As I’m currently re-reading David Eddings’ Malloreon series, this seems like the perfect time to discuss the ‘farm boy’ trope that is used (mostly) in Fantasy novels.
The Farm boy trope is a simple one, a farm boy (often orphaned) who has a hidden inheritance and goes on to great things.
Not as commonly used as it used to be – probably because it is now seen as a bit of a cliche, nonetheless I have a soft spot for this trope. A lot of the Fantasy I read as a teen that introduced me to the genre and confirmed my love of it used this trope.
Of course a lot of those books made it a trope, they weren’t derivative at the time, they were the big guns of the Fantasy genre, Eddings, Williams, Feist, Brooks among others. Those cornerstone Fantasy series that helped build and grow the genre, Belgariad, Dragon Bone Chair, Magicians, Shannara.
Like all ‘good’ tropes it is of course still used even if the ‘farm boys’ aren’t strictly farm boys anymore. Trudi Canavan uses the trope in her Black Magicians series, only her ‘farm boy’ is a slum girl. J.K Rowling borrowed heavily from the trope with Harry Potter, an orphaned boy with hidden inheritance who comes into his power, Erika Johansen has a farm girl in her Tearling series.
All in all this is a trope I’m happy to still see being used, and I do enjoy a good farm boy story.
How do you feel about this trope? Do you love it or hate it?