Prophecies trope?

I have a prophecy (kind of) in my story, so I wanted to talk about this.

  • Any thoughts on the prophecy trope?
  • If a story has a prophecy in it, what would you typically expect?
  • Does your story have a prophecy in it?
  • If you have never written a prophecy story, will you ever write one? Why or why not?
  • If you have written a prophecy story, have you done anything different with it than what might be typically expected? If not, why did you choose that route?

As a Tarot reader and Macbeth fan, seeing the future is more about evaluating the present. Based on what is currently happening, what might happen next?

Words’ meanings can be slippery, and oracles love doublespeak, so taking a prophecy literally is extremely dangerous.


It can be good if done well I suppose. I don’t mind them all that much. I can tolerate it in spades, but I don’t think I’ve ever written one because I feel I wouldn’t do it justice in my stories. That is about to change.

A hero chosen by fate or god to perform a certain task that nobody could achieve or something. Something written in stone or a character tells the hero about their destiny or something along those lines.

It’s about to now…

Sure I would write a prophecy in my story, I just have to actually write it and try my best to make it work out.

That is all I got. Sorry if it isn’t to your liking.


As long as it’s not the ‘Oh, I’m so awkward, but also mysterious, and somehow also super over-powered’-teenager destined to be king/queen I’m okay with a bit of prophecy, tropes like clichés are tropes for a reason. Because they work, if you do them well…


Usually I like when the prophecy is something that the main character doesn’t want, like he will be king but his best friend will father a line of kings. By omission, this suggests, best case scenario, he will father a line of queens. Worst case scenario, he has no heir.

I use them very loosely, and bend them as I see fit.

Part of that is growing up in Christianity: the prophecies were numerous (for example, over 600 of them about the Messiah), but many of them were fulfilled in ways that were unexpected. The Jews thought they were getting a warrior king who would take them back into dominance like he was David reborn.

And what they got was a man who refused to lead a rebellion but instead permeated cultures to the breaking point. Rome still fell, as these prophecies predicted, but it wasn’t the way that anyone could see it coming by knowing about it beforehand.

That and sometimes a prophecy would have more than one use: for example “The Abomination of Desolation” was used for both the Greek army and the Roman army, some 400 years apart.

Or pieces of it would be scattered: Daniel showed that the cornerstone would break the statue not in the Golden head (Babylon), nor the Silver (Persians), nor the Bronze era (Greek), not even in the Iron era (Romans), but in the Iron mixed with clay era (way down to the feet). Why mixed? Well, that’s something directly from the New Testament: Christians are always called clay on the potter’s wheel. And so, these empires would fall when the last of those nations would become Christianized, split into two nations. The whole point to the statue was that the Messiah would be there to crush the end of this era as a cornerstone.

This is why Messianic Jews insist that Christ is the only one who fills the role of Messiah.

But not like it was all vague: the Babylonian prophecies that were done maybe a hundred years before Cyrus said specifically a king named Cyrus would send the Jews back home, after captivity. Dude had the old texts read to him with his name on it and so he sent them home: it was enough for him.

Then on top of this, there’s times where: did this person even know they were writing prophecy at the time?

But anyway, what I see is that prophecy is piecemeal: given over large swathes of time, imagery isn’t explained all at once, sometimes the telling has more than one use… And occasionally people are unambiguously called out by name that wouldn’t have reason to exist.

So, one “prophecy” I had was writing the story of an event that already happened in song form, that gave instructions to future generations on how to treat the same exact issue, safely, without exposing anyone who is a part of 5hat same scenario. I never called it a prophecy, but that is functionally what it was.

Another character, who sees prophecy, I give him an ever-changing future, in which he sees some images surrounding important people and those images change with everyone’s actions, over time. I allow this to eat at the character.

But the most basic is to see it as a way to have a story come full-circle, back to it’s beginning.


Not sure if it is a prophecy or not, but:-

The Three Creators of Arillion chose the race of Men to be bestowed with children who would bring Men into a grand prosperity. Three children ordained to the fairest of maidens. And in time one maiden was selected. Mara, fair of nature and pure of heart. With spouseless carrying of child she brought into the world three sons. Each born three years apart, they grew beyond measure of their age, and learning. All held them in honour and awaited their age to come…

But it was not to be… For in the dark of night some weeks before the third child would be born. Mara vanished into the lands beyond her home, and was never seen again…

Many years passed until one day the third child returned to his home. Drawn to the bond of his older brothers, he sought them out. He was welcomed by his people, and for a time he was at rest. But during the dark nights of a harsh winter, he became enamoured with the darkness, and all that would be cruel…

His mind turned to the world below his feet, that which delved in the dark ways of the world and the cruel nature of hunting creatures. Slowly his mind turned to dark arts, and control of that which others thought cruel…

As his knowledge grew, so did his hatred for the kind hearted, and his strength of his powers in his arts grew tenfold. So powerful he became, that he bound his brothers minds to his with blood magic and cruelty beyond measure. And perceiving his powers to grow uncounted he turned to lands far from his homelands. And south, he led his brothers to the South Fife where deep within the southern woodlands of Mund, he began to build his fortress… Astiol, home of the Sorcerer’s.

Seeing the hurts of their sons, who brought much destruction to Mundhlor, the first, and greatest kingdom of the Dwarves. The creators gave themselves to the world, to heal the ill of their creation… And vanished.

But, before they left the world Essingvaux spoke of The Endurlon, a time that would herald their return…

Thirteen Thousands Years have passed, and they have not returned yet…



It works well in some stories and doesn’t work well in others, and seems to mostly be a fantasy thing

Predictable storyline, really. Sometimes there’s a twist where the prophecy doesn’t mean what is said, other times it means exactly what is said. Some are self-fulfilling, others can be avoided. There’s a lot of room to move with these types of stories but, at the same time, there isn’t that much room

Some of my stories do, but it’s not always the main focus. I have some that do work with the main plotline of a certain book and others that are actually hints about books further down the line.

Not really. Most of mine end up being self fulfilling. So far, I only have three stories where a prophecy is about that particular book and all of them end up happening. Nothing out of the ordinary there. Then I have others which are more part of the mythology or that will be important later one (mini spoilers).