Thursday, 12 February 2015

Tough Travels: To Blathe (True Love)

‘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 TRUE LOVE.

"Sonny, true love is the greatest thing in the world. Except for a nice MLT, a mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe."

There were LOADS of examples I considered for this week's topic: Locke and Sabetha, Ron and Hermione, Faramir and Eowyn, Tristran and Yvaine . . . and, of course, Wesley and Buttercup. But I don't have twelve hours to sit and gush about them all, so here follows three examples of true love that have clearly stuck in my memory more than others . . .

Mara and Kevin

(Servant of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts)

The phrase “worlds apart” can be applied quite literally to these two. Midkemia and Kelewan are two planets fiercely at war with each other, and Mara and Kevin are from opposite sides of the Rift. When Kevin finds himself a captured slave on Kelewan, he despises Mara and everything she stands for. But Mara admires his courage and honesty, and spends hours – and later, days and weeks – in his company, learning his “alien” ways. The two fall in love, and Mara’s new insight into her own culture helps form her into a stronger and better leader. Of course, in Kelewan, a slave is not deemed to be an appropriate companion for a noblewoman, and their relationship can at best be described as turbulent. Does it end happily? I’m not telling you . . .

Togg and Fanderay

(Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson)

This is a bit of an unconventional entry, seeing as Togg and Fanderay are not actually human. In fact, they are wolves – wolf gods, in fact – who were torn apart by an apocalyptic event and then spent literally thousands of years seeking one another again. And they say animals don’t have feelings?

Arwen and Aragorn

(The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien)

He’s a mortal human ranger, she’s an immortal elven princess: Arwen and Aragorn’s love story is a classic example of this fantasy trope, complete with a “you’re not good enough for my daughter” subplot. Arwen has two choices: leave Aragorn and go to live forever amongst her fellow elves, or remain in Middle Earth with her lover and eventually die. She chooses the latter, even though she knows their love will only last for his mortal lifespan, and even though she will be left to live alone for centuries after Aragorn has passed away. Aragorn even tries to persuade her not to stay, because he loves her too much to see her make such a sacrifice. Now THAT’S dedication.

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


  1. Wow, some really unique picks that I haven't seen yet today, especially Togg and Fanderay.

  2. I almost put Mara and Kevin on this list, but ultimately, the way they parted (though it was clearly explained and was perfectly understandable in the context of the story) diminished any true love they shared. Definitely, get why you included them, however. :)

  3. Aw, Arwen and Aragorn - such an excellent choice. I went for an alternative choice with Gollum and the Ring!
    Lynn :D

  4. Servant of the Empire sounds AMAZING the way you described it...I have a huge weakness for tales of forbidden love/enemy lovers. I might have to check that one out :)

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

  5. Wurts hangs around reddit a bit and she always has awesome things to say, especially about the history of our preferred genre. Sadly I have not yet read her. Looks good.

  6. I've not read any of these, by Daughter of the Empire is on my TBR, as is the rest of Malazan (I've only read the first one so far)

  7. The book from The Empire Trilogy looks really interesting and good! Adding that series to the TBR. Arwen and Aragorn are a lovely,classic pair!

  8. Yeah, Arwen and Aragorn are one of the good examples :) Though he's like 80 by the time they get together isn't he? :)

  9. Arwen and Aragorn, classic choice. And good point on the over-protective father plot line! It does seem to be weirdly prevalent in fantasy novels...I wonder why that is. Maybe there's just an abundance of bad boys in fantasy (although Aragorn is the most goody two shoes bad boy ever).

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