Xanatos Gambit

As you can probably guess, X is a tough letter of the alphabet to find anything for – however, those dedicated fans who go through books and TV shows searching for similarities have risen to the occasion. It helps when you can find a character who’s name starts with X!

Disney provides this character in David Xanatos, the original instigator of the plot for their TV series, Gargoyles (I’ve never watched it – according to the show summary, Gargoyles from a castle in Scotland are awoken when the castle is moved to NYC. David Xanatos moves the castle, but eventually becomes an enemy of the Gargoyles he woke.)

Apparently, however, Xanatos was an excellent planner, and two tropes are named after him: Xanatos Gambit and Xanatos Speed Chess. Both refer to the ability to turn negatives into advancing your plan. The difference? In the Xanatos Gambit, you have planned for every possibility before you begin; an example could be sending Dementors after Harry. If the Dementors manage to Kiss Harry, he’s no longer alive to be a threat. If Harry manages to protect himself, he gets kicked out of Hogwarts for underage magic, and is therefore no longer under the protection of Albus Dumbledore and therefore an easy target. Of course, this doesn’t quite work out how they planned, because Dumbledore is a master at this Gambit as well, and managed to stay one step ahead.

In Xanatos Speed Chess, you may be blindsided by a new development, but you manage to find a way to twist it to your advantage, even if it means creating an entirely new plan. You may find a handful more of these scenarios, since it is very hard to plan for every eventuality- but still a feat to take these curveballs and twist them to your own use. Danric from Crown Duel is often tasked with finding a new plan after a curveball as Meliara refuses to work with him.

Kaz from Six of Crows teeters on that fine line between the two tropes. It’s hard to tell how much he planned in advance but kept close to his vest, and how much he improvised on the spot, but either way, I think it’s very fair to say that if Xanatos has not already claimed this spot, we may be calling it the Kaz Gambit and Kaz Speed Chess. But then of course, we would have no trope for X and that would be very sad.

You may have noticed this didn’t go up yesterday, I have backdated it for the record, but apparently, tropes about planning fight me about being completed on time …. I’ll be back in a little bit with a trope for Y!


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