Tough Traveling: Towers

The Thursday feature “Tough Traveling” is the brainchild of Nathan of Review 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. Compulsive list-maker that I am, I’m very excited to take part!

This week’s tour topic is: Towers

TOWERS stand along in waster areas and almost always belong to Wizards. All are several storeys high, round, doorless, virtually windowless, and composed of smooth blocks of masonry that make them very hard to climb.

Ooh, towers, now that’s a tough one. Lucky for us, this week Wendy is joining in the fun too!

Wendy’s Picks:

The Two Towers

The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien

Turns out, J.R.R. Tolkien didn’t exactly know which two towers he was referring to when he titled the second book in the Lord of the Rings. For the sake of the film, director Peter Jackson determined these towers to be Isengard, where the wizard Saruman concocted his schemes, and The Dark Tower in Mordor, where the great eye of Sauron watched and waited.

dragon age asunderDragon Age: Asunder by David Gaider

No Dragon Age game or story is complete without a visit to or at least a mention of the Circle of Magi and the towers that have been built across Thedas for the sole purpose of training of magic users. The Chantry might be believe they are doing this for the safety of both the mages and ordinary citizens, but the mages aren’t too happy with the way they are treated by the Chantry, and the Templars who guard them.

a feast of crowsA Feast of Crows by George R. R. Martin

After the death of their father, Oberyn Martell, the infamous Sand Snakes are out for Lannister blood. The only way to keep them under control is for their uncle to lock them in the Spear Tower, along with his own conniving daughter and heir, Arianne Martell.

Mogsy’s Picks:

crowntower-2-5Theft of Swords and The Crown Tower by Michael J. Sullivan

Both these books starring Sullivan’s beloved Riyria duo involve scaling and breaking into a nearly inaccessible tower for a great treasure. In Theft of Swords, I am thinking specifically of the second story in the omnibus, Avempartha, where Hadrian and Royce have to steal a sword, the only weapon capable of slaying a dragon-like monster terrorizing the country side. In The Crown Tower, the two are tasked to enter the impregnable remains of the grandest fortress ever built.

The GunslingerThe Gunslinger by Stephen King

I would be shocked — utterly FLABBERGASTED — if I don’t see this one on many lists this week. The tower of towers, The Dark Tower, is the center of all creation, the center of the whole damn multiverse! It is a six-hundred-floor spire and mostly magical, entered through only one of the infinite number of worlds, Mid-World. I’d say it satisfies most of the requirements.

The Tower BrokenTower and Knife Trilogy  by Mazarkis Williams

Following tradition, the emperor’s brothers are all killed the day he ascends the throne. That is, all except Prince Sarmin, who was kept locked up in a tower as a secret backup — just in case. In this series, there is also the Mage’s Tower, which is virtually synonymous with the magic users and their seat of power. It is home to the emperor’s Tower Mages.

23 Comments on “Tough Traveling: Towers”

  1. There are two on this list that I expect will be on most lists. But I didn’t think of Martin’s, which is bad. I wanted to like Williams’ book but just couldn’t get into the first one enough to care. And my dislike of OTHER King books have kept me from reading The Dark Tower.


    • Two Towers is a freebie 😉 I loved the discovery in my research, that Tolkien had just chosen the name, and that there really weren’t any specific towers in the story.


    • I like a lot of King’s newer stuff, but his older “classics” that everyone loves (IT, THE SHINING, etc) have always fallen flat for me for some reason. To be honest, I couldn’t get into The Dark Tower either. It was pushed upon my by my husband the big Stephen King fan, so I read Gunslinger but never felt the desire to pick up the rest.


      • I think reading the entire Dark Tower series, all 7 books, in a binge-read is the way to go. I did that a few years ago and it was an amazing reading experience. But I am a SK fan to begin with, so maybe I’m biased. But I feel like the Dark Tower books are so different fro everything else he’s written. If you have time, give them a try again:-)


  2. Awesome list. Completely forgot about the Towers of Frey. Oh well, no complaints; I was aiming for a list full of titles with Tower in em, and the fifth pick I couldn’t come up with went to Kameron Hurley, who definitely deserves the attention 😀


    • That one is an interesting series. It’s not for everyone as I know some people couldn’t get through it, but I enjoyed the trilogy well enough.


  3. The Crown Tower! I just picked it up from the library the other day and it looks really good. And Wendy, loved your inclusion of that LoTR factoid. I’ve read all those books and I had no idea that Tolkien didn’t have a specific two towers picked out! Obviously I didn’t read closely enough.


    • I love Michael J. Sullivan’s stuff. His books are pretty conventional and and some would call pedestrian fantasy, but I prefer to think of them as down-to-earth and feel-good. I hope you enjoy The Crown Tower, his main series the Riyria Revelations is one of my favorites 🙂


  4. Argh. I’m only familiar with The Two Towers and The Gunslinger. The others are all new. Hahaha. Oh, how I love this meme because it introduced me to a lot of new books.

    Thanks for that useful information, Wendy. I just assumed that the Two Towers referred to Orthanc and Barad-dur but I think it’s just a logical assumption. The other towers featured in the series were highly unlikely. But the Towers of Teeth though… Hmmn. .

    Happy travelling, ladies!


  5. I absolutely cheated and put The Gunslinger (and The Tower) on my list – I do have them both but I haven’t read them.
    So nice to see two people’s lists here – it’s a good idea and nice inclusion of the Tolkien fact!
    I haven’t read the Mazarkis books – I did pick up the first but couldn’t get into it which I mainly put down to the mood I was in at the time. Should I give them another shot?
    Lynn 😀


    • Some people find the Mazarkis Williams books tough to get into, and I can understand why. It’s different, and not typical of the fantasy I usually read, I admit, but I enjoyed the trilogy for what it was.The style doesn’t change all that much throughout the rest of the book so you’d probably have to see for yourself 😀


  6. I’ve owned The Gunslinger for a couple of years now, but still haven’t read it! I should get on that.

    I have a soft spot for Isengard, I don’t know why I love that setting. I can’t believe I just put Barad-Dûr on my list. And then there’s the Spear Tower, like you said, so many towers in ASoIaF!


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