Wednesday, August 5, 2015

TOUGH TRAVELING | New Beginnings


Tough Traveling is a fun meme that aims to tour all the tropes big and small, abhorred and loved that are littered across the fantasy landscape. It was conceived of and is hosted by Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn and here's how it's explained on the blog: 

Each Thursday, our copy of ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland’ in hand, we shall tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.

This week's trope is New Beginnings:

A new leaf, a new life, a complete change of pace for a character in fantasyland is how most stories start.  Bad people get a second chance, farm kids leave the farm, or a soldier gets a new post.  From there adventure awaits!
Who wouldn't like the opportunity to get a new lease on life?  Sure there are likely some blissfully happy and contented folks in the world (ugh!) but they don't seem to be very numerous Fantasyland.  Here's the numerous folks who have benefited from a new beginning. Some successful...some not.

Harry gets a new lease on life. Like literally.  He spends an entire book dead (Ghost Story), as a ghost, and is brought back to life at the end of that book to start life anew in Cold Days.  On top of that he has a new role, that represents a significant departure from his old life so it's like a double new beginning.

At the beginning of this series, Logen Ninefingers aka "The Bloody Nine", is trying to turn over a new leaf.  He's been a very violent enforcer for a very bad King and he's decided he'd like to put that behind him and be a better person.  It's hard not to root for him and his new beginning is really going very well until....

Rossamund is just twelve years old but he goes through a number of  new beginnings during this trilogy.  First he leaves the orphanage/school where he was raised to start life as a Lamplighter.  When he finds himself in deep trouble and danger there, he is taken on by Europe, a famous monster hunter, as her factotum.  This is a fantastic and imaginative middle-grade series, with a Dickensian feel except with monsters and monster hunters and things.

Severus Snape!  Snape was a death eater when Voldemort was around but he's seen the light thanks to his love of a good woman and is trying fight for the right side these days though it can sometimes be hard to tell that he's turned over a new leaf. 

  • Abigail Rook in Jackaby by William Ritter

Abigail is brought up in a proper Victorian home but the problem is she has no desire to live a proper Victorian life.  After running off and trying her hand, unsuccessfully, at paleontology she ends up in the town of New Fiddleham looking for a job.  She ends up taking a job as an assistant investigator to R.F. Jackaby who can see the supernatural world and investigates problems that arise from the monsters.  This is one of my favorite reads of 2015!

Sophie and Agatha are whisked away from their village to a school where they will leave real life behind and learn to be characters in a fairy tale.

The Locke family move to Keyhouse after the father of the family is murdered in the hopes of putting the tragedy behind them.  Their new beginning, in this ancestral home with lots of secrets, does NOT go well.

  • Myfanwy Thomas The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

My favorite book to bring up:0).  Because it's awesome.  Myfanwy must begin anew after an assassination attempt completely wipes her memory.  And she has to do it without letting anyone else know that this has happened.

When we meet Kvothe, he's just a simple barkeep in a small out of the way village.  We quickly learn that he has lived a much more eventful life but we don't yet know what has led him to a new beginning in this small town.

So I'm going to stop there because otherwise I think I could continue listing characters until 2016.  This appears to be a VERY popular trope which is understandable since putting people in a new situation or role that they are unfamiliar and uncomfortable with  = instant drama.  Go check out the lists of fellow travelers over at Fantasy Review Barn.   

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