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!
Well, we’re doing some serious travelling this week, looking for EXTREME CLIMATES: Perhaps the handsome prince lives in a castle surrounded by green countryside and sunny days. The rest of the land is forced to deal with freezing cold, searing heat, and every other extreme climate mother nature can throw at you.
Sadly, this week marks one of the few occasions where I didn’t manage to stuff The Lies of Locke Lamora onto the list!! *wails in despair* Or maybe I just need to re-read the books? Oh, well…
As usual, I couldn’t resist ordering my list into sections!
Hot (otherwise known as deserts):
- The Aiel Waste from Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Rand goes there and has a wonky experience that possibly involves some hallucinogenic substances (I really don’t remember the details) but the whole place is a huge desert where the Aiel people, who are fierce warriors, spend the majority of their time.
- Planet Arrakis from Frank Herbert’s Dune. This is my husband’s addition for this week (OK so he helped with the other entries, too, but I read all of the other books, while I haven’t read Dune yet). He tells me it’s a planet that’s a desert but there’s a really rare spice available – and that’s it, he won’t tell me anything else because he says I should read the book. Hmph.
Cold (otherwise known as places where fur is worn on a daily basis):
- The Wall (and everything beyond it) from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire. Look, I like the rugged, furry-mountain-man look as much as anyone but does Jon Snow’s fur have to match his hair? *POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD* And while I didn’t read the last book, I watched the TV series and dammit, George, but I’m seriously thinking of quitting your show. What the hell is going on? I do believe 90% of the original POV characters are now dead?
- This northern region from Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King. After Yarvi and some of his fellow shipmates escape the slave galley of Shadikshirram (I think that’s how her name is spelled, I can’t check because I’ve loaned the book to a friend), they have to trek through a winter wasteland.
- Svalbard from Philip Pullman’s The Northern Lights. That’s where Iorek lives, I think, and Lyra has to go even further North in order to save the snatched children from the horrible fate that awaits them at Bolvangar. Ugh.
- Narnia during the White Witch’s rule from C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Yeah so I guess Mother Nature sometimes steps back and allows others to take over – an evil witch in this case.
Toxic (otherwise known as places where the air is toxic and so on):
- The Blight from Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. OK so I’m including the same series twice but to be fair, it’s about 7 times as long as the others so I think I’m good. I don’t really know if the Blight is a climate as such but it has been slowly eating away at the good lands and weird stuff happens there, so I’m counting it. Poor Lan.
- Mordor from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Ahh, the words that launched a thousand memes. Mordor is so evil and dirty that the air is poisonous, it’s hot, and I don’t think any plants or animals live there – the only creatures that are able to survive it are the orcs, no? But Frodo and Sam venture there anyway and nearly perish in the process.
- The Arena from Suzanne Collins’s Catching Fire. This is an example of a man-made climate: the organizers of the Hunger Games are nasty, nasty creatures and have created a sort of a rain forest that also has a toxic fog creeping though it for about one hour a day. The rest of the Arena is equally deadly, what with a tsunami and the hot weather and all.
So, would you travel to any of these places if you had a chance?
And tell me – would the world end in fire or in ice? ;) (Or are you convinced we’re facing a different sort of Armageddon?)
I’d love to hear from you! :)