The most triumphant example of a trope is the Trope Codifier

Monday, November 11th, 2019

The first use of a trope is the Ur-Example. The first intentional use of a trope is the Trope Maker. The most triumphant example of a trope is the Trope Codifier:

It means “Example that has fingerprints of influence on all later examples of the trope”. The true marker of a Codifier is that it invents some unique spin on the trope that all later examples have some reaction to. Take, for example, Werewolves. There were earlier examples of werewolf stories, but it is with 1941′s The Wolf Man that we first see werewolves as an infection (previously, it was a curse or part of a Deal with the Devil), silver vulnerability (previously, it was vampires or ghosts who were usually associated with weakness to silver), made the werewolf a human cursed to turn into a wolf-man (previously, all kinds of variations were available, from wolf that turns into a man, to man who was permanently turned into a wolf), and tied the wolf to the night of the full moon (previously, they either focused on the three nights around the full moon, or had little to do with the phase of the moon). Almost all later examples of Werewolves bear some of these subtropes, which originated with The Wolf Man, or at least discuss them in order to explain why Our Werewolves Are Different. Thus, we can state with confidence that it is the Trope Codifier.

(I wish I’d stumbled across this just before Halloween.)


  1. Kirk says:

    Good Christ… If Isegoria has slid down the TV Tropes wormhole, we’ll never see him post here, again.

    Sadness and woe; waily-waily-woe-is-we…

  2. CVLR says:

    TV Tropes, the first and the best, was clickbait before clickbait was clickbait. I echo Kirk’s sentiment, unless (perhaps) Isegoria intends to become Isegoria, TV Tropes Completist.

  3. Graham says:

    It would take a lifetime to give a detailed critique of that site, and long before then the tropers would have indexed this site as a metatrope.

    There’s probably already a page on there for sites that imitate, analyze or riff off TVTropes, analyzed according to which tropes said sites exemplify.

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