Thursday, 1 January 2015

Tough Travels: Holidays


‘Tough Travelling’ is a weekly feature: every Thursday (hopefully!) I’ll be rummaging around in my memory to come up with various examples of commonly used fantasy tropes. Full credit goes to Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn for coming up with the idea: be sure to check out his blog!


 This week’s topic is HOLIDAYS.

Never too late to celebrate . . . holidays! Because fantasy festivals and feasts are always fun. Let’s start with . . .


Hogswatch

(Hogfather by Terry Pratchett)

An easy one to start with; it would have been difficult to leave this one off the list. As the TV adaptation of Pratchett’s book explains, Hogswatch is a holiday bearing a remarkable similarity to Christmas. Each year a jolly fat man known as the Hogfather travels the Disc and delivers presents to children everywhere. However, in Hogfather, Hogswatch is jeopardised when the Hogfather mysteriously disappears, and someone must volunteer to take his place . . . or else the sun might never come up again. I really enjoy the story of Hogfather, and find Death’s little quest completely adorable and heartwarming.




The Winterbirth Festival

(Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley)

It’s been a really long time since I read this book, but from what I remember the eponymous festival occurs every year and celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of spring. In the book, the celebrations of Winterbirth also offer a great backdrop for a bloody plot against the reigning monarch in his own castle. How festive!




The Hand’s Tourney

(A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin)

Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series is full of holidays: feasts and celebrations, weddings and name-days, dances and executions and never-ending descriptions of FOOD. The one holiday I always remember is the Hand’s Tourney in the first book, which the king orders on behalf of Ned Stark. Ned hates the whole celebration – he knows the kingdom can ill afford such extravagance – and is even more appalled that it’s been named after him. Knights, jousting, horse decapitation – the Hand’s Tourney has it all!



The Gedderone Fete

(Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson)

The list wouldn’t be complete without a Malazan entry! The spectacular climax of the first book in the series, Gardens of the Moon, occurs in Darujhistan during a city-wide seasonal holiday known as the Gedderone Fete. One aspect of the Fete involves wearing elaborate masks, which is a fun way for several important characters to appear in varying degrees of disguise. The Fete starts off fairly tame – a duel, an assassination, an illicit affair – and then really picks up the pace, particularly when a demon and a dragon face off and an ancient tyrant monster attacks the city. Those Daru really know how to celebrate.

14 comments:

  1. Of course, Martin! I only thought about his weddings and decided to keep them off the list because they're decidedly un-festive, but you're right about the tournaments and the food! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, most of Martin's special occasions are definitely not very festive! I just couldn't resist resorting to ASoIaF, as I seem to do most weeks. :D

      Delete
  2. Hah, the Hand's Tourney - that's the only GoT book I've read so I should have remembered that!
    Well done. Really excellent list.
    Happy New Year to you.
    Lynn :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice job! I managed a few Terry Pratchett holidays, but that was it - I drew a complete blank this week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I wish I'd thought to include Soul Cake Day like you did. :D

      Delete
  4. Nice job! I thought about including something from GoT, but could only think of nasty weddings... the Hand's Tourney is much better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I almost went for Dany's 'opening of the arena' thing from ADWD, but couldn't remember anything about it other than that there was an arena. :D

      Delete
  5. Oh, I totally have to go add Winterbirth to my TBR now! Great list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lisa! Winterbirth isn't exactly a great book, but the set-up for that particular part of the story is pretty good. :)

      Delete
  6. Glad you are back to it. I read Winterbirth at one time, but didn't really enjoy it and certainly don't remember any holidays.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Nathan, it's good to be back. :)

      Yeah, I found Winterbirth to be a distinctly average read, though admittedly it's been many years since I read it. I might try for a re-read at some point - the festival is the only part I actually remember. :D

      Delete
  7. I haven't even read any Pratchett and I know about Hogswatch! Had a feeling I'll see that on a few lists this week. You did really awesome!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hogfather was the first to come to my mind too! I didn't even think of Game of Thrones, I so need a reread. I haven't read thee others, but I own thee first Malazam book, that counts for something, right? Happy Holidays! (A bit belatedly)

    ReplyDelete