Tough Travelling: “Socks are Dobby’s favorite, favorite clothes, sir!”


Once again it’s time to go Tough Travelling.  So, don your jaunty cap and let’s go and see whether Lembas Bread is all it’s made out to be because this month we’re looking at Elves.  The Fantasy Hive are now hosting Tough Travel so don’t forget to head on over there and link up.

Okay, I considered just having a Tolkien fest, let’s face it there’s no shortage of material to go on with Lord of the Rings or The Hobbit for that matter.  But then I thought I’d include a few others so:

Galadriel: because I thought we’d start with a bit of royalty. Tolkien himself describes Galadriel as the mightiest and fairest of all elven women.  She appeared in not only LotR but also Silmarillion and the Unfinished tales.  Plus, who could forget this:

‘Instead of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen, not dark but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Tempestuous as the sea, and stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me and despair!’


Another from LotR and perhaps not everyone’s favourite but I like Haldir.  Played by Craig Parker in Peter Jackson’s adaptation.  He led an army to Helm’s Deep – plus this:

“The dwarf breathes so loud, we could have shot him in the dark.”

I don’t think Haldir actually says that in the book (maybe Legolas??), but, I don’t have my book to check it out and it made me laugh in the film:


Now, to be honest, I’ve probably used both of the above before and also a couple of others that immediately sprang to mind (such as Dobby or Link (Zelda)) so I’ve decided to go for something completely new (for me anyway):

Detective Denelle (Denny) – from Jack Bloodfist by James Jakins.  This was the book I chose as my finalist in the SPFBO competition.  Denny is a Drow, which is basically an elf.  I’m not going to say anything further other than to say you should go and give this a read and find out some more about her:


Come join in – next month : Shapeshifters.




“When you can walk the rice paper without tearing it, then your steps will not be heard.”

Posted On 1 November 2017

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It’s time once again to go Tough Travelling with Fantasy Faction,  On the first day of each month, with a pre arranged theme in mind, we will all come up with out own individual selection of books that take us travelling through the tropes of fantasy.  This month’s theme:


A Mentor will be at your service until around halfway through the tour of Fantasyland, when you will unaccountably lose him. Before that he will guide you, tell you what to do in the face of strange customs, and even sometimes instruct you in how to perform minor MAGICS. The Tough Guide suggests that the mentor will be several hundred years old, probably with a long white beard, which will give him the right to be bossy, smug, tiresomely philosophical and infuriatingly secretive about all-important facts.



Well, firstly, because I’ve just read this book I’m going to of with Ferius from Sebastien de Castell’s Spellslinger series.  Ferius reminds me of Caine from the old Kung Fu series.  She’s travelling on an unknown path, in a world with a western vibe and she has this sort of Karma attitude all about giving people a chance before turning to violence.  Ferius is one of the Argosi people, their travels lead them to witness events that they believe could be world changing and they paint cards, a little like tarot cards, to reflect these events.  Ferius is such an easy to like character – funny, sassy, full of one liners, doesn’t know when to give up.  Yeah, I really like her.


An unusual choice next.  I’m going with Toby Daye from Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series.  I love this series and in fact need to press on with the next book.  Toby doesn’t have a long beard and maybe she doesn’t completely fit the description above but I like that she’s become a mentor to a couple of characters in this series.  I won’t elaborate because it will contain spoilers for those who haven’t read the series yet.


Another unusual choice – I seem to have gone for all the ladies so far – not a beard in sight!  Brienne of Tarth.  I’m not sure if this is also a cheat tbh.  Brienne takes on Podrick as her squire – which I’m going to say is a sort of mentoring role.  Anyway, I enjoyed reading and watching these two so they’re going on the list:


Finally, Master Lo who becomes a mentor to Moirin in Jacqueline Carey’s Naamah series.  Master Lo teaches Moirin how to become calm using different breathing techniques.  He’s instrumental in her decision to travel to Ch’in and he also introduces her to Bao.


I was trying to stay away from the two mentors that immediately sprung to mind and definitely fit the description above:

“Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”




If you only knew the power of the Dark Side.


It’s time once again to go Tough Travelling with Fantasy Faction,  On the first day of each month, with a pre arranged theme in mind, we will all come up with out own individual selection of books that take us travelling through the tropes of fantasy.  This month’s theme:


Minions of the DARK LORD can be male or female, though he tends to favour males (who seem to be more susceptible to the Evil One’s wiles). They can take many forms: BAD KINGS, ENCHANTRESSES, HIGH PRIESTS, EUNUCHS, DUKES, REGENTS or WITCHES. Additionally, there are the non-human minions, such as ORCS, TROLLS, GOBLINS and random OTHER PEOPLES . . . not to mention MUTANT NASTIES, carefully selected MONSTERS, UNDEAD, and DEMONS.

