Tough Traveling: Curses!


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. Compulsive list-maker that I am, I’m very excited to take part!

This week’s tour topic is: CURSES

CURSES are long-standing ill-wishings which, in Fantasyland, often manifest as semi-sentient. They have to be broken or dispelled. The method varies according to the type and origins of the Curse: {Can include}

– Curses on lands, Curses on families, Curses on BUILDINGS, Curses on RINGS and SWORDS, Curses on people, Curses with conditions.

 Mogsy’s Picks

The Godless USThe Godless by Ben Peek

After a war between the gods, their dead and dying laid scattered across the world becoming part of the forests, mountains, and other features of the land. Since then, men and women have awakened with strange and spectacular powers that are derived from the fallen gods’ bodies. Ayae, the young apprentice of a cartographer is one such individual, who discovers she is “cursed” after emerging completely unharmed from the flames that devoured her shop.

TiganaTigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

In this book, a whole land and all of its people are cursed! When Brandin the sorceror’s son is slain in a battle with the principality of Tigana, he destroys the remnants of their army in his grief, but doesn’t stop there. After burning their books and demolishing their structures, he makes it that no one born in there can even speak, hear or remember the land’s name.

ChangesDresden Files by Jim Butcher

There are curses aplenty in the Dresden Files series. A type of dark magic, there’s a particularly nasty one called the “death curse” which is a wizard’s last spell. Another type of curse is the entropy curse, which causes luck to turn against the victim. There are also hereditary or bloodline curses that kill everyone related to the person cursed, no matter how distant the connection.

The Curse of ChalionThe Curse of Chalion by Lois McMaster Bujold

A debilitating curse hangs over the royal family of Chalion, one that can only be drawn back by the gods through the will of someone who lays down his life three times for the House of Chalion. Cazaril accepts a position as a tutor for the Royesse Iselle, half-sister to the king, and in doing so finds himself drawn into the mysteries of the curse.

London FallingLondon Falling by Paul Cornell

This book has an example of one of the most bizarre “curses” I’ve ever encountered. While on a case, a team of police officers discovers a connection between a series of child abductions and a long-standing curse related the West Ham Football Club, caused by a witch who kills any soccer player who scores a hat trick against her favorite team.

e2cd8-theleopardThe Leopard by K.V. Johansen

This first part of the Marakand duology introduces us to Ahjvar, the assassin also known as the Leopard. Ahjvar is bound by a horrible curse and he  only wants to die, taking the burden to his grave. That changes when he is offered an opportunity to complete a mission on behalf of a goddess, who promises to free him from his curse if he succeeds.

Wendy’s Picks

Paladin of SoulsPaladin of Souls by Lois McMaster Bujold

The curse that plagued Chalion has been lifted and Lady Ista freed from her god-touched state, but the gods aren’t done with her yet! Her travels take her to another kingdom suffering from a plague of sorcery, and Ista must choose whom to sacrifice in order to free them.

the last wish the witcherThe Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski

No better place to find curses than in fairy tales. But sometimes, the stories that are told at night don’t tell you who the true monsters are, such as king whose infidelities turned his daughter into a striga or the beast and his deadly beauty.

37600-anaturalhistoryofdragonsA Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan

Dragons are attacking the village, and, shortly after the “outsiders” visit the ancient ruins, ominous signs appear. Surely it is the curse of the twisted dragon king! Well, maybe it’s not, but you know those pesky villagers and their pitchforks, ready to chase away anyone who disrupts their quiet way of life by bringing on the wrath of undead demons.

King of ThornsKing of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

The thing about eating a necromancer’s heart is that, with great power over the undead, comes some pretty haunting ghosts, the results of Jorg’s not so nice deeds.


16 Comments on “Tough Traveling: Curses!

  1. Double the Bujold, double the fun! Even stranger for me? I have read only one non-Bujold book from EITHER of your lists. Well done my friends, well done.


  2. Totally forgot about The Leopard, and King of Thorns! Interesting list. Of the ten books here, only those two I’ve read, and I actually abandoned The Leopard.


  3. Wow, more Bujold recommendations! Clearly I need to read more by her. The Curse of Chalion has been dutifully added to the list. Good call on A Natural History of Dragons, Wendy! I completely forgot that the villagers thought the ruins were cursed.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great choices this week. I’ve got the Bujold book but haven’t read yet so couldn’t really go there. And, I cannot believe I forgot Peek and Butcher. Where is my head at really!


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