Tough Traveling: Turncoats
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: Turncoats
TURNCOATS are people who change to the side of the DARK LORD in mid-tour.
The theme title is pretty self-explanatory this week, methinks. Sit tight now, as we explore fantasy fiction’s offerings of traitorous, double-crossing, two-timing, back-stabbing jerks, renegades, betrayers and other dastardly characters.
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
Yeesh, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a traitor or a turncoat in GRRM’s series. These books are full of them, from mercenaries who switch sides for a higher bidder, bitter lords who put on a welcoming face only to later slaughter all your friends and family, so-called brothers-in-arms who will turn on you the moment your back is turned, and the list goes on and on. Notable examples of turncoat characters include Littlefinger who plays the game of thrones only for himself, and Theon Greyjoy, in fact nicknamed “Theon Turncoat” after his heinous actions at Winterfell.
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Lots of turncoats in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books as well, the most notable one of course being Peter Pettigrew also known as “Wormtail” to the childhood friends he ends up ruthlessly selling out to Lord Voldemort.
Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
I just realized the massive potential for spoilerific details with this week’s theme. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last fifteen years or so, I think most people know what happens in Harry Potter, and I tried to be sufficiently vague when I talked about ASoIaF. But Broken Homes is a different matter. Obviously I can’t reveal the identity of the turncoat here, but the betrayal happens right at the end of this book, by a character most characters have grown to care for, which makes the violation of trust hurt all the more!
Turn Coat by Jim Butcher
With a title like that, I thought this Dresden Files book would be a shoo-in this week for sure. As it turns out, it’s a bit more complicated. The “turncoat” is a battered and bleeding Morgan who shows up on Harry’s doorstep one day, accused of killing one of their own. Morgan was found standing over the body of a Senior Council member wielding a bloody knife, but he claims to have no memory of the incident. Morgan came to Harry because it was the last place anyone would expect him to go, and also he believed Harry would empathize with being accused of a crime he wasn’t guilty of.
Half A King by Joe Abercrombie
When his father the king and older brother are unexpectedly killed in an enemy ambush, Prince Yarvi has no choice but to inherit the throne, but he barely has the chance to warm the seat before he is betrayed and left for dead – by someone close to him whose loyalty he thought was beyond reproach.