It’s Thursday again so I’m participating in the Tough Travels meme which is hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn. These posts are fun explorations of common tropes in fantasy, (sometimes) inspired by Diana Wynne Jones’s The Tough Guide to Fantasyland. Join me in the search for examples of this week’s topic – and don’t forget to check out other people’s lists, they’re wonderful and my TBR pile grows every week because of them!
Ohhhh! This week’s topic was so difficult – but not for the usual reason of not having any ideas. We’re off to Fantasyland looking for ORPHANS this week – No one in Fantasyland ever amounts to anything if they still have both parents. Rule number one. I had to narrow the list down to my favourites (I couldn’t think of a spin on this topic that would let me include all of my favourites. Because I apparently have a thing for orphaned characters, who knew…).
- LOCKE LAMORA (hahahaha) and crew and half of Camorr as well. Well, this choice will surprise exactly no one. I can’t help it, the topics just seem to FLOW in the direction of Lynch’s masterpiece (ok so I stretch them sometimes but still). Fun fact: if you mistype “locke” and get “lovke” instead, that means “tentacles” in Slovenian!
- Kell (and Lila?) from A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. Ohh, Kell, I wanted to give him a hug so bad. Poor boy-man (How do you call someone who’s old enough to be a man but isn’t quite there emotionally? Is there a word in English?). He has a family but feels more like a possession than a child and knows nothing about his history.
- Harry Potter.
- Kvothe from Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle. I don’t remember whether this should be filed in the *possible spoiler* area but Kvothe’s parents were killed by the Chandrian because they were working on a song that struck too close to the truth. Kvothe, the poor red-headed kid, was left to wander the woods and later the streets of Tarbean before he ended up at the University.
- Karou/Madrigal from Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Orphaned TWICE – that’s some sort of a record, surely. Karou is a special case, a human girl raised by monsters. She knew she wasn’t their biological child but they were her family. Also: her human fake grandmother was the real monster!
- Celaena Sardothien from Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series. Wooo, a badass orphaned assassin! Well, Celaena might not have been my favourite character in books 1 and 2 of the series (which is slightly problematic seeing as she is the main character) but she really grew on me in Heir of Fire.
- Frodo Baggins. He ended up in Bilbo’s care because his parents were killed in a boating accident. His eccentric uncle did alright by him, I think!
- Bod (Nobody) Owens from Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. A tiny boy raised by ghosts after his family is brutally murdered. I read the translation of this one (very good!).
- Ivy from Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Wicked. Eh, I had to include another girl (and also help Danya with the urban/paranormal fantasy picks). Ivy is an orphan because the evil fae killed her family. She now hunts them and kills them. There’s a huge cliffhanger (you’ve been warned).
Nine seems like a good number, right? Well, honorable mentions go to: Rand Al’ Thor (I never know how to spell his name); Jace Wayland (YAY for the Shadowhunters tv series – will you be watching it?? I’m not a huge fan of the series but I’m a sucker for teenage paranormal angst.) and Fitz from Robin Hobb’s books. Oh, and the Stark kids. Those were orphaned in a rather spectacular way…
Who would you add to my list?
Do you find this trope to be over-used or do you have a soft spot for these kids?
I’d love to hear from you! :)