‘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 BARDS.
BARDS often join questing parties and provide entertainment around the campfire. Sometimes their music even holds a little bit of magic. Or a clue to an ancient mystery. Or . . .
I'm running a bit behind this week and could only think of three entries for the list . . .
(The Riftwar Saga by Raymond E. Feist)
The wonderful Laurie of Tyr-Sog is a loyal and stalwart companion to both Pug and Arutha throughout the Riftwar Saga. He’s always reluctant to part with his beloved lute, and can often be found performing for both friends and strangers, even after he’s made a Duke of the Kingdom. When Laurie is stranded on an alien planet amongst a race unfamiliar with his preferred instrument, he oversees the making of one, and feels incomplete throughout the months it is being made.
(The Demon Cycle by Peter V. Brett)
Rojer is a uniquely talented musician whose abilities have saved his life on many occasions. Not only were his fiddling skills his sole means of income at one time, but he later discovers that his music can actually repel the demons that terrorise the land at night. At first he uses this in a solely defensive way, but later he learns how to use his music to manipulate and hurt the demons, and teaches others to do so too. His music becomes both a weapon and a shield, as well as an inspiration to the besieged villagers of Cutter’s Hollow.
(The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss)
And now we come to one of my all-time favourite fantasy protagonists. Kvothe the Bloodless spent his entire childhood amongst travelling performers, is adept at playing the lute,has “written songs that make the minstrels weep”, and performs regularly at a high-class inn called The Eolian. Rothfuss’ descriptions of Kvothe’s music are beautiful and often genuinely moving, serving as a reminder of the character’s sensitivity in spite of his otherwise self-assured and over-confident demeanour.
That’s it for this week! Join us again next week for the topic of BELOVED MOUNTS, and be sure to check out the Tough Travelling tab above for links to my previous posts and fellow travellers!