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!
This week, we’re looking for PEOPLE ON BOATS: Grab a map of Fantasyland and you are sure to see there is water. Of course not everything important is going to happen on land, right? Sometimes people actually have to get on a boat and hit the water.
I dislike boats. I have a poor sense of balance and they make me feel ill. I’ve never spent enough time on a boat/ship to actually be sick but I get this wobbly feeling that persists for hours after I’ve already stepped onto firm ground. Ugh. But I love reading about pirates anyway!
Well, if this was a romance topic instead of fantasy, I’d have no trouble finding a whole bunch of sexy pirates. *snort* Instead, we have these people getting on boats and getting soaked quite often:
- Red Seas under Red Skies by Scott Lynch. Ok this is getting ridiculous! Is there a single trope/topic that isn’t found in the Gentleman Bastards series? :) Well, most of RSuRS takes place on a pirate ship because Locke and Jean are coerced into being pirates. Without really knowing anything about boats. But these two can bluff their way through any situation! (If they don’t forget the cats, that is.)
- Stardust by Neil Gaiman. I’m cheating because the ship in this one is actually flying but let’s say clouds are water so there.
- Half a King and Half the World by Joe Abercrombie. In the first one, prince Yarvi is sold into slavery and works his butt of as a galley slave under a
charmingcrazy, sadistic captain. In the second, they take a ship and sail up one river and down another in order to secure allies for a war that’s brewing on the Shattered Sea.
- The Liveship Traders trilogy by Robin Hobb. I only got as far as book 2 (I’m stuck!) but the liveships are amazing – I think it takes three generations of a family to die and put their essence into the ship for the ship to awaken, but when it does, it’s got its own personality, combined with the ancestral memories. Pretty great, right? Yep, until the ship goes crazy and drowns its whole crew! *eep*
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling. The credit for this one goes to my husband who remembered that the Durmstrang students arrive on a ship that rises from the lake – which is really weird and magical because I have no idea how they got to the UK from Romania or wherever that school is located.
- Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. Lyra spends quite some time on the boats of the river people, the Gyptians, when she’s travelling to save the children who’ve been taken by the evil people trying to separate them from their daemons.
- The Earthsea Quartet by Ursula K. Le Guin. I’m really hazy on the details (I should re-read this at some point) but Ged and his friends spend a lot of time floating around the various isles of the Archipelago (it’s really the only way to get from one island to another).
Do you like boats? Have you ever gone sailing?
Completely off topic: what would your daemon look like? I like to think I’d get a fox (but in reality I’d probably end up with a bunny or something un-ferocious).