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.
This week’s topic is … ELVES
ELVES claims to have been the first people in Fantasyland. They are called the Elder Race. They did not evolve like humans, but sprang into being just as they are now.
Damn, that was easy. I could have done another four or five without breaking a sweat. Sometimes it is nice to get one like this.
The Lords and Ladies -Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett- Let’s get the requisite Discworld reference in early. And let Sir Terry say it himself.
Elves are wonderful. They provoke wonder.
Elves are marvellous. They cause marvels.
Elves are fantastic. They create fantasies.
Elves are glamorous. They project glamour.
Elves are enchanting. They weave enchantment.
Elves are terrific. They beget terror.
The thing about words is that meanings can twist just like a snake, and if you want to find snakes look for them behind words that have changed their meaning.
No one ever said elves are nice.
Makri- Thraxas by Martin Scott- Half Orc, half Elf. Wears a chain mail bikini, but never where she actual fights because that would be completely impractical (it sadly helps gather in extra tips and school is expensive). Barmaid at a barbarian themed bar by day, leather armor wearing bad-ass by trade. Her mixed heritage makes her an outsider all around but it is the proud elves that truly look down on her.
She is also very active in the guild for women’s advancement in the city of Turai and a loyal friend to Thraxas (and one of the main reasons he manages to get anything done). Quite an interesting character considering she is introduced in a book that is only 150 pages long, isn’t the protagonist, and still has to leave time for her schooling.
Cetagandians – Cetaganda by Lois McMaster Bujold – Stretching things? Not by much. The Cetagandians are human but doing their damnest not to be. Obsession with physical perfection and longevity along with a breeding program designed to continue that perfection are their trademarks. Their women cause the quick witted Miles to stumble over his toungue the first couple of times he sees one, and every last one of them project a type of power that screams ‘ELF, ELF, THERE IS A DAMN ELF HERE!’
Various– Iron Night by M.L. Brennen – All right smart ass, there is no character called Various. I wrote various because it was Elves as a group that were in this book (though there was one half-elf love interest for protagonist Fortitude in there but I am not focusing on her, Ok?)
Brennen has a urban fantasy series going that takes old familiar tropes and makes them unique enough to stand out. Her elves are no different. They are powerful, mystical, and nasty like many other elves (the more I think about this elves and fairies often cross tropes, kinda interesting now that I think about it). They are not, however, the top of the pecking order. They bow to the vampires like anyone else does, and if they don’t then we can watch them explain themselves to Prudence.
Have I mentioned how much I love Prudence? Read Brennen if you have not and ignore the horrible covers.
The Green –The Green and the Gray by Timothy Zahn – I am going barebones on the info for this one because I have not read this book since it came out in…2004, at least according to Goodreads. But I know that the Green were very definatly Elves while the The Gray were Dwarfs; and they had been at each other’s throats for a LONG time.
Eldar – Warhammer 40k – Space Elves. Literally, they do all the things elves do in Warhammer but in space. Look back up at the description of Elves from the Tough Guide; elder is right there in it. Not a coincidence. And if video games are more your thing then just call them Protoss. Same thing, different name.
Join us next week as we look at MONSTERS
MONSTERS are likely to lie in waste areas, caves, and old ruined cities. You can usually detect their presence by smell.
That could change things up, let’s see what people come up with.
As always thanks for joining, feel free to join along at any time, and please check out my fellow travelers!