Tough Travels: Chessmasters

tough travelsSo I’m participating in this week’s Tough Travels meme again – hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, this is one 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 CHESSMASTERS: A true master knows where all the pieces are at all times. Others may think they have taken control but alas, the master knew their last move before they played itOk this week was interesting. When I first saw the topic I thought I was going to skip it because I couldn’t remember a good example. But then they started trickling in, and I enlisted my husband’s help again (His response was “We shall discuss this,” and then he proceeded to name half this list for me, so there.).

Here are the brilliant minds who thrive on intrigue, deception, and manipulation:

  1. Bayaz, the first of the Magi, from The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie. He was the first one I thought of. As much as I disliked him (and the whole damn series – I nearly didn’t read Half a King because of it), he’s brilliant at manipulating his minions.
  2. Patience, one of the Bondsmagi of Karthain (and Falconer’s mother) from The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. The Bondsmagi play out the election of an entire city state just so they amuse themselves. Patience is one of their leaders and leads Locke and Jean (and Sabetha) around by their… ahem, noses.
  3. Siuan Sanche, the Amyrlin Seat, from The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. I always liked her as a character. She’s really rough around the edges but she handles intrigue like a pro (only until she doesn’t, but her story’s perhaps even more interesting then).
  4. half-a-kingLord Varys and Littlefinger from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. These two are a killer duo. They don’t necessarily work together and it’s never quite clear whose side they’re on, but you’d better be on their side if you want to live.
  5. Mother Gundring from Half a King by Joe Abercrombie. Apparently he writes great chessmasters, because she’s… Well, I want to say evil, but that’s not it. She’d do anything to help the kingdom and her actions have serious repercussions for our beloved Yarvi.
  6. Albus Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling. What? OF COURSE he’s a chessmaster. Look what he did to Snape. He’s the real deal. Honorable mention goes to another wizard, Gandalf, but I think that Dumbledore’s deception/plan ran deeper than Gandalf’s ever did.

* * *

Which chessmaster have I missed? Who else likes to meddle in other people’s lives? 

I’d love to hear your thoughts! :)

  • Lord Varys and Littlefinger are definitely the quintessential chessmasters! Nice choice on Half a King too, I chose Half the World myself and featured Yarvi, because the pawn has become the player.

    • Kaja

      Heh, I am waiting patiently for the other fantasy lover in our household to finish Half the World so I can have a go :)

  • Nice picks! Varys and Littlefinger were the first two to come to mind. And you’re right, whatever side they are on (who knows), but that’s the side you want to be on as well! :)

    • Kaja

      Yup, I would *never* bet against them. They’re the obvious choice this week, I think! :)

  • Of course we know who’s side Littlefinger is one. He is on Littlefinger’s side. As for Varys, I think he is the only one who knows who is going to end up with the throne when it is all said and done.

    • Kaja

      Ha, he’d definitely throw away the spiky old throne and have something more comfy to seat in :) But I don’t think he’d be comfortable in such a public position…

  • Ah, Bayaz. It felt so much like betrayal, because I LOVED him in the first book. The scene where he bursts into Logen’s room stark naked and shouts “what the *** is going on?” was so un-wizardly that I laughed out loud. :D

    Half the World is next on my TBR too. :D

    • Kaja

      Yeah, Bayaz was cool at first and then he was downright mean and nasty. In the end, I think he was the least loveable character in the series (and that’s saying something)…

  • Ah, Patience! I’m reading “Republic of Thieves” right now, and she’s indeed a wonderful choice for this week’s Tough Travels! :-)

    • Kaja

      Eep! I wish I was in your place – not having read the book yet and still having some Lynch pages to go! Patience is SO SCARY.

  • Well done getting Lynch on here – I should definitely have thought of that one!! Kicking myself now.
    Dumbledore seems quite possible – and Ron (for his actual chess playing).
    I absolutely must read the First Law books! Very soon.
    Lynn :D

    • Kaja

      I will always try to squeeze Lynch onto these lists ;)
      Eh, I wouldn’t be to worried about not reading The First Law series. It isn’t among my favourites, though I loved Half a King.

  • We have quite a bit of overlap in our lists! Joe Abercrombie is indeed the master at creating these types of characters – not sure what that says about his mind…. Mother Gundring is a good choice.

    • Kaja

      Thanks, Stephanie! :) I think Abercrombie’s mind has to be pretty warped to write what he does but then most good authors deviaste from “normal” a bit :)

  • Whoaaa your husband, good for him! You two are like a list-making, SF/F reading power couple. ;) I really need to read the Gentleman Bastard books. I’ve heard nothing but good things and they seem to pop up every week. What’s really sad is that I actually have all of them…sigh.

    • Kaja

      Eh, power couple might be stretching it a bit ;) But he does help most weeks, so I’m just starting to give him credit now (rude of me, I know).
      I own loads of books that I fully intend to read but just don’t find the time to tackle. However, I think you might find a new favourite in Lynch – I don’t know what I’d think of them if I read them back-to-back, but I loved all three of them immensely. It’s one of my favourite fantasy series of all time.