Tough Traveling: Musicians & Bards


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.

This week’s tour topic is: Musicians/Bards

BARDS often join questing parties and provide entertainment around the campfire.  Sometimes their music even holds a little bit of magic.  Or a clue to an ancient mystery.

Mogsy’s Picks:

Knight's ShadowKnight’s Shadow by Sebastien de Castell 

Falcio and his companions come across a duo of traveling Bardatti (means “Broken Voice”) minstrels on their latest journey. Of the pair, the lutist is talented but the troubadour is downright awful; he’s off tune and even worse, he gets Falcio’s name wrong when sings the praises the Greatcoats’ deeds in Rijou, calling him Falsio Dal Vond.

0f797-stolensongbirdStolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Cécile isn’t a bard or traveling musician in the classic fantasy/questing party sense, but she is gifted with a beautiful voice and was about to follow in her mother’s footsteps to become a professional singer in the city when she was kidnapped by a bunch of trolls and taken underneath their mountain.

The Skull Throne UKThe Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett

Rojer Inn or Rojer the Halfgrip is one of the main POV characters in The Demon Cycle series. He was raised as a jongleur after his innkeeper parents were killed in a coreling attack, and the Duke’s Herald named Arrick took him in. He is a gifted fiddler and during his time with Arlen, Leesha and the Hollowers, he develops a way to ward off demons with his music and singing.

3ee55-talusandthefrozenkingTalus and the Frozen King by Graham Edwards

Meet Talus, the world’s first detective.  This book has the feel of a Sherlock Holmes type mystery set in an icy Iron Age inspired fantasy world, but what really clinches this one that our “detective” is a bard!

TiganaTigana by Guy Gavriel Kay

After Brandin’s son was killed in the invasion of Tigana, the powerful sorcerer destroyed the country in his grief but didn’t stop there. He went as far as to wipe the memory of Tigana from the history books as well as people’s minds. Now the main protagonist Prince Alessan is going to try to win back the memory of his land by coming up with a plan, all the while hiding as a member of a group of traveling musicians for protection.

655e4-seraphinaSeraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina is a dragon-human hybrid and a talented musician. Her love of music led her to audition for a position in the Goredd court, as assistant to the royal composer Viridius. After winning the role, she goes to live at the palace and becomes the harpsichord tutor for the young princess Glisselda. She was also put in charge of the music for Prince Rufus’s funeral after Viridius becomes indisposed.

Wendy’s Picks

I confess: I’ve been stumped these past two weeks for Tough Travelling, but Mogsy has come through with glittery flying colours. This week, I am no different, but Mogsy took pity on me and tossed me a couple of easy ones.

the last wish the witcherThe Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski 

Geralt’s job as a Witcher has him chasing monsters and leaves him with the reputation of being a cold blooded killer. Perhaps it’s the villainous yellow eyes. Or perhaps it’s because he himself is a monster. You’d think such a man would be quite the loner, and yet, we find that he’s quite personable and has quite  a few people he calls friend, including the bard, Dandelion (aka Dandy), who has joined him on his travels, from time to time.

name of the windThe Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Kvothe is many things, including a Kingkiller, if the legends are to be believed, but the thing that is most precious to him is music, and when he takes up his lute, he whisks his listeners away, spinning them tales of times long gone.

dragon age asunderDragon Age: Asunder by David Gaider

In Dragon Age, bards are not merely known for their beautiful voices, they are also known for their skills with sharp instruments — like daggers. Bards are integral players in The Grand Game that occupies the nobles of Orlais. Gathering secrets, spinning lies, and assassinating the unwitting are all part of the job.

18 Comments on “Tough Traveling: Musicians & Bards”

  1. Ooh Stolen Songbird is a good pick. I can’t wait to read Hidden Huntress!
    I also chose Seraphina and Kvothe this week. I really like BAD musicians, though, they make for excellent fun!


  2. Yay for Seraphina! 🙂 I adore musician characters in general, probably because I love music, so I like this week’s topic in general.

    I don’t have my own list, but I’d definitely have Fire from Kristin Cashore’s Fire on there, since she’s an accomplished fiddler. And I guess LOTR and A Song Of Ice And Fire are both givens, since various characters sing throughout both series.


  3. Awesome lists. I thought of Kvothe, but he didn’t quite fit my theme. Rojer, on the other hand, I have no excuse for missing – he would have fit in perfectly!

    Major bonus points for fitting in Tigana – definitely one of Kay’s best.


    • I’ll admit, I almost did. It’s been a while since I read that book, but I saw recently someone talk about it and mentioned the group of traveling musicians. I was like, BINGO!


  4. Ohhh, I wish I’d mentioned the bards of Orlais! (Never read any of the DA books but am a HUGE fan of the games).

    And seeing you mention de Castell makes me wish I’d mentioned that old guy from Traitor’s Blade who had his tongue/eyes cut out.

    Great list, ladies! 😀


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