Fantasy lovers must be very familiar with this trope
Let’s see if this sounds familiar. A girl who is in some way disenfranchised is left with no other recourse but to stay with a powerful but incredibly notorious magician or wizard.
More often than not, the girl comes in and is given the position of a servant. But then the girl is discovered to have an aptitude for magic.
But even before that, there’s this belligerent sexual tension between the girl and the magician that seems to imply that the magician sort-of views her his equal at least in terms of intellect and/or sheer stubbornness
Any of that familiar to you? Any of it sound good? Here are some recommendations for you:
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
I think a lot of Asians are more familiar with the Hayao Miyazaki animated film. But this is actually based on Diana Wynne Jones’ novel. The premise is similar. Though there are glaring differences between the two. But in any case, it’s a fun read.
For those who haven’t read the book or watched the movie, it’s about Sophie who was cursed by a witch. Eighteen year old Sophie is turned into an old woman. And she eventually finds herself keeping house for the magician Howl.
A lot of arguments, funny hijinks and romance ensues
Master of Crows by Grace Draven
Martise is a slave sent to spy on the infamous magician Silhara. Silhara knows this but due to some politics, he has to accept Martise into his home. They eventually do set aside their distrust and fall in love.
Please note that this book contains graphic sexual content.
Definitely not for kids.
But if you’re a vaginal fantasy lover, then I think this book is for you
Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker
This book distinguishes itself by having Nora (a woman from our world) finding herself stuck in another world. She was glamoured by a fae queen equivalent to marry her son and produce an heir. After partially fighting off the glamour, she loses the baby and is soon near-death. But she is rescued by the magician Aruendiel, the queen’s mortal enemy.
Nora spends a lot of time in Aruendiel’s home. She’s stuck in his world for the forseeable future so she decides to learn the language and eventually moves up to reading his texts on magic
I found it enjoyable for the slow-burn romance. And the utter, glaring Beauty and the Beast trope going on in this book
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
A very popular book that also gives off Beauty and the Beast vibes. Every ten years or so, a girl is chosen to live with the region’s ruling magician (only known as The Dragon). For some reason she and her whole village cannot fathom, Agniescka is chosen. She is taught magic almost as soon as she is taken to Dragon’s castle. Funny thing is that she’s really good at Baba Yaga’s style of magic (a style that the Dragon is to cerebral to replicate).
The romance is not the main focus of the story due to the presence of the horrible “thing” in the forest. A being that is sentient enough to want to destroy humans living near it. It has slowly but surely assimilated all the nearby villages and gets closer and closer to major human habitations.
It’s an amazing book. I love the romance. But I love how the course of the story develops Agnieczka from this seemingly powerless village girl to a magician in her own right who can fight side by side with the Dragon to stop the being from the forest
So why is this trope so popular?
Personally, I love it for how it develops the girl. Her experience with living as a magician’s servant can actually be seen as a dead-end job. But her time with him actually serves as an empowering experience for the girl
In a lot of these books, her time with the magician helps her gain her confidence and (in some cases) allows her to learn more about her capabilities (especially in terms of magic).
There’s also the romance element to this trope. While yes, it is a sort-of master-servant relationship, there’s the understanding that the girl is sensible and independent enough not to be forced into a relationship without her consent. Besides, the master aka notorious magician is often portrayed as a guy who doesn’t take advantage of young girls.
Furthermore, their relationship often starts out with mutual dislike and distrust. A relationship that only improves once they get to know each other. Usually with the guy at least partially pulling down walls and the girl changing any pre-conceived notions she has about the guy.
So basically, a form of the Beauty and the Beast trope LOL!
Please do leave a comment! 🙂