Thursday, January 8, 2015

Tough Traveling: Snarky Sidekicks

For a few moons now, I have been greedily reading the posts for Fantasy Review Barn's - Tough Traveling Meme.  It's purpose is to explore all the common (and usually beloved) tropes  - both concepts and characters - in Fantasy and Science Fiction. 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.

My problem is that I have a horrible memory so I can never think of any books that apply but this week's topic got the old synapses firing. The focus of our travels will be the Snarky Sidekick - a character I happen to adore!  He (or she...or it) is explained thus...
Why is everyone so serious all the time?  Perhaps they need a friend that is there with a quick bit of wit to liven the day; even if the day is looking to quickly turn to blood. (Not actually found in the Tough Guide)

Mogget from Garth Nix's Abhorsen Series: Sabriel (#1)

This is a very recent read and so Mogget immediately came to mind.  He's a very powerful magical creature imprisoned in the body of a cat.  His motives are slightly unclear but his personality is definitely cat like.  Mogget is bound to serve the Abhorsen which he does loyally but definitely snarkily.
“A Kiss," said Mogget sleepily. "Actually, just a breath would do. But you have to start kissing someone sometime, I suppose."
"A breath?" she asked. She didn't want to kiss just any wooden man. He looked nice enough, but he might not be like his looks. A kiss seemed too forward.”

Iko from the Lunar Chronicles By Marissa Meyer - Cinder, Scarlet and Cress

Iko is an android who wishes desperately to be a debutante and she's Linh Cinder's best friend.  She starts off as a small white robot, then as a ship and finally gets an escort android's human like body.  Her personality is a programming fluke and calling her snarky is perhaps stretching it as she's more boy-crazy teenaged girl but her and Cinder's relationship is definitely that of heroine and snarky sidekick.
 “We all have our weaknesses.” “I know,” said Iko. “Mine is shoes.”

Marvin the Android from
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

It's probably a stretch to call Marvin a "sidekick" of anyone but he is meant to serve and be a companion for the crew of the starship Heart of Gold and he is hilarious.  And depressed.

“Come on,” he droned, “I’ve been ordered to take you down to the bridge. Here I am, brain the size of a planet and they ask me to take you down to the bridge. Call that job satisfaction? ’Cos I don’t.” 

Ingrid in The Rook by Daniel O'Malley

Myfanwy Thomas doesn't remember a thing but apparently she is a powerful executive in a British supernatural spy agency called The Chequy.  She wouldn't be able to pull off pretending she knows what she's doing without her very competent and ever so slightly snarky assistant, Ingrid.
 “This should be a pleasant little interview. All I have to do is put on my scary face."
"You have a scary face?" Ingrid sounded skeptical.
"Yes," said Myfanwy indignantly. "I have a very scary face."
Ingrid surveyed her for a moment. "You may wish to take off the cardigan then, Rook Thomas," she advised tactfully. "The flowers on the pocket detract somewhat from your menace.”
Bob the Skull from The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher

Bob is an ancient and powerful wizard imprisoned in a skull meant to help Harry Dresden with his cases.  He loves romance novels and giving Harry a hard time.

Harry wakes up Bob: "What's up, boss?" — "Evil's afoot." — "Well, sure," Bob said, "because it refuses to learn the metric system. Otherwise it'd be up to a meter by now."

Jean Tannen in The Gentleman Bastard Series by Scott Lynch

Does a sidekick count as snarky is the hero is just as sarcastic?  We meet Locke and Jean in The Lies of Locke Lamora and we learn they are great friends who have each other's back - Locke with his clever flair and Jean with his unflappable wits and his two hatchets called the wicked sisters.  I have to confess, *whispers*, I kind of like Jean better than Locke. 
“Jean,' Locke gasped out during a brief lull between spasms of retching, 'next time I conceive a plan like this, consider putting a hatchet in my skull.'

'Hardly efficacious.' Jean swapped a full bucket for an empty one and gave Locke a friendly pat on the back. 'Dulling my nice sharp blades on a skull as thick as yours...”

I think that's it for me.  I know I've missed about 839 others but look forward to seeing the books and characters that everyone else highlights.  I know one thing, if it's a book I haven't read and it contains this character type, it is so going on my TBR!

Check out others' lists on Fantasy Review Barn!

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