Trope Talk: The Heart

Trope Talk: The Heart

Last but not least, the fifth member of the Five-Man Band! But what is the point of them, really? And have they truly moved beyond their token origins as the one they call… The Chick? Let’s discuss!

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50 Responses

  1. B2WM says:

    This reminds me of that one D&D meme: “So we got Scorpius the wizard who can light things on fire with his brain, Gor the barbarian who can tank a hundred enemies, Ellenidia the cleric who wields her goddess’ wrath, and Sarah. Sarah makes responsible decisions. She’s the most important member of the group.”

    • InkPanga14 :3 says:

      I’m currently playing that character in my campaign and was voted to have the most common sense out of all of the party. Also the most likely to become an alcoholic.

    • Andrew Westfall says:

      My party doesn’t have a Sarah. I fed magic drug pastries made of children I looted off of a hag to a local baron because I don’t like him. Sarah is an important party member

    • AMJ The_PaleoSquare says:

      The sad thing is, my newbie 3-man party is all chaotic teens, and their newbie DM is very busy trying to understand how DnD works with no books XD
      Luckily I got a sensible DM NPC to join them, so at least they got it, until they get him killed lol

    • Adam Bielen says:

      It’s funny how many times my characters wind up being the “Party Dad/Mom”, though not necessarily filling the roll of the Heart.

    • John Wick says:

      no party can function without sarah

  2. Hfar says:

    “I guess they’re not *really* vital, unless the writer cares about, ya know, the audience actually liking their protagonists. I don’t know, sounds pretty niche to me.”

    This is some of the purest, sassiest writing shade I have heard in a long time and I love it

  3. Ak says:

    “Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them — in order that the reader may see what they are made of.”
    — Kurt Vonnegut, “Eight Rules for Writing Fiction”

    The best hearts are the ones who decide to love in a world of hate.

    • Colt says:

      @floricel_112 Suffering is the spice of the soul. Without it, nothing is challenged and thus no plot.

    • gnarth d'arkanen says:

      @floricel_112 No metal unless you PROVE it, cowboy… Don’t tell me how tough you are, take a swing and find out for real.

      It’s a mistake to tell how great or fun or anything a protagonist is. You want them to be tough, they gotta take a BEATING… and get back up. Want them to be fun? Games, gags, comical antics, even an expert delivery on a joke under the WORST possible circumstances… You want a “heart” of the team, then it’s the person who gets hurt by a teammate and forgives… and hugs it out. That doesn’t have to mean “brain damaged enough to forget it”… BUT choosing not to hold a grudge, just a little cautious a while, and BUILD back the friendship… understanding that the teammate CAN grow and learn better… LEARN (for yourself) how to love anyway, even in a world chocked FULL of hate, violence, despair, and death.

      If writing was easy, EVERYONE would be good at it. ;o)

    • liamsteam walsh says:

      @floricel_112 Weird, I have the exact opposite problem, I like hurting characters way too much. I had to erase a ton of character deaths, because my best friend was just heartbroken and miserable by the end of it.

      I still cause my characters pain and anguish beyond anything a normal person can stand, but at least they’re still alive now lol.

    • uanime1 says:

      You could always have the character accept who they are and find someone who will accept their flaws. Alternatively have them realise why this is a flaw and work to change this.

    • uanime1 says:

      The Heart can become annoying when whatever moral thing they want to do always is always shown as being without negative consequences. For example Katara destroying the Fire Nation factory polluting the river, which doesn’t result in negative consequences. This scenario would have been much better if helping the village actually resulted in negative consequences for the villagers, such as more Fire Nations forcing them to rebuild the factory; or more Fire Nations soldiers being sent to this area, making it harder for the GAang to move about.

      While the Heart’s actions can have some positive outcomes they also need negative ones so the Heart can experience character growth. Just like when the Big Guy is overpowered or the Smart Guy is outthought.

  4. sonofhades57 says:

    They broke Sue Storm out of her unfortunate early characterization very nicely: by making her the biggest badass on a team of huge badasses. And all of that without losing her status as the Heart of the group.

    • Chimera MK says:

      I remember during the Civil War comics she got sick of Reed’s shit and created a force field tube that extended all the way from the ground to the roof to show she can protect herself.

      Later near the end of the war, a villain hired to for Iron Man’s side (forgot who, think it was Taskmaster) took a shot at Sue but Reed jumped in the way. When Sue gives him a death glare and he gives an “Oh shit”, the next panel is just some dust. The panel after that has the dust clear a bit and the guy is just lying there unconscious.

      She can literally flatten people with just a thought.

    • Xavier Thomas says:

      @Fumeister 099 oh much appreciated

    • Fumeister 099 says:

      @Xavier Thomas they mean Susan storms the fantastic 4 character

    • Xavier Thomas says:

      Actual question, not a joke, btw

    • Xavier Thomas says:

      Is Sue storm a euphemism about the archetype of a Sue type character who is aggressively unable to lose and perfect despite having no real likability?

