Tough Traveling: Companions
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: COMPANIONS
You will normally meet them for the first time at the outset of the tour. They are picked from among the following: Bard, Female Mercenary, Gay mage, Imperious Female, Large Man, serious soldier, Slender Youth, Small Man, Talented Girl, Teenage Boy, Unpleasant Stranger, and Wise Old Stranger.
It’s probably cheating to add Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien to any of these lists…
Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
Isaac Vainio’s ability to pull almost anything from a book is a bibliophile’s dream, but it’s his badass dryad companion, Lena, who often pulls his butt out of the fire.
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
This one puts an interesting spin on the companions, by starting with an enigmatic older wizard, and adding a young warrior as his companion. A young shapeshifting woman soon joins them, as well as an older couple, a mage and an alchemist.
Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
Prince Jorg refers to them as his road brothers, and each one is talented in various forms of murder and/or mayhem. His most notable companion, and my favourite of the bunch, is the Nuban.
The Barrow by Mark Smylie
Another dark twist on the companions. Stjepan Black-Heart is joined by a mercenaries, a brothel owner, a young woman disguised as a man, a scandalized noble and the sister at the centre of that scandal.
Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
Alif is pretty hopeless, and mostly remains that way throughout the book. It’s a good thing he has companions like Vikram the jinn to guide him, and most especially, Dina, the level-headed girl next door who defies preconceived Western notions about Muslim women.
I’ve been reading a lot of quest narrative fantasies as of late, so like Wendy, I’m pretty happy for the chance to talk about some of my more recent reads, which I don’t think I’ve featured in past Tough Traveling lists yet.
Gleam by Tom Fletcher
Talk about some interesting companions. It’s a wild whacky world in Gleam, so it only makes sense to have wild whacky characters. Alan enlists the help of several friends, new and old, on his quest for some magic mushrooms, including the mysterious and deadly Mapmaker called Bloody Nora.
Age of Iron by Angus Watson
Dug Sealskinner is just a simple mercenary hoping to join up with an army and make some coin, but he can’t seem to help collecting companions along the way. First a strange child named Spring, then Lowa, an exiled warrior seeking her revenge, and Ragnall, a druid trying to reunite with his kidnapped fiancee.
Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards
Arkamondos, a young scribe finds himself hired on to chronicle the exploits of a rough band of Syldoon led by the formidable Captain Braylar Killcoin. Despite being a group of brutal, gritty warriors, every one of the Syldoon fighters display their individual quirks and qualities that made them each very memorable.
The Copper Promise by Jen Williams
Enter an unlikely group of diverse heroes in this fun adventure with just a touch of darkness: Lord Frith, jaded and broken and looking to avenge his murdered family. Sebastian, an exiled knight whose only crime was falling in love with another man. Last but not least, Wydrin, the cheeky mercenary girl also known as the Copper Cat, who has a scary obsession with sharp blades.
City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
Shara’s companion, the unforgettable and indomitable Sigrud is a fiercely loyal bodyguard and helper, and he can fight like no one else. Turyin Mulaghesh, the soldier turned governor, also joins up with Shara to help her uncover the mysteries of Bulikov.
Wacky compainions in Gleam? One more reason for me to look forward to it? Overjoyed am I.
I think The Barrow has a lot going for it on the companion front as well.
Oh goodness, Gleam. Whacky might not even be the best word. They’re definitely interesting, that’s for sure. Hope you’ll think so as well!
that’s actually a fantastic idea! if you ever do one of magic schools, it’s going to be a very very very long list.
We’ve actually done magical schools in the past! It was actually kind of hard, because there were stipulations involved 😀
LikeLiked by 1 person
Definitely Companions seems to be very much a suited trope for the world of fantasy. It made me think immediately of Drizzt D’urden and also of the original Dragonlance books as well as the DeathGate Cycle books and hmmm lets see what else….oh yes the first few Wheel of Time books of course!
I agree, any book which has a hero or requires a protagonist going on a quest has companions 😀
I love companions 😀
Sometimes I like them even more than the hero.
Nice topic and I’m sad to say I haven’t read any of the books….
Maybe next week 🙂 Topic is CURSES! Fun!
The Barrow features a girl dressed as a man? Well, why didn’t anyone say so?? I am sold. The Copper Promise looks awesome as well, I’ve been wanting to read that one ever since the synopsis was released. Great cover art, too!
The Barrow is awesome – really dark, graphic and gratuitous especially on the violence and sex though. Just a heads up! 😛
And I was so glad to read the Copper Promise. Still no US release date in sight, but I got mine from the Book Depository.
I likes the sound of Copper Cat! You have a few on here I keep meaning to read. Also love that you included Age of Iron!
I just finished Age of Iron and LOVED it, so I just had to 🙂
Awesome choices guys! Wish I’d thought of The Copper Promise.
“It’s probably cheating to add Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien to any of these lists…” – Oops! 😀
Naw, you’re fine, Rings is an absolute classic, we just realized we’ve included it too many times on our lists heehee 😉
Age of Iron is the business! I loved it.
Just reading Copper Promise at the moment – I really wanted to include Copper Cat but I’m only about 60 pages in so it seemed a bit premature.
Enjoying it very much though.
You have to give the “companions” some love every now and then, because without them where would most heroes be? That’s right, no where.