‘Tough Travelling’ is a weekly feature. Every Thursday 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 BELOVED MOUNTS. Horses, dragons and hippogriffs . . . oh my!
(Discworld by Terry Pratchett)
He’s Death’s noble steed. He’s pure white. He can fly. He can travel through time and across dimensions. His name is Binky. ‘nuff said.
(The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien)
I figured most people would go for Shadowfax this week, so thought I’d mention the much more humble Bill the Pony. Sam and the other hobbits purchase Bill from a cruel owner, and it’s clear he’s been neglected since he’s skinny and weak. Bill accompanies the group as far as the Mines of Moria, when he flees from the Watcher in the Water. Sam sadly assumes he’s dead, though it’s later revealed that the clever little creature found his way home after all.
(The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson)
There are two horses named Havok in this series. Both are vicious and battle-trained, both stand in excess of 26 hands, and both are owned by the mighty barbarian giant Karsa Orlong.
(Eragon by Christopher Paolini)
She probably deserves to be regarded as a companion rather than a mount, but Eragon spends so much time flying around on his DTU (draconian transportation unit) that I figure she counts as a perfectly valid entry on this list. But I can’t remember much about the book, so that’s about as detailed as this entry is going to get. Oh, wait, I remember – she’s blue. Like a sapphire. Get it? Gotta love subtle nuances like that in modern fantasy.
(Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling)
Buckbeak is a hippogriff, which is kind of a cross between an eagle and a horse. Hagrid acquires him in the third Harry Potter book, and the hippogriff ends up playing a crucial part in the story’s finale. I can’t read the name ‘Buckbeak’ without hearing echoes of Robbie Coltrane’s reprimanding voice from the scene in the movie where he mauls Draco Malfoy’s arm (spoiler alert).
That’s it for this week! Join us again next week for the topic of ENFORCERS, and be sure to check out the Tough Travelling tab above for links to my previous posts and fellow travellers!