Tough Travels: Pets

tough travelsI’m participating in this week’s Tough Travels meme again. It’s hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn and is a great way to explore Fantasyland and create lists, YAY! Don’t forget to go and check out what other participating bloggers have put on their lists – my tbr expands every week because of them! :)

This week’s topic is PETS (thank you, Nathan’s wife, this was a fun one to put together!): 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.

Well. I’m going to have to make some limitations for this one. I’m not counting all animal companions here, because Fitz’s Nighteyes, for example, would probably bite anyone who wanted to name him a pet. Ditto for Gandalf’s Shadowfax, Daenerys’s ViserionRhaegal and Drogon, or Lyra’s Pantalaimon.

I had two pets when I was a kid – the first one was a stick insect whom I named Thor (I was 11) and who lived for a freakishly long time (probably because of the steady diet of fresh raspberry leaves I fed him), and the other was a gray gerbil (my brother had a white one) who wasn’t too keen on petting and bit a lot. Having lived in an apartment my entire life, I can now understand my parents’ refusal to buy us anything larger than a gerbil, though. If I could choose any pet now, I’d pick a corgi. They’re adorable.

This is my list of pets from Fantasyland:

  1. direwolvesNymeria, Arya Stark’s direwolf from A Song of Ice and Fire. And all the other direwolves that belong to the Stark kids (Summer, Shaggydog, Grey Wind, Lady, Ghost). All the puppies (–>)!! I know they’re more important than mere pets but they’re not really sentient, so I’m counting them.
  2. Scabbers, Ron Weasley’s rat from the Harry Potter series. I KNOW he turns out to be an intensely creepy middle-aged man, but Ron thinks he’s just an ordinary rat. Honorary mentions from this series: Crookshanks, Hedwig, Trevor, Fang, Fawkes, Fluffy and pygmy puffs.
  3. Dagda, Morgan Rowland’s kitten from Sweep series by Cate Tiernan. This is quite a cheesy series about teenage witches but I’ve been re-reading them these days after… ten years, so the kitty is fresh in my memory.
  4. Buttercup, Prim Everdeen’s ugly cat from The Hunger Games. He’s one lucky cat and survives all the attacks (I think).
  5. Locke’s kitten from Red Seas under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. I’m cheating here because I don’t remember the name. But I liked the fact that it’s bad luck to sail a boat (or a ship) without a cat on board – and the first thing that happens when Locke and Jean embark on their quest to become pirates is that Locke forgets to take cats with them. He later befriends a kitten despite his best efforts to avoid any such companionship.
  6. Fleetfoot, Celaena Sardothien’s dog from Throne of Glass. The pup is a gift from prince Dorian and is Celaena’s faithful companion.
  7. Ged’s otak from A Wizard of Earthsea. I don’t remember the name but the creature was a fluffball, I think, and travelled around on Ged’s shoulder (or was it in his hood?). Shame on me for forgetting everything.

* * *

What faithful creature have I missed? 

Did you have any pets growing up? Do you still have any?

I’d love to hear about them all! :)

  • PYGMY PUFFS!! :D

    Omg I used to read those Cate Tiernan books too. I loved them!

    • Kaja

      Yes, they’re SO ADDICTIVE! And they always end on a really cheesy cliffhanger so you HAVE TO read the next one. Plus they’re so short that reading one is like reading a third of a normal fantasy novel :)

  • Hmmm, I never thought about that but you’re right: maybe they can only be called pets if they’re non-sentient. Otherwise they’re probably just animal characters, haha. This of course invalidates like half of my list. ;)

    PYGMY PUFFS! Ugh there are just so many cool fantastical creatures in Harry Potter, how could anyone dislike it? And yeah…Scabbers…I would’ve been interested in hearing more about Ron’s feelings about that whole kerfuffle.

    • Kaja

      Nah, that’s just my way of somehow limiting my choices. There are SO MANY animals in fantasy lit that I’d be hard-pressed to choose.

      Pygmy puffs are the best, I’d love to have one. But I’d probably be allergic or something :) Yeah, Ron was probably deeply scarred – I’d definitely be if I learned that a middle-aged man was sleeping in my bed for years. SO CREEPY.

  • I can’t believe I forgot the cat from Red Seas Under Red Skies – I will now hang my head in shame – I just can’t live with myself.
    Lynn :D

    • Kaja

      Well, your pets of choice were dogs, so you’re forgiven ;)

  • Dagda, Morgan Rowland’s kitten from Sweep series by Cate Tiernan. This is quite a cheesy series about teenage witches but I’ve been re-reading them these days after… ten years, so the kitty is fresh in my memory.

    Oh MAN, I keep thinking about those books and thinking I might reread them just for cheesy fun.

    • Kaja

      Yes, you should! Insta-love, teenage angst, worrying about breasts and boyfriends – they’re AMAZING for a fun evening. Hunter is actually a decently swoony character (though Cal – he of “the godlike beauty” – is a bit much).

  • Corgi’s are awesome little dogs – I hope you have one, one day. I do love that you had a pet stick insect:0)! Best pet ever! Ahem… Fantastical pets. I’ve read 4,5, and 6 and completely forgot there were pets in those books – I need to do some memory exercises – good call on all of those. And I would love my own companion direwolf though it might not go over so well in the neighborhood I live in….

    • Kaja

      Umm, I think most neighborhoods would frown on direwolves as pets :D And they would eat a fortune in raw meat, so you’d have to make friends with the local butcher ;)
      Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!

  • I think Nymeria still has a part to play, hopefully leading a full on attack against a bunch of Lanisters.

    • Kaja

      Yep, she’ll do the whole “Hear me roar” routine on them ;)

  • I definitely have had my fair share of pets growing up. Though the best was my ragdoll kitty Isabelle who now lives with my dad because my toddler son would terrorize her and she was just too soft natured to put up with it she was constantly in hiding.

    Some lovely sounding picks you have there and some books I definitely plan to read!

    • Kaja

      Ugh, kids + pets can sometimes be tough, yeah. I remember my grandma having a cat and my cousins used to squish her and pull her tail (they were too little to know better).
      I have a baby now and we’re probably years away from considering any pets – it’s too much of a fuss at the moment (though I guess everything seems a bit overwhelming at first…).
      Thanks for the comment, Tabitha!

  • Ah, finally somebody who agrees with me, that it’s diffcult to decide, whether sentient creatures should be called pets or rather be also characters of their own :-)

    • Kaja

      Well, if they speak, they count as characters, no? :) Some of the best characters in fantasy (and fairy tales!) are animals, so I think there should definitely be a distinction.
      Thanks for stopping by! :)

  • Great pick with Fleetfoot! I was trying to think of pets in the YA I’ve read and surprisingly came up with very few – but somehow I missed Throne of Glass!

    • Kaja

      I only remembered Fleetfoot because I was re-reading Throne of Glass at the time I was writing this post :)