Our favourite fantasies would be nothing without their animals
By Amy Davies
Posted on March 4, 2015 in Books, Film, Fun Stuff with tags Animals, Fantasy, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, Lord of the rings
I’ve been thinking about it, and in the three big fantasy dramatisations of the decade, we definitely cared so much more about what the mythical creatures were doing than their boring human counterparts. So, let’s hear it for the animals of fantasy!
Full disclosure: I do generally prefer animals to people. But this time, I have proof.
Lord of the Rings
Between them, the animals of the Lord of the Rings trilogy could have done the whole thing a lot quicker, and a lot more effectively. Forget the introduction of Gandalf the White; Shadowfax wins the award for most majestic entrance by miles.
Shadowfax was instrumental throughout the trilogy: from Helm’s Deep to the Siege of Gondor, from defending against the Nazgul to being generally magnificent. A lot of characters (especially Faramir) would have died without his help.
The Great Eagles definitely had it in their power to solve the whole One Ring problem in one magnificent swoop. But like a hopeful parent, they chose to sit back and see whether the people could figure it out by themselves… it turns out they couldn’t.
In The Hobbit, they saved Thorin Oakenshield and his company from a band of Wargs and Goblins, and later assisted in the Battle of the Five Armies. In Lord of the Rings, they saved Gandalf from Saruman’s clutches, leant a helping wing at the Battle of the Black Gate, and ultimately saved Frodo Baggins and Samwise Gamgee from being delicious Hobbit-size barbecue.
One of the best moments of the Legolas/Gimlee bromance wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible Mumakil / Oliphaunts…
Every great story needs a truly terrifying villain. Sauron has always been cited as the antihero in LOTR, but it’s really Shelob the great spider that kept me up at night. She is vicious, creepy and deadly; and the result of being caught is absolutely disgusting. And, let’s be honest, way more people have arachnophobia than ommetaphobia (Google it).
So, I don’t have a clue of their real names; this is genuinely how I remember this epic series:
Harry Potter and Fluffy the Three Headed Dog
Harry Potter and the Fight Against an Enormous Basilisk
Harry Potter and Saving Buckbeak’s Life
Harry Potter and All Kinds of Dragons
Harry Potter and the Revenge of the Centaurs
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince … okay that can stay
Harry Potter and Hedwig’s Heart-breaking Death
Everyone loves Hagrid. Why? Because Hagrid loves mythical creatures of every size and ferocity, and we would too. Who doesn’t want a giant three-headed dog named Fluffy?
Or a cuddle with the slobberiest dog in the world, Fang?
Honestly, Hermione, we didn’t give a Scabbers’ backside about your time turner until we realised it had the potential to save our beloved Buckbeak. He brought such class to proceedings.
There’s a reason that the main theme for the Harry Potter franchise is called Hedwig’s Theme. Her death in the final book hit me harder than Dumbledore and Sirius put together. Suddenly smartphones don’t look like the ultimate way of communicating after all.
Game of Thrones
Through all of Jon Snow’s brooding and Littlefinger’s uncomfortable creeping, all anyone is really thinking is ‘when are they next going to show us how big the Daenerys’ dragons are now!?’ It’s nocoincidence that everyone’s favourite character is the Mother of Dragons.
Human deaths are ten to a dozen in Game of Thrones but the Direwolf murder is so much harder to handle. The Red Wedding? Barely flinched. But bring Grey Wind into it and I’m crying buckets. Sad animals are so much harder to emotionally deal with than sad people. Fact.
This scene for example.. “Why are you sending me away?”
It seems to me that if you solve the mind-boggling mystery of the three-eyed raven, you’ll crack the whole Game of Thrones puzzle.
If you need any more convincing, welcome to the alternate worlds of these books where animals play all of the characters… (a.k.a. a collection of my favourite animal dress-up/fantasy images from the internet):
Lord of the Rings starring dogs:
Harry Potter starring rodents, a toad and a very scrawny cat:
Game of Thrones with majestic pugs and lions:
Amy is currently interning with the Hodderscape team while she studies for her Publishing MA at UCL. She hopes to one day join the publishing world permanently so that she can spend the rest of her days with her favourite kinds of people: book characters and enthusiasts.