  5. Truck-Kun says:

    One situation I find interesting is when “The Heart” loses patience with the group or someone in the group, because it not only helps to humanize the character but also intensifies the seriousness of the situation.

    • Victoria Black says:

      Who could’ve guessed the osp viewer was a fan of journey to the west

    • Mr.Monster says:

      @Tumach looks at Aang when Appa got stolen.

    • MUDNADE says:

      That’s Michelangelo in the TMNT comic.

      After Donatello “dies”, obviously all the other Turtles are distraught. Leonardo is basically in shock, Mikey is a wreck, and Raph is fuming with anger. Because of that, Raph starts to yell and blame Leo for leaving Donnie alone to fend off Bebop and Rocksteady, and they start arguing. While Mikey is usually able to calm both sides down as a mediator, for once, Mikey snaps and lays into Raph, which is exactly what he needed. Not the self-righteous lecturing of Leo, or the logical and calculating explanations of Donnie, but the emotional pleading of someone who is suffering just as much as he is.

    • Linards Ž says:

      Katara the Heart had her best wpisode just aftter S2 episode 11

    • Claymann71 says:

      Tanis Half-Elven, Dragonlance by Margret Weis & Tracy Hickman.

  6. nebulan says:

    I like how you showed that teams don’t have to be set in a role like Aang and Katara both take their turns like Aang and Sokka will take turns at leadership. For Leverage, Parker, Elliot and Harrison all take their turns.

    • K. says:

      I have forgotten their names so bear with me.😭(dunno them off head)
      Blond guy: heart + smart guy
      Girl: powerhouse
      Guy with German name: leader

    • Boo Bah says:

      @Tin Watchman That was exactly the point, yes. The Chick 2.0 was the Chick minus the Heart.

    • ShadeSlayer1911 says:

      Aang and Katara: Hearts
      Aang and Toph: Big Guys
      Sokka and Aang: Leaders

    • Amanda Lee says:

      Aang (leader), zuko (lancer), toph (big guy), sokka (smarts), katara (heart)

    • Michael Chui says:

      @Geese Juggler ​ I think Sophie fills the Lancer role much better than the Heart role. Her entire character question is about how she really fits into the team after all: Season 1 has her play them, Season 2 has her leave them, Season 3 has her go rogue, Season 5 has her go into a side gig, etc. And that’s without pointing out that she’s effectively second-in-command for the entire run so obviously that, even though Parker is slotted in as leader at the end of S5, we’re immediately back to Sophie calling the shots in Redemption.

      S4 Sophie is probably the best candidate for being called The Heart, and that’s kinda because the season itself is about her character question: i.e., are we really doing the right thing, are the wins we have worth the consequences that fall out, etc.

  7. Pip says:

    I like the heart combined with the paragon “done with your shit” trope. It’s one of those moments where you’re glad that the heart is too nice to be malicious and a rare moment where you can see them kicking ass. “Beware the anger of a gentle man” and all that.

    • MonkeyJedi99 says:

      “Friendship dies and true love lies. Night will fall and the dark will rise. When a good man goes to war. Demons run, but count the cost. The battle’s won, but the child is lost”.

    • Xavier Thomas says:

      Tbh, wouldn’t it be more like a darkest hour trope, according to the general point of a heart character? They spend most of their time giving, and being kind, but they inevitably end up failing to uphold their morality in the face of great adversity. So it’s the fall of their character, not necessarily the rise.

    • Taki yeet says:

      “Beware the anger of a gentle man”
      The Devil Shivers When A Nice Guy Loses His Temper :tm::tm::tm::tm::tm:

    • ShadeSlayer1911 says:

      This reminds me of the Eleventh Doctor and his “Colonel Runaway” speech, and that entire episode really. I fully believe that if River didn’t reveal who she really was, or if she dallied on just a little too long for his ever waning patience and short fuse, he would have killed her and fully gone down a dark and villainous path.

    • Maro Cat says:

      Add the having powers that in the damage and stuff they actually can do if they drop their morals even somewhat.
      Like when finch in person of interest in the finale does that monologue he is done playing by the rule and goes to do aproviat drasstic things, but also gets definitly more cold and ruthless.

  8. Larva Tuba Show says:

    I really like when the Big Guy also gets to be the group’s Heart, especially when they seem like they give great hugs

  9. morgan e. says:

    Probably my biggest problem with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was the team constantly dumping on Ant-Man for wanting to rehabilitate villains. Sure, Hank was a little over-idealistic, but at least one of them was TRYING to help break the cycle of violence, instead of just punch, throw in jail, ignore what made them a villain, etc. Contrast that with Wally West/Flash taking time to visit his foes in jail and help with their therapy (something his team doesn’t belittle him for).

    Rant done; this is another excellent analysis, Red ^_^

    • morgan e. says:

      @Obi-Wan Kenobi funny enough, if EMH had gotten a third season, I think Wasp would have grown not only as the Heart, but maybe start to see villains can be redeemed. It’s a long shot, but consider the episode where Vision betrays Ultron; she tells Cap to let him burn, but looks ashamed when she learns Vision’s reason for saving them.

