‘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 THE ACE.
Some people are just ridiculously good at everything. Be it magic, swordplay, or all of the above. THE ACE has no equal.
(The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss)
I imagine Kvothe will be on almost everyone’s list this week! Whether it’s magic, Naming, artificing, lute playing, yoga, sexing, being whipped, or pranking enemies, Kvothe the Bloodless would have us all believe that he is the best at everything and perfect in every way. Whether he is really an ace or just an incredibly biased and egotistical first-person narrator remains to be seen, but you have to admit he is pretty cool.
(Gentlemen Bastards series by Scott Lynch)
Not only is Jean Tannen an awesome bodyguard and occasional counsellor to his buddy Locke Lamora, but he’s also mega smart and is responsible for all the Gentlemen Bastards’ accounting. His deadly skill with axes, his badass-yet-nicest-guy-in-the-world persona, his mathematical skill, and his apparent, erm, proficiency in the hammock more than justify his place on a list of aces. (And as Lynn likes to say – never miss an opportunity to get Jean on your list!)
Durzo Blint & Kylar Stern
(The Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks)
I couldn’t decide which of the above characters deserved to make it onto this list the most, so to make it easy I’ve included both. Durzo and Kylar are both assassins, or ‘wetboys’ as the most skilled ones are referred to in this series. Durzo is the most famous and skilled wetboy in the city, and Kylar follows in his footsteps as his apprentice. They are both insanely skilled with weapons and poisons and are highly regarded as the cream of the underworld, yet they are also skilled at mingling amongst the nobility. Also, they have magic, and are basically immortal. Or something.
The Red Knight
(The Red Knight by Miles Cameron)
The captain of an elite mercenary company, the Red Knight is much more than he first appears. He has the rare ability to use both Wild and Sun magic (most people can only use one or the other, or neither), is highly skilled in the use of various weapons, is an excellent horseman and an inspiring leader. He delivers killing blows to uncountable behemoths of the Wild, and is a pro at planning and conducting battles. Not to mention that he’s a mean hand with both a lute and a harp.
(The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson)
I mentioned Quick Ben a few weeks back when we talked about Chess Masters, but he’s just so diabolically awesome in every way that I had to include him here too. Quick is a devastatingly powerful mage with possibly the most cunning mind of any character in the entire series. His plans within plans are often so convoluted that he is the only person who understands them. He has the magical ability of twelve mages put together, and even managed to outwit the master manipulator Shadowthrone, which takes some doing.
(The Broken Empire trilogy by Mark Lawrence)
This is another one I also listed as a chess master, but couldn’t not mention this week too. Because there is nothing that Jorg Ancrath can’t do. At the age of ten he is quoting philosophy at his tutors and holding his own amongst a band of mercenaries. At the age of fourteen he is the undisputed leader of said mercenaries, as well as a king of the highlands. And by the age of eighteen he is leading an enormous force on a quest to save the world. He has no equal when it comes to the arts of weapons, technology, philosophy or politics, and is not afraid of playing dirty to get ahead in life.
That’s it for this week! Join us again next week for the topic of THE BIG CITY and be sure to check out the Tough Travelling tab above for links to my previous posts and fellow travellers!