The Thursday feature “Tough Traveling” is the brainchild of Nathan ofReview Barn, who has come up with the excellent idea of making a new list each week based on the most common tropes in fantasy, as seen in The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynn Jones. Nathan has invited anyone who is interested to come play along, so be sure to check out the first link for more information.
This week’s tour topic is: Traveling Folk
TRAVELLING FOLK are quite common. They are of two kinds: Land travellers and River travellers.
These people are merry, colourfully dressed, dishonest, and knowledgeable…they will cheat you, cure your wounds, and hustle you off to the cart of their oldest lady who will tell you something about the future you need to know.
Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier
The traveling folk in this book fit the theme’s description to a T. In the course of investigating a mystery, Blackthorn and Grim track the clues down to a band of roving traders, and are invited into the presence of an old lady who even reveals very important information that helps them in their quest and everything!
Kushiel’s Universe by Jacqueline Carey
The Tsingano are said to travel the Longo Drom, “The Long Road”. Believed to originate from the kingdom of Bhodistan, they have no permanent home, known for being traveling horse traders. The most prominent Tsingano character in this series is of course Phedre’s best friend the Hyacinthe who styles himself as “The Prince of Travelers”. It is Tsingano women, however, who are known to possess the dromonde, a clairvoyant ability to see into the past as well as future.
The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss
Kvothe’s parents were members of the Edema Ruh, a nomadic cultural group with no country to call their own. They’re almost always entertainers, and they travel the countryside in large colorful troupes, performing at towns in exchange for food and shelter.
Darkwalker by E.L. Tettensor
The Adal are a society of pastoral nomads, mistrusted and persecuted for their reputation of being thieves and cheats, all because of the actions of a few bad apples. Author E.L. Tettensor drew inspiration from pastorialist societies of northeast Africa, cultures in which raising and driving cattle are the foundation of the economy. Adali magic, called khekra, also plays a big role in the book, which is also inspired by cultures found elsewhere on the African continent.
The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan
It’s been a very long time since I read the first book, but I do remember the Tinkers. As such, I’ll let the wiki do most of the talking here. “Tinkers” or “Traveling People” are formerly known as the Tuatha’an. The philosophy, called “the Way of the Leaf” earns them mistrust and disdain from most common folk, who consider Tinkers as habitual thieves and disreputable low-lives who try to lure away children by converting them to the Way of the Leaf.
Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
The trade caravans that travel to and from the city of Forge play a role in this series as a good source of information when you need news from far abroad. Having friendly connections to the traveling merchants also gives you access to rare, expensive goods and you never know when you’ll need a quick way to get out of town.
Red Country by Joe Abercrombie
Not quite adhering to this week’s theme, but a bunch of ragtag characters on a journey across the barren plains to an uncharted frontier mountain town in a Wild West style wagon train surely counts as traveling folk right? Even just a little bit?
The Rain Wild Chronicles by Robin Hobb
My one and only entry to the “River Travelers” category in this week’s theme. Instead of settling in the big cities, the Rain Wild Traders have chosen to make their home on the acidic waters of the Rain Wild River, sailing their liveships made of a substance called wizardwood, which are actually the casings of dragon cocoons.