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    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2011
    Single-parent household.
  1.  (7773.2)
    "The Giant's Daughter" - where the hero loves the girl, but to win her hand has to carry out a series of apparently impossible tasks set by her evil father, and usually does so with the help of the girl, who knows the way around her father's tricks - is a very common one. There's a particularly good Irish variant on it I read once where one of the tasks was to retrieve something from somewhere unclimbable, and the girl tells the hero to kill her, dismember her and use her bones to make a ladder, making sure he steps on every bone on his way up and back down again, and then put her back together, after which she comes back to life - but because he missed stepping on one of her toe-bones, she now walks with a limp.

    The hero who can only be killed in a specific way, and reveals this to his treacherous wife who passes it on to her lover to do the deed is another one that comes up a lot.
  2.  (7773.3)
    The giant's daughter is a "plot coupon" story: the hero has to collect all the coupons - fulfil all the tasks - which he can then cash in for a happy ending. The other variant is the "plot voucher", where the hero is given a gift whose function is not obvious, or receives some incomprehensible advice, the meaning or use of which is revealed by a later development in the plot - he then produces the voucher and negotiates the plot point.
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2011
    Guy has to accomplish impossible tasks to prove he loves the girl, but the girl doesn't have to do jack shit to prove her love back to him.
    • CommentTimeJul 8th 2011
    I know that Evil Step-Mothers are the stereotype now, but I've read/heard that it used to be just plain mothers that did the scary things in stories, before the Brothers Grimm adaptions. I don't know if this would even be remotely useful information to you, and you were probably already aware, but I find it absolutely fascinating. Also, much much more terrifying.
    Disguises are a big thing. Getting out of traps by pretending to be someone else, or being disguised against your will. Sharing bodies, etc.

    I seem to have forgotten everything from my Gothic and Supernatural Literature class. Pity.
  3.  (7773.6)
    "even cinderella echos jesus from the bible. man/woman of perfect heart living in guise of poverty, has to be accepted in lowly state."
    "Except Cinderella didn't wander around giving lessons to people, and Jesus didn't live happily ever after?"

    Evidently your newsstand didn't get Gospel of Matthew #28. SPOILER: Jesus gets better. :)
  4.  (7773.7)
    Gah, didn't think of it that way. But I bet you can't find a Bible passage where he floats off to heaven with his charming new husband.
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2011
    Anyone reading Bill Willingham's Fables series? It and especially Jack of Fables do a lot with tropes and storytelling archetypes in the fairy-tale genre.