Each Thursday, our copy of ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland’ in hand, we shall tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.
Today’s tour topic is… City of Wizards
City of Wizards is normally a good thing, since only good wizards seem to live together. This city will be on a hill in someplace that is hidden/hard to get to…. Be sure to check out your own guide for the rest of the definition, though it is obvious that this guide needs revised looking at my list. Which includes…
Ninavel –Whitefire Crossing by Courtney Schafer- I was thrilled to do this entry mostly because Ninavel is such an awesome city. Not just a city occupied by a strong wizard population, it is a city that is possible only because of the wizard population. Living in a magical anarchy where the wizards can practice their craft however they see fit, the only rule is they help with the maintenance that holds it together and keeps it watered. While not entirely inhabited by wizards (someone has to run the stalls and stuff, right?) it is still very much a wizard’s city. But it is certainly not one I would choose to live in, running into a bloodmage does not feel like a good start to a day.
Hadrumal – The Theif’s Gamble by Juliet McKenna – A city of wizards, where wizards do their research into the strange past of Einarinn. I have only read two of McKenna’s books so I don’t have all the info, but in the early books it felt more like a university of magic than a full city. But there is a council, an archmage heading things up, and all the little touches one would expect from a magical city. Someday I hope to read the Hadrumal crises, a second series set in the same land, and learn what happens when a rogue magician breaks the laws set out by the seat of Hadrumal and starts using the magic for war. I am guessing…things get nasty.
Diagon Alley – Harry Potter– Ok, so maybe this is cheating because it is only a small part of the city. But honestly, who didn’t feel the magic when they first read this? I was in college for god’s sake; I can’t even blame it on youth. But a street where all the wizards of the land can get together, buy and sell items of their trade, and practice their craft right in the middle of a muggle city is to awesome. Also a place I really would love to visit. Home of a Goblin owned bank, shops of everything imaginable, and for some reason, candy that taste horrible. Why would anyone, even wizards, willingly buy candy that tastes horrible?
Os Alta– Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – Though it isn’t a city of wizards per say, it is the city where all the wizards (Grisha) of the land live, so count it. Here various Grisha spend their time learning their craft, following the Darkling, occasionally being taken advantage of by the Emperor, and bickering like a junior high lunch room clique.
Oz – Frank Baum – Follow the yellowbrick road, right? Can anyone find me an older example? I am sure it is out there, but I had to count it. It is the city one goes to if one wants to see a wizard as far as I am concerned.
It is tearing me up to remember a book or series have read where the land of wizards is in effect a wasteland from the way they tore the land up. (I know Prachett talk about this in Sourcery, but I am thinking of a book with an actual visited city). Maybe someone can help me remember this one?
Be sure to check out the other travelers and add your own traveling if you are joining us!
We got an easy on next week, join us as we meet a few Dark Lords
Dark Lord – There is always one of these in the background of every Tour, attempting to ruin everything and take over the world He will be so sinister that he will be seen by you only once or twice, probably near the end of the Tour…