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you’ll be asked to do some further exploration into the fantasy genre in order to get a better feel for what we’re going for in our games.

First read this (Links to an external site.).

Here’s a list of the 200 best fantasy movies of all time (Links to an external site.). Is this list authoritative, final, and definitive? Well, no. Any such list is probably a mixture of some smart comparisons and a few cultural or temporal biases. Of course, critics absolutely know this and so they try to solve the problem by going out and making another list. It’s ridiculous, but we can’t help ourselves. Human beings love to argue about problems with no answers. It’s why we’re awesome and doomed.

Okay, I’ll stop.

Just in case that last long paragraph made you doubt list’s authority, here’s another list (Links to an external site.). Is it better? Who knows? It’s shorter, so that’s certainly something.

Choose two films and watch ’em. STOP. READ THE ENTIRE PROMPT.

First of all, you need to approve the films with me. No one will be watching the same two movies. If you watch the same movies as someone else, you can’t complete the assignment, so make sure that you get my approval before you do anything else. Also, many fantasy films are sequels or are in some way attached to other films, so it’s importantespecially if you’re unfamiliar with the genrethat you’re not starting in the middle of a story somewhere. I can help you with that, if necessary.

Secondly, you absolutely need to choose films from these lists. I’ve seen almost all of these (except for 2)yes, seriouslyand I know them well, and that will help me to assess your writing.

Only one of the films you choose may be animated. Even then, depending upon what you’re proposing, I might refer you to something else. Animated films often have receptions that are over-simplified or which appeal to a childish sense of the world. Of course, this is sometimes what makes them appealing. But there is a “depth” issue, too, meaning that some child-oriented fiction is simply too simple.

A trope is a repeating pattern of figuration within a genre or other rhetorical context. Put more simply, it’s one of those things you see over and over again in certain movies, or read over and over again in certain texts. For example, a young woman is walking home alone through the woods at night in a horror movie. Suddenly, a monster appears. Oh no. She takes off running. What’s going to happen? If you guessed, “she’s going to trip and then the monster will miraculously be right behind her,” yep, you’d be right. And why did you guess this? Because we’ve seen it over and over. Usually, a trope is meant to represent somethingworks as some kind of metaphor or symbolbut when tropes pop up frequently, it’s almost as if they lose their original intention.

After you’ve seen both films, choose two tropes from the list of tropes (Links to an external site.) in the first linked article. Both of the tropes you use should be represented in some way in both movies.

Next, write about both tropes. Discuss how they’re used in both films and what the effect is in each. Specifically, you should find a way that both of the tropes you discuss are working slightly (or perhaps dramatically) differently. This is essentially compare and contrast, so you can also discuss how they’re similar, but remember that the point of any short essay is to be interesting. Being interesting in this case is specifically part of the assignment.

Your response should consist of a minimum of four paragraphs. The first paragraph should describe the first trope you’ll be discussing and how it shows up in both films. The second paragraph should compare and contrast the usage of the tropes in both films, especially how they’re working in both films to reinforce a particular message. Once you’ve addressed the first trope, repeat your response for the second.

You can, if you wish, write more than two paragraphs per tropein fact, if you’re writing your paragraphs correctly, you’ll probably need to. Remember this ONE VERY IMPORTANT TIP: PARAGRAPHS CAN ESTABLISH ONLY ONE SPECIFIC POINT. That’s it. One. If you’re paragraph is discussing more than one main idea, then the paragraph is incorrect. Above all, establish the main idea for the paragraph in the topic sentence. This is a critical element of good writing.

When you discuss evidence (usually, a specific image or scene) from the films, use the Three-Step Method to introduce and analyze your evidence. STEP ONE: Introduce the scene so that the reader knows what you’re talking about. You do this by briefly describing the scene, just as you would if you were discussing the film with a friendthey would need enough information to understand what you’re referring to. You can be brief, because you can assume your reader has seen the films under consideration, but you should be comprehensive enough so that there’s sufficient context to work with. STEP TWO: Briefly describe the exact, specific instance of the trope you’re going to discuss. Note that this isn’t the same as STEP ONE, so be sure to make the two steps distinct. STEP THREE: Analyze your evidence and establish the point you’re arguing for. Nothing is automatic or clear merely by describing a scene. You must assert why your point is valid.

If you’re having trouble with any of this, seek me out for a meeting.

I’m happy to help you with this. The point of this exercise is to give you some necessary context so that you can be better acquainted with the genre under consideration. The other point, of course, is to get in some more practice with your analytical writing. In order to complete this assignment to earn the extra credit, you may (most often will) need to revise your response, but I’ll let you know what you need to do.

Your response should be 1000 words, minimum.


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