So, is there anybody at all who didn’t immediately think of these guys??:


Moving on:

Talk of the Dark Lord – you know I have to go there – Tolkien’s LotRs, Ors and lets not forget Saruman  and his army of Uruk-hai:


The Sa’ba Taalor from James Moore Seven Forges series.  A whole army of people who serve the will of their Gods.


seven forges

The Death Eaters.  JK Rowlings Harry Potter and Lord Voldermort’s army of witches and wizards:


Wolves, dwarves, giants and others who serve the White Witch in CSLewis’s Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe:


Renfield – Count Dracula’s human minion from Bram Stoker’s Dracula:


And, can I just add these guys for good measure:


There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife…

tough travelPeople, today is a ‘woo hoo’ moment – Tough Travel (as originally envisaged by young Nathan of the Fantasy Review Barn we’re not worthy) is resurrected.  Fantasy Faction have taken on this wonderful meme.  Each month, with a pre arranged theme in mind, we will all come up with out own individual selection of books that take us travelling through the tropes of fantasy.  Visit Fantasy Faction today to check out all the other entries and find out the theme for the next month.  Come and join in the fun – a whole month to come up with your own original ideas. You know you want to 😀

And, today is all about beginnings – great beginnings to the books we love.

Now, as this is the first, I’m going to go old school, classic if you will:

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends thehobbitof worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort – J.R.R. Tolkien,

The Hobbit : Maybe an obvious choice but as beginnings go this is a winner on many levels. It’s a curious start to a book, it definitely makes you want to read on – how can a hole in the ground mean ‘comfort’. It has a bedtime, ‘reading aloud to your children’ feel to it but at the same time feels like a story that you can also enjoy as an adult. And, as this is a new beginning for Tough Travel I can’t help but think of the parallels, because Bilbo is himself about to go on an adventure. This is the ‘beginning’ of the rest of his life, without it, well, he would have spent a good many years in that little hobbit hole with the round door, no doubt chomping on bread and cheese and drinking wine – but he wouldn’t have seen the elves, he wouldn’t have had to riddle his way out of trouble or rescue a bunch of dwarves from gigantic spiders, he wouldn’t get to ride the white water rapids in a barrel – come on, who wouldn’t want these sort of beginnings! Not to mention – a dragon. Okay, he almost dies, but stop thinking of the negatives for God’s sake – a dragon, that talks!  So, lets go on an adventure.  Lets go Tough Travelling.

Next we have this:

The lion‘Once there were four children whose names were Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy.  This story is about something that happened to them when they were sent away from London during the war because of the air-raids.

You simply have to love a story that begins with ‘Once there were’.  It verges on the brink of fairytale doesn’t it?

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis


alice in wonderlandAlice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it “and what is the use of a book” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversations?”

Indeed – what is the use of a book without pictures and conversations?

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

A very quirky book indeed.  A book that brings to us this particular poem:

An excerpt from The Walrus and the Carpenter:

The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
      To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
      Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
      And whether pigs have wings.’

And, now, for some teasers: (the books and authors are given below, you need to hover over the space indicated and change the font colour) but see if you recognise these:

Where’s papa going with that axe?’

Marley was dead to begin with.

It was a pleasure to burn.

A merry little surge of electricity piped by automatic alarm from the mood organ beside his bed awakened Rick Deckard

On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the street before he could get back.

The house stood on a slight rise just on the edge of the village.

Click and highlight below for answers:

Charlotte’s Web by E B White
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep by Philip K Dick
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
end here
Next month’s topic : Assassins:
Assassins are ubiquitous throughout fantasyland. Sharp-eyed readers (or even dull-eyed ones) will notice that their hooded forms often adorn book covers, and that they frequently appear – rather improbably – not to mind being the sole focus of our attention. Whether they’re spotlight hogs or camera-shy and brooding, most assassins will have trained for years and are very, VERY good at their job (i.e. killing people for money).



Read all about it…

milesThis is a little heads up.

Tough Travel is back!

Travelling through the tropes of fantasy is tough – it really is (the hint is in the title after all), but, pack up your spotted hanky, dig out your maps, tote your packs with dried beef, hard cheese and lembas bread because  we are once again embarking on our travels.

You may recall Tough Travel.  It was the brainchild of Fantasy Review Barn and was a very popular meme.  Fantasy Faction will now be picking up the mantle so keep an eye open for the initial post which is due any day now (the 1st of April I believe).

Basically, Tough Travel is a meme that looks at the tropes of fantasy.  Each month we will explore a specific trope where we all get to highlight specific books that we love that represent the particular theme for that month.  Tropes are tropes for a reason after all and this gives us a chance to display some of our favourite novels in a perfect forum for discussion. So, come and join in.

See you all soon I hope.