Friday Favourites: Fantasy Characters
By The Hodderscape Team
Posted on July 25, 2014 in Friday Favourites with tags Fantasy
We’re less than a week away from the publication of Smiler’s Fair. We tried to bring a sword into work, but security gave us the side-eye so we’re telling you all about our favourite fantasy characters instead.
Magician Trent from Piers Anthony’s Xanth novels
I’ve always liked lawful neutral characters; I suspect I picked up the taste from reading Piers Anthony’s Xanth novels at an early age. Piers Anthony writes one type of character really, really well: the extremely smart, extremely capable man. Sometimes he’s good, sometimes he’s evil, and usually he’s just kind of morally ambiguous – the dictionary definition of lawful neutral. But there’s one Anthony character who perfectly embodies both Anthony’s type and the lawful neutral alignment: Magician Trent, from the Xanth novels.
The conceit of the Xanth novels is this: every person born in the magical land of Xanth has a single, unique magical talent. Some few are born with incredibly powerful magic, and they are the only people eligible to rule the land. During the long reign of a particularly mediocre king, smart young Trent – who can turn any living creature into any other living creature – raised an army and tried to take control of the country. He failed and was exiled, into the magic-free land of Mundania (the world you and I are familiar with). Trent made peace with his exile and even started a family, when his wife and child died, Trent turned his eye back towards his homeland, raised another army, and marched on Xanth. He eventually got his long-coveted crown, but not quite the way he expected.
Trent’s not a bad guy, though he’s initially called ‘the evil magician’; he’s not strictly a good guy, either, though he does reform and become a very good king. No, Trent just thinks things through and then does what he believes he must, whether that be fomenting rebellion or running a kingdom as efficiently as possible. He’s smart, he’s articulate, he gets stuff done and he’s got an interesting backstory. What more could a girl want?
Kalix MacRinnalch from Martin Millar’s Werewolf Girl series
I am pretty convinced that when Martin Millar was penning Lonely Werewolf Girl there was some dark magic afoot because Kalix MacRinnalch is everything I could possibly want from a main character.
The titular Lonely Werewolf Girl is a lycanthrope princess on the run, fuelled by twin addictions: laudanum and The Runaways. She’s also a big fan of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Bad taste in consumables, great taste in pop culture. Kalix proceeds through the series via a string of terrible life choice, but somehow always comes out on top.
Bartimaeus from The Bartmaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud
I have to say that one of my favourite fantasy characters growing up was Bartimaeus from The Bartmaeus Trilogy (I haven’t read the prequel yet). He is a djinni with a whole lot o’ sass, plus he can change shape and look like anything or anyone, but the best things about him are definitely his wit and sarcastic sense of humour. If you don’t believe me check out the footnotes… that is where the real magic happens.
Zuzana from the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy by Laini Taylor
Yes, I’ve fangirled about Daughter of Smoke and Bone before and I’m sure I’ll do it again! I’m not 100% sure that Zuzana is technically a fantasy character as she is entirely human, but since she features in a fantasy trilogy, I’ve decided it counts.
Whilst I love the books’ heroine Karou, my absolute favourite character is her best friend Zuzana, also know as Rabid Fairy because she is tiny but FIERCE. There are so many reasons why she is awesome: she is a professional puppeteer, she is so obsessed with chocolate that it is a priority even in near-death situations, she fell in love with Violin Boy and pursued him in the most magical and adorable way possible (this even has its own e-novella, Night of Cake and Puppets – and deservedly so), and she never lets her size get in the way of facing off with the enemy.
In short, she is one the greatest, funniest, coolest fantasy sidekicks ever. (And if we do a Friday Favourites about sidekicks at some point, I will totally be copying and pasting this.)