Thursday, 12 March 2015

Tough Travels: Fae

‘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 FAE.

Surprisingly not in the Tough Guide.  How can this be?  Fairies are a constant in the fantasy world and it is time they get their own week.  Give us your Fae, be they sweet or nasty.

This week was HARD. I struggled to think of ANY examples at first, and then when I did I was hit with the realisation that, as a general rule, I’m really not a fan of fairies in fantasy. And so, my short and shamefully cynical list of fae follows . . .



Unnecessary Fairies

(Suldrun’s Garden by Jack Vance)

The fairies in Vance’s Lyonesse are mostly random and irrelevant to the main story, featuring in useless sub-plots and functioning mainly as filler. Vance’s fae are often twee and Tolkien-esque, but can also be as gleefully dark as a Grimm fairy tale, occasionally featuring in storylines involving rapist ogres (as you do).




Infuriating Fairies

(The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien)

Tom Bombadil. Tom f*cking Bombadil. I don’t even know if he’s a fae, but he’s frequently described as “merry” and he sings lots of annoying little songs, so he might be. His wife is called Goldberry and he apparently found her in a river or something, which means she’s probably a fae too. Meh, neither of them should ever have been included in this otherwise awesome book.


Sexy Fairies

(The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss)

In the second Kingkiller novel, Kvothe crosses the boundary into the fae world and finds himself in the clutches of the legendary Felurian, becoming the first man to ever spend the night with her and live to tell the tale. I don’t recall the details, only that Rothfuss drags out their encounter for around two hundred pages, and that the pair spend a lot of time bathing naked in a pool, which involves repeated descriptions of Felurian’s breasts bobbing around like not-so-mystical buoys.



Amusing Fairies

(Hogfather by Terry Pratchett)

The Hogfather is one of the most well-known mythical figures on the Discworld. When people stop believing in him, the enormous amount of stray belief now loose in the world causes previously non-existent creatures to spring into being, including the Verruca Gnome and the Hair Loss Fairy. The Tooth Fairy also features in this story, but she isn’t quite what you’d expect . . . Pratchett’s fairies are the only ones on this list I actually like. R.I.P Terry :(.


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


12 comments:

  1. LOL for your description of Felurian. I really have to re-read this before the third book (I have enough time, right? o_O), but I remember Kvothe getting out of Faerie by tricking her, right? Saying he wants to sing about her legendary beauty or something? So vain...
    And Tom Bombadil's part of LOTR is really weird. Like Tolkien-ate-some-bad-mushrooms weird - the rest of the book is so clear and coherent and this section is just VAGUE.

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    1. Heh, I think it'll be a couple of years yet before we finally get Kingkiller #3, so I'd say you have plenty of time! I'll definitely be re-reading the first two when the third one comes out, if only to re-visit dearest Elodin.

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  2. Nice entry with Felurian - I saw this on another list today and you know I confess I'd completely forgotten about that element of the story. That is so bad.
    I also had Terry Pratchett for his Wee Free Men. Very sad the news today :(
    Lynn :D

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    1. I don't blame you for forgetting Felurian's part in WMF. I yawned my way through much of it, and felt that WMF was a much weaker book because of it. Such a shame, as TNotW is one of the best books I've ever read.

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  3. Oh my god, THANK YOU. Someone else with the burning hatred for Tom Bombadil. I keep telling everyone how annoying I think he is, and they all think I'm nuts. I played the MMORPG Lord of the Rings Online as well, and stupid Tom Bombadil is in it. You go into the area with his home and he's just prancing around to merry music like an asshole and I just always want to throttle him :P

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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    1. We should start a club! DOWN WITH BOMBADIL! :D

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  4. I hated Tom Bombadil too, and it never occurred to me that he might be a fairy until now. And I should have included Wee Free Men in mine :(

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    1. I think I'm the only person taking part this week who hasn't read Wee Free Men! :(

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  5. I didn't do my own list this week but Wee Free Men would have been on it for me from Pratchett's land (may he RIP).

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    1. Maybe we should make it our quest to honour him by including him on all our TT posts in the future . . .

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  6. Bahahahahah "fucking Tom Bombadil". But yes. Definitely. I could not be more agreed lol. Weirdest freaking tangent ever!

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  7. I'm relentlessly procrastinating reading anything by Terry Pratchett. He has written so much and I'm totally confused where to start. And people all giving me different advices which I should read...

    That's the whole interesting thing about Tom Bombadil: He is totally useless for the plot (and everybody understands, why the movies left him away) and the clear proof, that Tolkien was a inguist and no professional writer. He just wrote, what he liked to write and all the people found his fun writing awesome, so it became famous. I like it too ;-)

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