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 combing the Fantasyland looking for MIDDLE AGE HEROES: This hero stuff is usually a young person’s game. Occasionally, a grizzled old veteran can get involved. It is a true rarity for someone to join the good fight for Fantasyland living in that in-between ground.
Well! This should be an interesting batch of lists! :) Look, I like YA, I really do (if you come by Of Dragons and Hearts at all you’ll have seen that I post loads of YA reviews), but sometimes I just want to shake the hero/ine and make them see how naïve/inexperienced their views are. That’s not to say that adults can’t be naïve but at least they’ve seen some action already.
As I was making this list, I noticed the lack of female characters!! What is happening? Why am I only reading about women if they’re young? At least I can’t really think of many older ones, not main characters anyway… I’ll see if I can come up with some…
- Harry Dresden from Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. You’re a wizard, Harry! Oh, no, wait… wrong Harry. Dresden is like a supernatural PI and gets into all sorts of trouble. He also thinks he’s pretty good-looking but I’m not sure I’d fall for his particular brand of greasy-haired charm…
- Bilbo Baggins from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. HA! You can’t get more middle-aged than Bilbo in this story (he’s much older in The Lord of the Rings). I also wanted to include Aragorn but though his movie version looks pretty great, he was actually 80 years old (I think?) when we meet him in the story so that’s hardly middle-aged…
- Kelsier from Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn. I don’t know exactly how old he was but he’s definitely a sort of father figure/mentor to Vin, so I’m counting him.
- Captain Zamira Drakasha from Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies. Ok so she’s not a main character but she’s pretty important and she’s a pirate. Yarr.
- Logen Ninefingers from Joe Abercrombie’s The First Law trilogy. Not my favourite series if we’re discussing characters and their development (of which there is none but I’m really glad I read Abercrombie’s Half a King because it’s great). But Logen used to be a husband and a father and now he’s just a sell-sword roaming around with his band of misfits, looking for the next battle.
- Ned Stark from George R. R. Martin’s A Game of Thrones. I wanted to write “from George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire” but I don’t think it’s appropriate, do you? :) Anyway, he was a noble man and deserves to be remembered. RIP.
I also known Fitz from Robin Hobb’s books is middle-aged in the series that follows The Farseer Trilogy but I haven’t read them yet so he just gets a small mention because he’s great.
Which dignified hero/ine would you add to my list?
Have you had any more luck coming up with female middle-aged main characters?
I’d love to hear from you!