‘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 LAW ENFORCEMENT.
Seems odd to think that in fantasy cities in which entire economies revolve around crime there is room for the men in blue (or crimson, or whatever). But the law does the best it can, even when faced with magic, mystical creatures, or rogue deities.
For instance, there's . . .
(Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone)
In the city of Alt Coulomb, justice is not simply an abstract concept: it’s a goddess. Her minions are known as Blacksuits, probably because of the impervious black glass-like substance that covers their bodies – but only when they’re working. When they’re not telepathically ‘plugged in’ to Justice, the Blacksuits are just regular citizens . . . but when they are working, they surrender all emotions and personal ties in order to become the pure will of Justice. Scary, eh?
The Ministry of Magic
(Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling)
In the Harry Potter universe, if you break the wizarding law, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement are instantaneously aware of it. Any magical misdemeanours are answered within minutes by a talking letter delivered by an owl, politely and cheerfully announcing your pending punishment. The most serious cases are brought to trial before the Wizengamot, with the verdict ultimately being decided by vote. This is efficient . . . but not always entirely fair.
The Forkrul Assail
(The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson)
This ancient race of long-limbed, multi-jointed humanoid beings sees themselves as the adjudicators of all existence. They are committed to achieving a state of absolute moral perfection and eradicating all injustice . . . by means of eliminating every living creature they encounter. They destroyed entire civilisations in the ‘Just Wars’, and are thought to have been extinct for centuries. If only . . .
That's it for this week! Join us again next week for the topic of EVIL LAIRS, and be sure to check out the Tough Travelling tab above for links to my previous posts and fellow travellers!