounds, but that have found enough in common to work together wonderfully.

That’s it, friends! Thank you so much for reading. Now, let me know in the comments: do you have any more examples of this trope? Do you recognize any in my list? Oh, and of course: who’s your favorite member of the Fab5?

9 comentários sobre “kaleidoscope of tropes #2: found families

  1. found family is one of the absolute greatest tropes to exist!! and the illuminae files!!! 🥺🥺 i’m so glad it made it to your list bc it’s the first book that comes to mind when i think of found family. the characters and the friendship they built was so sweet, i wanted to see MORE of them all together

    a list of cages is SUCH a great answer!! adam and julian are such a great representation of brothers in fiction, i absolutely loved the tenderness and love they showed each other, that book hits hard!!

    great answers for a great post!

    Curtido por 1 pessoa

  2. Yay I would go all the way to say found family is one of my favourite tropes. I just think the way everyone interacts and looks after each other is wonderful. I especially love it when they are a big group as it can include lots of different relationships and you can see different sides of every character.
    Even though I’ve only read one of these books on your list. But I did enjoy The Maze Runner and like you said you get an authentic growth of their relationship as the series goes on.
    I need to read both Illuminae and A List of Cages but I will do one day!!

    Ahh… I love The 100 with the morally grey found family. It is definitely an unique situation that puts the teenagers in a place where the need to work as a group and have an order. They have to protect each other but it grows into something they choose to do, it is great!!
    I can only really think of found families like Six of Crows, The Raven Cycle and The Lunar Chronicles which are common ones and include many romantic relationships but there are some awesome friendships too!!

    Again wonderful post!! 💛

    Curtido por 1 pessoa

    • Sameeee! I love big cast of characters because of all the different dynamics they can have with each other. I think you’ll love Illuminae and A List of Cages if you enjoy this trope.
      I agree that Six of Crows & The Raven Cycle have really tight friendships and a realy great found family element.
      Thank you sooo much for reading, Sophie! ❣️

      Curtido por 1 pessoa

  3. OH MY GOD YES the Found Family trope is one of my favorites as well, I just love it so much, when characters become so close and it’s just so, so wonderful to read <3 A List of Cages is such a great example of this, too! I adore these characters and just want to hug them foreveeeeeeeeer <3

    Curtido por 1 pessoa

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