The idea of playing with reader’s expectations is always what a writer needs to so. Subverting those expectations results in a good surprise.
And that is the way we keep them entertaining. Because it is not what they expect. But fits the story as a whole. We can say that playing around them is the ability to toy, and also deliver something satisfyingly but feels novel.
Otherwise, it would be classified as the work that we know was decent but didn’t manage to do anything really outstanding with the story. With it, it jumps our the story to the top as long as it is not for shock value.
The idea of playing is through subversions or using common tropes except there might be a twist with them. It is using what is known and turning it on its head.
Or doing something differently.
The thing about stories is that we want the same thing but we don’t want it done exactly the same way. We don’t want to see a story roll out in the exact format it did before. And why we really don’t like sequels which are a rehash of the old story.
And why some really despise the new Disney live action remakes, mostly because they add so little to the story and using the same thing over and over again. Apart from nostalgia, there just isn’t much else that it brings to the table.
And that’s why we should always strive to create something new. Or rather do a different take on a story. And that it also what it means to play around with the expectations of them. Most would be pleasantly surprised if done well, although they will know when it’s there for the sake of it.
So, learn to read tropes or see what something is usually done and then turn it on its head or do something differently that fits with your story and enhances it’s plot. It’s your story, so embrace your ideas and don’t be afraid to deviate.