Thursday, 19 February 2015

Tough Travels: Knights

‘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 the topic is KNIGHTS.

We're Knights of the Round Table,
We dance whene’er we're able,
We do routines and chorus scenes
With footwork impeccable.
We dine well here in Camelot,
We eat ham and jam and spam a lot.

We're Knights of the Round Table,
Our shows are formidable, 
But many times, we're given rhymes
That are quite unsingable.
We're Opera mad in Camelot,
We sing from the diaphragm a looooooot.

In war we're tough and able,
Quite indefatigable,
Between our quests we don sequin vests,
And impersonate Clark Gable.
It's a busy life in Camelot,
I have to push the pram a lot.

Ahem. Now we’ve got that out of the way, here’s my (somewhat thin) list of the best Knights I’ve encountered in fantasy.

Falcio val Mond

(Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien de Castell)

So Falcio isn’t noble-born, and the Greatcoats aren’t technically Knights, but they’re far more benevolent and admirable than the actual Knights in Tristia. In de Castell’s world, the official Ducal Knights serve the whims of their ruling lords and are prone to acts of greed and violence, whereas the Greatcoats behave in a much more chivalrous manner: serving only the king, they travel the length of the country, dispensing justice and protecting the innocent from those who would take advantage of their weakness.

Anomander Rake

(The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson)

The immortal Knight of High House Dark, Anomander Rake is seven feet tall with midnight-black skin, long silver hair, and mysterious multi-hued eyes. He is thousands of years old, has earth-shattering sorcery at his fingertips, and carries the fearsome sword known as Dragnipur. Oh, and he can shapeshift into a DRAGON. Rake is the driving force behind many pivotal events in the series, and always does what he thinks is best for the protection of his people and the furtherance of the greater good.

Cohen the Barbarian

(The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett)

I know, I know, Cohen isn’t really a Knight. He’s a barbarian, and is actually described in the Pratchett novels as a Hero rather than a Knight. But he rescues an innocent woman from ritual sacrifice, and plays a crucial part in helping Rincewind and Twoflower to defeat the evil that is Trymon. He’s not exactly a knight in shining armour . . . but he does have sparkly diamond dentures ('dine-chewers?'), which are almost as good.

Half the population of Westeros

(A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin)

You can’t swing a cat in Westeros without hitting one ‘Ser’ or another. For starters you have the Kingsguard, a small brotherhood of men sworn to defend the reigning monarch. Notable members of the Kingsguard are Ser Jaime Lannister (the ‘Kingslayer’ – though he prefers not to use that moniker on his CV) and Ser Barristan Selmy (who immediately defects to join the rebel Queen after being offered comfortable retirement by the King he serves). There’s also the former smuggler Ser Davos Seaworth, former mercenary Ser Bronn, and of course Ser Lancel Lannister, who earned his Knighthood through a combination of having sex with his cousin and as a reward for assisting in the death of King Robert. And last but not least, let’s not forget the mass-murdering lunatic Ser Gregor Clegane and exiled slaver-turned-traitor Ser Jorah Mormont.

That’s it for this week! Join us again next week for the topic of CHESSMASTERS, and be sure to check out the Tough Travelling tab above for links to my previous posts and fellow travellers!

P.S. NI! Ni! Ni!


  1. NI!
    Yeah, I think we share a problem - my mind also automatically starts spouting Monty Python dialogue when I hear the word "knight". They're brilliant. :)
    Ugh, yes, and Westeros is definitely a breeding pit for knights, though half of them don't deserve the title!

    1. Ni! I've had the 'Round Table' song stuck in my head for days now. We definitely have a problem! :D

  2. Ah, we both included some Westeros snark this week. good stuff.

    I tried to come up with a Discworld example, didn't go good for me this week.

    1. It's difficult not to be snarky when talking about ASoIaF, I find . . .

      Yeah, Cohen was a bit of a cheat on my part . . . but I love him to bits, so he made the list!

  3. I've only read one of these so whilst I desperately wanted to include the others I couldnt!
    Love the inclusion of Monty - just waiting to see if anybody put the Black Knight now.
    Lynn :D

    1. I've seen the Black Knight knocking around on a couple of lists - can't believe I forgot to mention him! :D

  4. Love the "Half the population of Westeros" line, because it is so true! Everyone and their brother is a damn knight.

    1. True! And, like Kaja said, half of them don't even deserve the title!

  5. Heh... now I'm busy singing about the Knights who say "ni."

    1. Ha! Yeah, I found myself muttering it a lot yesterday. :D

  6. Ooh, the Greatcoats, they are definitely their own brand of knights. The other day, I just had to dig up my copy of Traitor's Blade, I got the urge to read the intro again - it never fails to make me laugh. Such a great novel!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    1. Glad you agree! Not long now til the second book. :D

  7. Yours is the second blog to mention this dragon-shifter knight. Looks like I need to check that book out!

    1. Yes, definitely! It's 300 pages of 'WTF?', followed by another 9 and a half books of awesomeness. :D

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