Thursday, 16 April 2015

Tough Travels: Awesome Displays of Magic

‘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 AWESOME DISPLAYS OF MAGIC.

Sometimes magic can be subtle. Who wants that? Big explosions or acts of creation, death and destruction or acts of awe-inspiring wonder. If your world has magic then why not show it off?



Pug Destroys the Arena

(Magician by Raymond E. Feist)

Pug is a magician, captured by invading enemy forces from another planet and forced to work as a slave for years before being taken away for magical training and having all his memories stripped from him. As he becomes integrated into his new society, his memories begin to reassert themselves, and so does his sense of right and wrong. He is forced to control his feelings and adapt to a society built on slavery, but seeing his former countrymen being slaughtered like animals for the entertainment of the masses is the final straw. At the Great Games, Pug demonstrates the true power of a ‘Great One’ by unleashing terrifying elemental forces that tear the arena to the ground, while at the same time delivering a thundering speech judging society for its collective crimes. The scene is even more terrifying when we see it again in the Empire trilogy, this time through the eyes of those desperately fleeing the devastation.



Kruppe Defies Brood

(Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson)

Kruppe is a small, fat, cherubic thief who cheats at cards, refers to himself in the third person and generally irritates everyone with whom he comes into contact. Caladan Brood is a 300,000-year-old barbarian warlord, with god-like strength and magic; he also carries the fabled hammer of the goddess Burn, which has the power to shatter mountains and re-awaken the Sleeping Goddess herself.  When Kruppe insinuates himself into a military parley with Brood, the short-tempered warlord finds Kruppe’s presence too frustrating to bear and strikes his hammer against the ground at his feet. The earth splits, the ground shakes and mountains crumble . . . and Kruppe stands amidst the destruction, untouched and smiling innocently. This is not the first clue that tells us Kruppe is much more than he appears.



Pug Travels Through Time

(A Darkness at Sethanon by Raymond E. Feist)

This mainly makes it onto the list because I was racking my brain for different types of magic other than just DESTRUCTION. In the third Riftwar Saga book, the magician Pug and his warrior friend Tomas find themselves trapped in time and space. In order to escape the trap they must send themselves back in time to the very birth of creation, and then move forward through time again to reach the point in which they left it. Bit confusing, and I honestly don’t remember all that much about it, but I remember it being very poetically described and pretty awe-inspiring. It also put me in mind of the scene from Magician where Pug stands on top of the tower in the City of Magicians and has the entire history of the planet unveiled to him I-MAX style, which is also a beautifully described example of awesome magic.


The Baby Discworld Turtles are Born

(The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett)

The first two Discworld novels, The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, focus on the wizard Rincewind and his increasingly desperate quest to save the world. A deadly red star has appeared in the sky and is getting closer every day; while the ambitious wizard Trymon threatens to unleash deadly creatures from the Dungeon Dimensions in the name of personal ambition. Believing that the approaching star heralds the end of all things, the population of Ankh-Morpork riot against magic, and it’s all Rincewind can do to get to the Tower of Art before Trymon can read from the Octavo. After defeating Trymon, Rincewind reads the spell that will save the world. Much to his astonishment, the gigantic moons that encircle the red star crack open one by one, each hatching their own miniature version of the Discworld, all of which then follow Great A’Tuin away from the red star and off into the uncertain depths of space. It’s spectacular.


I also decided that I have to give a cursory mention to the Gedderone Fete in Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon. It’s the first true example of awesomeness in a series saturated with epic displays of magic, and I almost included it on my list instead of Kruppe. In the city of Darujhistan, shapeshifting dragons, fearsome demons, ancient tyrants and modern munitions conspire to turn the lady’s Fete into smoke and rubble, and it’s AWESOME.



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


16 comments:

  1. Nice - I like the emphasis on Feist and Erikson. I wanted to include Riftwar in my post, given that it was heavy on the classics, but it's been so long that I couldn't remember enough detail to do Pug justice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I re-read all three books in the Riftwar Saga during the last few months, which is the only reason I could remember any of it! And of course including Malazan on the list is something I can't seem to help doing. :D

      Delete
  2. I haven't read my Erikson yet but Pug was actually the first person that came to mind for me this week. I love that you included a bit more detail which I just couldn't recall.
    Kudos.
    Lynn :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Pug is awesome. His destruction of the assembly is maybe the first and best example of his badassery. :D

      Delete
  3. I'm hanging my head in shame at completely forgetting one of my favorite magicians: Pug! I'm glad you didn't and included him on yours list. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I started my Riftwar re-read earlier this year, which is probably the only reason I didn't forget him too. :D

      Delete
  4. Welp. Updating my to-read list... I haven't heard of most of these!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I clearly need to read more Malazan. That Kruppe battle reminds me of Saint of Killers in Preacher. They nuke him from orbit and he just walks right through it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh, I'm pretty sure that when the dust settles he's doing something really inappropriate, like eating a pie or something. Kruppe is awesome. :D

      Delete
  6. I tried to rack my brain for displays were power that were benevolent and NOT blood thirsty horrific acts of violence and destruction too. In the end, I just gave up, lol. Surprisingly rare, I guess authors just like to see stuff go boom, and so do readers ;-)

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's nothing whatsoever wrong with stuff going boom! Obviously, since the list you guys put together this week puts the rest of us to shame. :D

      Delete
  7. Kruppe sounds amazing... I should read more Erikson, and more Feist!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm a bit late making the rounds this week...
    Pug is an unfortunate name, isn't it? :)
    Kruppe sounds cool - do you find out what his deal is in the story?
    I think next week will be interesting - I usually dislike these kinds of characters!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Brood, Rake and Whiskeyjack squaring off over Silverfox is one of the most intense Mexican Standoffs in fantasy fiction. Period. That scene rocked my boat for weeks after I'd read it. And then in came Kruppe, totally shattering the intense tension of the moment. I love him, lol.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, it's definitely awesome, particularly as he spends so long building up to it. Kruppe and his shadowy counterpart, Iskaral Pust, are two of my favourite characters in the series. I find it amazing how Erikson can balance the goose-bumpingly epic with the ROFL comedy. :D

      Delete