It’s been a while since I’ve talked about some of my favorite tropes. Sure, people might not like them, but try as I may, I love some common archetypes in literature and film. That being said, there are far and few that can really beat one of my all time favorites, Bad Ass with a Baby.
For those of you who aren’t familiar with this character duo, let me quote TVtropes.com:
“The Badass and Child Duo in its purest form, occurs when a (usually) male badass takes it upon himself, out of goodness, interest, or circumstances beyond his control, to protect an orphaned, unrelated young (usually) girl.”
Over the years, this trope is one of the ones I notice popping up in my own writing. Even if my protagonist isn’t a “badass” in a physical sense, I find many of my characters who are strong in their field have a younger, inexperienced character they have to protect.
Why do I like this trope so much?
While this can be characters from the same family, generally this is the perfect example of characters finding a family or someone to care for, without having to be related. There’s something about a love between two people that isn’t romantic or familial that I find beautiful. Often times there’s a sense of obligation to love family or significant others in books and movies, regardless of how they act toward the protagonist. But the bond between true friends, or between two people who have to trust each other completely feels more real to me.
The Badass, usually someone who has given up on finding anything good in the world, needs to have a “child” in their life to teach them there’s something worth living for, and the child also learns how to be strong from their care taker. One is learning strength while the other is learning something gentler, and both walk away better off (when both parties survive that is).
Often times, this relationship can evolve into mentor/student, which I still enjoy either way.
Favorite Examples in ….
A Song of Ice and Fire – Sandor + Arya
Mercy Thompson series – Mercy + Jesse (eventually becomes family, but still sweet)
Inkheart – Dustfinger + Meggie
Movies & Television
(I’m not counting The Professional in this, even though tvtropes does, simply because of the romantic undertones that I don’t feel like fits the trope. Great movie, just not one I would consider in this category.)
Logan – Logan + Laura
Terminator 2 – T800 + John Connor
Aliens – Ripley + Newt
The Walking Dead – Daryl + Sophie // (later Judith)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Scar + Mai