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 NOVICES
Novice is a term in frequent use. There are not only Novice Priests and Priestesses and nuns: you will also encounter novice healers and bards, and sometimes also novice mages…Novices are always young, frequently skinny and undernourished, and clad in robes.
Honestly, we should fire the guy coming up with these lists. This topic was tough.
Malacus Quai– The First Law by Joe Abercrombie – This guy hits all of Jones’ requirements. When Logan Ninefingers first meets him he is a skinny malnourished kid, when he finally gets him back to his master the poor guy is damn near dead.
And what a master Quai has; Bayaz is no ordinary mage taking on an apprentice, he is a damn near immortal that controls half the known world. The stress of working for him would be just a little over bearing, wouldn’t you think?
Kaden –The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley- Ah the old ‘hide the heir to the throne with monks who beat him half to death’ for his own good trope (I kinda paraphrased this line from a Goodreads friend named Dee). Kaden is put with the monks as their novice and taught all kinds of things without realizing he is being taught. He gets starved, left in the cold, hit on the head, buried in sand, thrown down a mountain (I think, details are hazy but I know it was lots of torture). I still think the Karate Kid reference here is apt but instead of ‘wax on, wax off’ it is ‘run up this steep mountain with lots of jagged rocks blindfolded.’
Of course by the end of the book it turns out all these tortures just happened to have toughened Kaden up into super awesome mystic monk fighter man, so it was all good. Did I really give this book three stars?
Lobsang– Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett – Confession: I had to go thumb through my copy to even remember his name. I don’t remember anything bout this book except the chocolate war that Susan started. But I knew it dealt with the monks of time and that there was an apprentice. With my requirement of having Pratchett on the list every week I had to include it.
One of the few Pratchett books I have only read once and it was LONG ago; this is coming up in my big reread and I look forward to seeing one of his books through mostly fresh eyes.
Otah –The Long Price Quartet – I find it amazing that as popular as Abraham has been lately this is the first time his first series has made the list (if I am wrong about this I am happy to be corrected). It is one of my favorite series around, and in my mind has so far been better that the Dagger and the Coin (a series I have enjoyed very much).
Otah’s path starts a bit like Kaden’s up ahead, a little bit of training by harsh measures. But unlike Kaden Otah’s training seems to serve a purpose almost immediately. When we first meet him we have no idea what the poets are or what they do but they are obviously important. And while is training is tough and often involves physical correction it isn’t pure torture.
Join us next week as we look at NAMED WEAPONS
Surprise! This is not from the Tough Guide but fits the spirit of it well. So let us say for this topic the weapon either needs to be A. Named, B. Famous, or C. Sentient. Thanks to Mogsy for the idea!
As always thanks for joining, feel free to join along at any time, and please check out my fellow travelers!