Tough Traveling: Flying Rides
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 (and inspired by) 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: Flying Rides
Because honestly? Horses just got boring. (Thanks to author Anne Leonardfor the suggestion).
Wynne refused to talk to me about griffons in Dragon Age: Origins, but my dreams finally came true with this book. Sadly, it is bittersweet, since we know that the fearsome creatures are extinct by the time the game starts. Or are they….
Okay, so Raffe won’t really appreciate me considering him a ride, but, well, how else is Penryn supposed to get around sometimes? Her sister, Page, also makes good use of mutant scorpion locust pets as modes of transportation.
No, she doesn’t fly falcons. Aileana has built her very own ornithopter. Perfect for escaping deadly fae intent on erasing you and your bloodline from existence.
This week I’ve got something for everyone…
We didn’t get to see much of it, but it’s clear that the magic rug that comes into Shazi’s possession while she is at the palace is a flying carpet. I sure hope we’ll get to see it in action in the next book. All right, everybody with me now, A WHOLE NEW WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRLLLLD!!!
The Kettral are a branch of the Emperor’s elite warriors. Like, think of them as the empire’s special forces. The soldiers are organized in small squads called a Wing. Together they get around on the giant birds that gave the group their name. Check out one of them on this cover of the upcoming third book, The Last Mortal Bond. Snazzy!
Two words: Battle Kites.
Ah, dragons, the eternal favorite. There are so many examples of the dragon mounts in fantasy, but if I’m going to feature only one of them this week, of course it just had to be Temeraire and his draconic peers in His Majesty’s mighty Aerial Corps.
The wyvern-riding witches were only a side plot in this book, but Manon and her mount Abraxos was the highlight for me. I might have already featured them during Beloved Mounts week, but I don’t care, I love the side story of how they ended up together. Like I said, it’s kind of like How to Train Your Dragon except with about 500% more brutality and cursing.
Wyndbahr (Disenchanted by Robert Kroese)
It’s a flying bear with wings. What more can you ask for? They’re ridden by Eytrith whose job is to take warriors to basically a version of Valhalla for their heroic, badass deeds.
Let’s face it, Great A’Tuin is basically just a big flying ride that happens to house many worlds on its back. In fact, we might be on Great A’Tuin right now. There’s also that druid with the flying rock that flies because of intent and the half invisible dragons and the flying carpet. You know what, let’s just say these books have many amusing flying mounts.
Bahamut (Final Fantasy XIII by Square Enix)
I hate Final Fantasy XIII with an endless passion, but I love Fang and Bahamut. I mean… It is a fucking mechanical war machine that turns into a mechanical wyvern that Fang can ride and attack with. You can’t get much more badass than that no matter how hard you try. Well, unless you count the Shiva Bike which isn’t a flying ride, but whatever… In fact, all the eidolons in that game were pretty awesome. Full disclosure. I have not read that book. I would never…
Mrs. Whatsit (A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle)
Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which are three old friends living together in a “haunted house” in the woods, of course. Mrs. Whatsit is the youngest at like a billion years old. Later in the story, the children witness her supernatural powers when she turns into a centaur like being that’s described as being very beautiful. And yes, the children get to catch a ride.
Gasbag Blimp (Titan by John Varley)
When Captain Cirocco and her crew encounter an anomalous satellite around Saturn, they quickly learn that not all is as it seems once they become inhabitants there. Each crew member finds a niche on the planet with the physician of her crew forming a bond with the blimps (huge gasbags that endlessly roam the skies). Calvin is able to communicate with them through a series of whistles and use them as a means of transportation.