Category Archives: Tough Traveling

Tough Traveling: Creative Cursing

It’s Thursday, so it’s Tough Traveling with Nathan at the Fantasy Review Barn, exploring various fantastical tropes!  Today’s topic: CREATIVE CURSING

New lands, new languages, new things to cuss out.  Nobody in fantayland cusses in quite the same way though; each world has its own way to yell at the world.

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Tough Traveling: A Lady and her Sword

I am late, still getting back into the swing of things…. But when I saw this week’s Tough Traveling topic, how could I not write something? I love a lady with a sword.

Fantasyland is full of threats.  A lady and her sword can keep those threats at bay.

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Tough Traveling – Forbidden Love

This week on Tough Traveling with Nathan at the Fantasy Review Barn: FORBIDDEN LOVE

Even in Fantasyland parents are not always happy with their children’s choice of partners.

Ahhh forbidden love.  Not always my favourite trope – but at least in a couple of examples on this list, done really well!  Though I’ve gone in a more sci-fi land direction than fantasyland.

fortune's pawnRupert and Devi, Paradox Trilogy (Rachel Bach)

Devi just can’t stay away from the attractive, mysterious “cook” (who can best anyone in single combat) on the Glorious Fool, in spite of the best attempts of everyone (including him) to warn her away.  But when Devi wants something she’s not inclined to give up, and she definitely wants this tall, handsome man with a sexy accent and dark past… and also, who may not be altogether 100% human.

palace of illusionsPanchaali and Karna, The Palace of Illusions (Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni)

Panchaali has five husbands, but only one man she loves – Karna, the sworn enemy of her husbands who they will eventually go to war with.  She could have ended up married to him, as well, if she had held her tongue at a key moment in time. Her life would be considerably less tragic if she had .

Saga1coverByFionaStaplesMarko and Alana, Saga (Brian K. Vaughan, Fiona Staples)

On opposite sides of an intergalactic war, Marko is a prisoner of war and Alana his guard… until they fall in loooooove and decide to hell with the war.  Hunted by both sides, they struggle to protect themselves and their newborn daughter. It’s amazing! (Thanks again for the recommendation The BiblioSanctum!).

left hand of darknessGenly Ai and Estraven, The Left Hand of Darkness (Ursula K. Le Guin)

This might not exactly be forbidden love… but certainly strongly discouraged love at best, since first contact with Gethenians is hardly the ideal time for romance.  They start out the book as entirely alien to each other, and grow from suspicious and untrusting allies to respectful companions to genuine friends. Genly and Estraven have my favourite love story ever, and without a single scene of physical intimacy.


Tough Traveling: Flying Rides

Today is Thursday, so it’s Tough Traveling at Fantasy Review Barn, exploring the tropes of fantasyland… This week is: FLYING RIDES

Because honestly?  Horses just got boring.  (Thanks to author Anne Leonard for the suggestion).

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Tough Traveling: Middle-Aged Heroes

Today is Thursday, so it’s Tough Traveling at Fantasy Review Barn, exploring favourite fantastical tropes. This week is: MIDDLE-AGED HEROES.

This hero stuff is usually a young person’s game.  And, occasionally, a grizzled old veteran can get involved.  It is a true rarity for someone to join the good fight for Fantasyland living in that in between ground.

This was a challenging topic: there are plenty of wise older mentors and brave young heroes, but apparently it really is quite rare to have someone in-between.  Rare, but not impossible:

stange and norrellMr. Norrell (Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clarke)

Strange is on the younger side, but Mr. Norrell is a stodgy, conservative, middle-aged man, comfortable with his station in life and more than a bit overzealous in hoarding information and defending his position as the only practical magician in England… until the appearance of Jonathan Strange gradually changes his view.

broken monstersGabi (Broken Monsters, Lauren Beukes)

I am in the middle of reading crime thriller Broken Monsters, and there are a lot of point-of-view characters throughout the book—but one of my favourites, and the one who seems to be the closest thing to a main character, is Detective Gabriella Versado. She is raising a teenage daughter, doesn’t always understand social media and the internet, and is an experienced police officer—the very first scene of the book has her pulling a prank on a young rookie who is having trouble handling a murder scene.

his majesty's dragonLaurence (Temeraire series, Naomi Novik)

The older, more cautious, and very proper Captain Will Laurence ends up paired with the young firebrand of a dragon, Temeraire.

