Friday, 3 April 2015

Tough Travels: Enforcers

‘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 ENFORCERS.

Some people are made to give orders; others are made to make sure they are carried out. Be it through muscle or guile there are just some people you don’t want to hear are looking for you.

The Claw

(The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson)

Trained killers serving the Empress Laseen, the claw are deadly assassins who travel in ‘hands’, or groups of five. Skilled in the use of crossbows, throwing stars and poisoned blades, they are perhaps the most feared and reviled group both inside and outside the Malazan Empire; their name is often spoken in whispers by people afraid of summoning them.

The Adjunct

(The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson)

The Adjunct is the will and the right arm of the Empress. Since the reign of the Empress Laseen the post of Adjunct has always been held by a woman, most notably Tavore Paran. The Adjunct carries an otataral sword, which is not only a symbol of office but also a deadly weapon with the power to completely negate magic.

The Inquisition

(The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie)

Corrupt and cruel, the Inquisition are an extension of the king’s will, though its members are not averse to serving their own ends as well. Possessed of the authority to drag citizens from their beds in the middle of the night, the Inquisitors and their Practicals are regarded with dread by the innocent and the guilty alike. Probably because those who are taken into the House of Questions never come out again . . . at least not in one piece.

The Spider Priests

(The Dagger and the Coin by Daniel Abraham)

Anyone who has anything to hide should be terrified of these unholy enforcers. Servants of the unwitting tyrant Geder Palliako, the spider priests are beholden to an ancient evil. They literally have spiders coursing through their blood, which gives them the ability to detect lies from truth, and the power to convince people to do their bidding. Palliako mainly deploys them to catch out and arrest anyone who is considering treason, as well as people who simply think disloyal thoughts about his rule. And that’s a LOT of people.

Death Eaters

(Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling)

The Death Eaters are pretty much Rowling’s equivalent of the KKK. Dressed in black robes and hoods, Death Eaters serve the will of the dark lord Voldemort. They persecute witches and wizards with ‘impure’ blood, and have no qualms about committing torture and murder. However, not all enforcers are baddies. In the Harry Potter universe, Aurors are the enforcers for the Ministry of Magic, and they hunt Death Eaters for a living!

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


  1. I was reading thorugh your post when I saw your comment come in :)
    I see you chose the adult version of Crabbe and Goyle! And KKK is such an apt comparison.

    And I would do anything to stay away from Abercrombie's Inquisition, that's for sure!

    1. Yes, I'm a bit late to the party this week . . . :)

      I never really thought about the parallels with the KKK until I saw the outfits they wore in the Goblet of Fire movie!

  2. I see the Inquisition on any post and I immediately start singing the song from Mel Brook's History of the World Part 1. Can't help my self.

    Inquisition would be a good topic some time...

    1. If Inquisition were an entire topic, my list would be very short - I can only think of Abercrombie and Rowling off the top of my head!

  3. I haven't read the Erikson books yet but I''ve just bought the first one and I'm really looking forward to giving it a try.
    Lynn :D

    1. I really, really hope you enjoy it! Remember, they get even better. :D

  4. Wow, I didn't even think of the Death Eaters as being enforcers! Probably because they're too creepy for words. I agree with Kaja, the KKK comparison is apt. The final films also portrayed the Ministry of Magic (under DE control) as a parallel to Nazi Germany...there's some surprisingly dark stuff in that series.

    1. It definitely makes it all the more interesting to re-read them as an adult! :)

  5. I was definitely thinking along the same lines as you when I saw the theme Enforcers! A lot of people thought of individual characters, but for some reason I zoomed in on Enforcers as a group...I didn't have room to include Harry Potter this week, but one of my first ideas was the Death Eaters too! :)

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    1. There's always room for Harry Potter on my lists. :D Yeah, it didn't even occur to me to list individual enforcers - glad I wasn't the only one!