Tough Traveling: Pets
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: Pets
Everybody needs somebody to love. And the best companionship doesn’t always come from the same sentient group, does it? Be it furry or scaled, large or small, sometimes an animal companion is the best thing a person can have.
All of my choices are animals, of course, but I think they would all be insulted if I dared refer to them as pets. In some cases, fortunate humans are able to communicate with their animal companions, while others simply have a strong bond. In all cases, animal companions would give their lives for their humans, and their humans would do the same.
The Ash Warriors are known for their deadly skill and the equally deadly mabari hounds that join them in battle. Kell ap Morgan’s hound is named Hafter, and Kell claims he, like Kell, partook of the Joining ritual to become Grey Wardens. They are inseparable, even unto death.
You don’t want to call Sceadufæx, the lord of all horses, a pet. Nope. Not even the Rohirrim could tame this wild steed. But when Gandalf earned his whites, he must have proved himself worthy enough to ride the mighty Shadowfax into battle.
Dire wolves were thought to be extinct, but when the Stark kids stumble on the dead body of a mother wolf and her living cubs, it turns out to be a portent sign. Will
Grey Wind, Lady, Nymeria,
Summer, Shaggydog, and Ghost be all that remains of the Stark legacy when GRRM finally gets around to finishing this series? Warg on, Starks. Warg on.
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
*sobs into her pillow*
I’ve been focusing on epic fantasy a lot in these lists lately and since Wendy’s got some good ones covered, just for fun, this week I’m gonna go ALL URBAN FANTASY! (Not like it’s too difficult, though; UF is kinda bursting at the seams with protagonists with loyal companions — some of which possess pretty cool supernatural powers of their own).
Harry Dresden probably has two of the most well known pets in urban fantasy. Mister is his huge grey cat who has been around since book one, and he likes to bulldoze into visitors’ knees, knocking them over. Harry also acquires a dog later in the series, a Foo Dog named Mouse. It is suggested many times that Mouse might have a divine origin, not least because he is highly intelligent and seems to understand his master’s mind.
Oberon is protagonist Atticus O’Sullivan’s loyal Irish Wolfhound. The two communicate telepathically with each other thanks to Atticus’ druidic abilities. They are pals that love to banter and hang out with each other, and go on the occasional hunt to burn off steam. Atticus would shapeshift in order to run along side Oberon.
Captain is Owl’s Egyptian Mau cat, bred to protect the ancient Egyptians from creatures of the underworld. Apparently, that includes vampires. Owl brings Captain around to help her sniff out the bloodsucking undead, and he’s also helpful in a fight with one on account of the venom in his spit and claws — extremely poisonous to vampires, of course.
This is sort of a cheat because I haven’t actually read any of the books in ‘s Allie Beckstrom series, but I have read the spin-off Broken Magic duology. In both books Allie makes several cameos and so we also get to see her pet stone gargoyle named Stone.
Mercy’s cat Medea is a tailless calico that first came to her as a stray. Most cats don’t get along with werewolves, walkers or other shapeshifters like Mercy and her friends, but for some reason Medea seems to like everyone.
Who needs a ghost detector when you have Toby, a dog who is able to sense magic and anything paranormal? Peter has even developed a system that measures the strength of magic activity based on the loudness and intensity of Toby’s yaps.
Not really urban fantasy, but I couldn’t not include this. The protagonist Vlad acquired Loiosh, his jhereg familiar, as an egg in a bargain with the creature’s wild mother. Loiosh is snarky (much like Vlad himself) but he’s also a very helpful companion due to his psychic link with his master, and has saved Vlad’s life on several occasions.