Lady Jessica (Dune, Frank Herbert)

Like I said on my mother’s day post, Jessica of House Atreides is the real hero of the Dune books, having set all of the events in motion with her rebellious streak and determination.  Her son’s rise to power can be attributed almost entirely to her planning and persistence.

The Bagginses (LOTR and The Hobbit, Tolkien)

One major complaint I have about the LOTR movies (which I really love, for the most part) is Frodo’s youthful, naive attitude, as opposed to the more mature and worldly Frodo of the books.  Setting aside Elijah Wood’s wide-eyed, teenage face, Frodo was in fact 50 by the time he set out with the Fellowship of the Ring, by far the oldest of the four hobbits.  And though I can’t remember his age exactly, I’m certain Bilbo was quite comfortably enjoying middle-aged life when Gandalf and the dwarves disrupted him in The Hobbit.

young frodo
Frodo Baggins: Not even close to 50 in the movies

Who did I miss this week? Who are your favourite older heroes?

Tough Traveling: Extreme Climates

Today on Tough Traveling with Nathan at the Fantasy Review Barn: EXTREME CLIMATES

Perhaps the hansom prince lives in a castle surrounded by green countryside and sunny days.  The rest of the land is forced to deal with freezing cold, searing heat, and every other extreme climate mother nature can throw at you.

Here (belatedly, again, this week) are four of my favourite extreme climates from SFF.  And the Star Wars universe only accounts for 2 of them, which I think is pretty respectable give how many there are to choose from there.

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Tough Traveling: Otherworldly Creatures

Today… is not Thursday. I am late for Tough Traveling at Fantasy Review Barn this week, but here nonetheless! This week’s topic: OTHERWORLDLY CREATURES

Creatures not of our world or even our plane of existence, perhaps living in another dimension. Preferably, though not required, with tentacles.

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Tough Traveling: Fathers

Today is Thursday, so it’s Tough Traveling at Fantasy Review Barn, exploring favourite fantastical tropes. This week is: FATHERS

Comes in two types in fantasyland.  Either a semi-mystical figure proving impossible to live up to or the overbearing type who doesn’t understand why his daughter doesn’t accept the traditional princess role.  He may be tough to get along with but usually does think he has his kids interests in mind.

I did something a little different this week, and focused on television… I love books, but it is fun to expand sometimes. So without further ado, a few of my favourite TV Dads! Continue reading Tough Traveling: Fathers

Tough Traveling: People on Boats

Today is Thursday, so it’s Tough Traveling at Fantasy Review Barn, exploring favourite fantastical tropes. This week is:  PEOPLE ON BOATS

Grab a map of Fantasyland and you are sure to see there is water.  Of course not everything important is going to happen on land, right?  Sometimes people actually have to get on a boat and hit the water.  Where, being fantasyland, anything can happen.

Some of the best people are on boats.


Like Isabela, pirate queen of my heart.

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Tough Traveling: Orphans

Today is Thursday, so it’s Tough Traveling at Fantasy Review Barn, exploring favourite fantastical tropes. This week is: ORPHANS

No one in Fantasyland amounts to anything if they still have both parents.  Rule number one.  Thanks to Stephanie for the suggestion (and let us all be surprised together that it isn’t in the Tough Guide).

We all know that nearly everybody is an orphan in fantasy.  So I’ve limited my list to books I’ve read in the last 6 months and that I haven’t yet used on Tough Traveling (otherwise, there would be even more orphans).

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