    • Obi-Wan Kenobi says:

      I really respected Hank for wanting to help people instead of hurt them and was heartbroken by how the show just made him go crazy and adopt his Yellow Jacket persona. They ruined all his best qualities and made him a different character, one who was both unemphatic and violent.

      That being said, I don’t think he actually functions as the Heart in EMH because he never really want to be there, his teammates don’t particularly like him, and he doesn’t motivate the team of unify them.

      I think that honor goes to Wasp who, while she _loves_ beating up the bad guys, actually possess more traits of Heart than anyone else on the team. She’s the uniter in the team, a primary motivator, is well liked by all members, and actually has more moments of empathy compared to the other members (she is the one to make Captain America join, she gets Hank to join, she empathized with Micheal Corvek, softened up Hulk, and was a a major factor in Vision switching sides). She exemplifies the ideal of the show: being a hero to help others and she’s also the only member to be on the team for it’s entirety. For better or worse, she also gets damseled the most.

      I think the biggest proof of her being the Heart is that I simply cannot imagine the team functioning or being so enjoyable to watch without her. She’s integral to the group which seems to be the critical quality of the Heart.

    • karan lalla says:

      I think this is a case of EMH wanting their cake and eating it too. Superheroes are sometimes criticized for maintaining the status quo. Instead of bringing about a positive change in the world, they can only preserve the status quo by, as you say, maintaining the cycle of violence. Ant Man’s character in EMH feels like a direct response to this criticism. He doesn’t do the standard superhero thing of just punching villains. He tries to rehabilitate villains. He uses his intelligence to make inventions that would hopefully make the world a better place instead of just building super weapons like Iron Man. At the same time, EMH isn’t trying to be a show that deconstructs superhero tropes. It wants to be a standard superhero action show with clear cut heroes and villains. And thus, you can’t actually have Ant Man be in the RIGHT because that would require the show to go in a completely new direction instead of just being a standard action show. And so you have Ant Man being potrayed as somewhat naive, with his teammates constantly dumping on him.

      This turned into a bit of a rant, but Ant Man is my Favorite EMH character and I think the show kinda wastes his potential because they didn’t know what to do with him.

    • Marc Taco says:

      The main problem with Ant-Man was that he had no desire to be an Avenger. He kept being forced back in by his girlfriend and by circumstance, and actually quit multiple times, always coming back to keep Wasp from getting herself killed or to save the world.
      Every one of his endeavors blew up in his face because of an unforeseeable consequence (Ultron, The Negative Zone, prison therapy, Scott Lang, etc.) and yet he shoulders the full blame of it.
      The irony is that throughout the show, he made Wasp more of a heart character by example, yet she was the one to finally drive him insane.

    • Guardian Tree says:

      J’onn also redeemed a villain or two as well

  10. someone awesome says:

    I really like when the Big Guy also gets to be the group’s Heart, especially when they seem like they give great hugs

    • gnarth d'arkanen says:

      @ShadeSlayer1911 AND FOR ALL Y’ALL… cause this is about to date me all to Hell…
      You really SHOULD give a few seasons (oldish seasons) of “Bonanza” a watch (somewhere between a cross reference and a binge)… Look for “Hoss” played by Dan Blocker {hard to miss}… Because THAT is exactly how Hoss would act and think… right down to pointing to the pigeons with “Well, they gotta get in here somehow, right. I figure it’s the chimney.”

      Yes, it’s an old OLD western… BUT you’ll notice a LOT of these tropes run right through the middle of it… AND if you want to laugh, you GOTTA see “Hoss and the Leprechauns”… It’s also old enough, just about nobody’s worried about you watching it… Even Dan Blocker’s family backed off their hissy-fits about how he got “made fun of”… when the truth is EVERYBODY loved Hoss. Micheal Landon may have started his career on the show, but Dan Blocker made it what it was far and wide more than “Little Joe”… and Landon was arguably a bit lost on it after Dan died… You’ll understand that part, too… if you watch enough… Hoss wasn’t a “college scholar” type, but he wasn’t “stupid” either… just a little slow on the uptake occasionally.

      BUT seriously, a little attention to some of the oldest shows in TV history, and you’ll just about get PISSED OFF that “modern writers” aren’t doing a much better job. ;o)

    • Boba O'Riley says:

      Yes! I also like when the members fill dual roles.

    • Daniel Kilgore says:

      @darkhorse douglas strictly speaking, GotG are not a 5-man band, they are a heroic twist on the related five-bad band trope. Evil leader, starscream, muscle, mastermind, and dark chick.

    • Fernando Iturbide says:

      Totally, one of the reasons I love kings of the wyld

    • Bunny Cop says:

      @Lizerdspherex Cyborg was the Big Smart Guy of general engineering stuff, Raven a Smart Guy for magic, Roben was Leader Smart Guy detective work…

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