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 topic is MINIONS
MINIONS OF THE DARK LORD are all over the place. The DARK LORD has been busy planting them for years.
I could have gone several ways with this one, and for a bit thought about looking into all the orcs and various faceless minions that are thrown into the fray in every large battle. Wandering groups of Trollocs anyone? But in the end I decided to only include minions that rose above, the cream of the crop, the baddies that are actually scary and not just there to be killed in large numbers.
The Taken –Black Company by Glen Cook- I think these guys (and gals) show up on Tough Travels as much as Pratchett. But I can’t help myself, they are among my favorite creations in fantasy. Ten of the best, people who could be Dark Lords in their own right but instead were dominated into submission (not like that, out of the gutter people). The Limper, The Howler, Soulstealer; these are like the seven dwarfs if Snow White was called The Lady and took names while she kicked ass. (There is a nice little play on words there for people who have read the series, kind of proud of myself).
If the minions in this land are nearly immortal magical beings, what does that say about the Dark Lady ruling them? I put The Ten Who Were Taken first on this list because there is no contest, no one has better minions out there.
Steel Inquisitors – Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson – These dudes have steel spikes (or iron, or something, I don’t really remember) right through their eyes. And more all through their body. I don’t know why, but that just screams awesome minion. Their boss is literally Lord Ruler, and is so powerful that he gets them to follow him despite the stupid name. They went around tracing people using metal magic and when they caught them…made more inquisitors.
I really like the first Mistborn book, when these guys truly were a force to be scared of.
Deatheaters –Harry Potter – Again, when you have a group that is already more powerful than most of humanity in the wizards. Then they go evil and start following a truly evil man who hates most humanity, who isn’t a little afraid of seeing the dark mark in the sky? Wizards who don’t bother with the flimsy rules the rest of the wizards follow?
Does anyone else think we need an adult Harry Potter book that follows what happened in the war outside of Harry’s little world? No one else wants this?
Oh, and the best Death Eater? Bellatrix, with no doubt in my mind.
Skin Spies– Prince of Nothing by R. Scott Bakker – I don’t even know how to describe them. A living face graft that can take over a human completely? Gets off physically on pain. Ejects black semen. Scary enough on their own, but they have enough intelligence to watch their target from afar to gain their mannerisms before taking over completely, or reshaping another to the form they wish to ape.
This series is high on my ‘want to reread but GOD DAMN are those book long’ list. Partially because I can’t remember if the Skin Spies are actually minions of someone else or working of their own agency, thereby making me a cheater when it comes to this list. Eh, whatever.
Join us next week for NECROMANCY.
NECROMANCY is, in Fantasyland, the art of raising the dead and you need a specialized MAGIC USER to do it.
I will be on vacation so I wanted another week of easy pickings, if it raises or consults the dead I think it counts. As always thanks for joining, feel free to join along at anytime, and please check out my fellow travelers!