The Unchosen One | Wyrd & Wonder

Credits: Flaming phoenix by Sujono Sujono | Decorative phoenix by Tanantachai Sirival

Today’s Wryd and Wonder prompt is “With great power comes great responsibility.” Now, I’m as much a Spiderman fan as anyone else and have a fair bit of appreciation for the chosen one trope when executed well. However, another trope I really enjoy and would like to see more of is what I’ve dubbed the unchosen one trope: when the protagonist is seemingly the only one lacking a power. I have a couple of examples of this, but would love to read more books with this trope, so please leave recommendations in the comments if you know of any!

The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy by William Boniface

“In Superopolis everyone has a superpower! Well…almost everyone. Meet Ordinary Boy.”

This is a middle grade trilogy that I read a good while ago. It’s fun and wacky — reminds me a bit of Megamind. Our protagonist lives in Superopolis, where everyone has a superpower (some much more useful than others). Well, except him. Ordinary Boy and his friends solve mysteries and take on Professor Brain-Drain among others. I think this is the first time I ever encountered the unchosen one trope, and I loved it.

Unordinary by uru-chan

art by uru-chan

This one’s a webcomic about Wellston Private High School. Once again, this is a world in which everyone has a power. The high-tiers with the strongest power get to rule the school – and the world – while the low-tiers just have to do their best to stay out of the way. And then there’s John, a “cripple” who has no power at all. He’s not nearly as submissive as others think he should be, and therefore is constantly ending up in trouble and in the infirmary. However, he somehow becomes best friends with one of the strongest students in the school, Seraphina. Together, they navigate high school and the wider world, uncovering some well-hidden secrets along the way.

This webcomic is gorgeously illustrated and available for free on Webtoon. It’s currently on episode 181. I appreciate that this story avoids some of the high school tropes that I personally dislike. For example, there’s no romance, and the issues they’re dealing with aren’t low-stakes drama. I highly recommend you check it out!

Are there any books you’ve read that feature the unchosen one trope? Is it a trope you appreciate, or one you could do without?

5 thoughts on “The Unchosen One | Wyrd & Wonder”

  1. Great post!! I like this trope too, it added a lot of layer to the Harry Potter books. Brent Weeks’ Lightbringer series uses for his protagonist (and now that I think about it, a number of other characters).
    I love how diverse your reading is!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve recently finished Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron, a West African-inspired YA fantasy which sort of fits this trope: our protagonist Arrah is descended from two lineages of powerful witchdoctors, but the god of magic hasn’t seen fit to bless her. Cue a difficult mother/daughter relationship and much understandable angst; but when children start disappearing from the streets of the capital, Arrah is the one who steps up to Do What She Must to try and solve the mystery (this book is very much a sequences of OH MY LORD WHAT NEXT escalating acts, and arguably Arrah stops feeling like an Unchosen One in the final act).


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