Tough Travelling: Magic Systems

Tough TravellingJoin me each Thursday for some Tough Travelling with the Tough Guide, hosted by Fantasy Review Barn. Inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, we will set out on a quest to track down the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction.

| Magic Systems |

A system.  For Magic.  Don’t pretend y’all were not waiting for this one.

I love a well thought out magic system and for this week’s Tough Travelling I found myself repeatedly going to the one author whose magic systems consistently blow me away. And so, after very little deliberation, I have traversed the Cosmere to bring you:

| The Magic Systems of Brandon Sanderson |

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Allomany, Feruchemy & Hemalurgy

Mistborn will undoubtedly appear in most lists of unique magic systems and in this trilogy we have not just one but three! Allomancy involves the ingestion of metals which can be ‘burned’ to give the Allomancer specific abilities, each metal producing a different effect. Most Allomancers can only burn one metal and are known as Mistings; those who can burn every metal are known as Mistborn – a rare ability. Feruchemy involves storing magic within a metal object, known as ‘metalminds’ – much like charging a battery. The larger the piece of metal, the more magical energy can be stored and drawn on later.  As with Allomancy different metals produce different effects. Hemalurgy is the darkest power of all and involves the transfer, or rather theft, of magic by driving a metal spike through the body. Grim.

| 2 |


The Stormlight Archive


The Stormlight Archive is an amazing series of books and brings us yet another unique magic system – Surgebinding. Surgebinders can manipulate two powers out of a possible ten to produce a range of differing abilities. These abilities include transforming one object into another, transporting oneself instantaneously and the manipulation of gravitational forces.  Surgebinding is fuelled by Stormlight which can be drawn in by the Surgebinder from any object infused with it. Stormlight also increases the capabilities of the human body by giving superhuman strength, speed and healing abilities. However, when the Stormlight is consumed the Surgerbinder is left weak and exhausted.

| 3 |


The Emperor’s Soul


The Emperor’s Soul may be a novella but it too has a unique magic system to rival many others. Forging, undertaken by a Forger, involves carving an object or ‘stamp’ into a specific form, applying ink and then stamping it onto a person or object to create a magical effect. This is known as a Soulstamp. The design of the Soulstamp will affect the appearance of the stamped object. When something is stamped, the forger is essentially altering the object’s history; in order for the stamp to remain in place the new history must share similarities with the original,  too different and the Soulstamp won’t work.  Got it? It might just be easier to read this short and brilliant book!

| 4 |

1f Elantris


AonDor is a form of glyph magic. These glyphs are known as Aons and draw their power from the Dor, a source of spiritual energy. Aons represent whole words and different combinations and equations of glyphs produce different powers and abilities. These Aons can be drawn in the air or formed out of stone or metal; what is essential is that they are drawn right to avoid the power dispelling… or any unfortunate accidents. Wielders of power can use these Aons to heal, to build, to strengthen, to fight and most impressively, to create.

| 5 | 1g



Breathing has never been so important! Ahem… The magic system of Warbreaker is reliant on the number of Biochromatic Breaths a person has stored. Breaths can be thought of as souls which can be taken from others to increase one’s own power. Once Breathless you are known as a Drab, someone whose world has become a little greyer, who finds it difficult to perceive colour and is less attuned to others. The more Breaths you have the more powerful you become resulting in varying degrees of ability, such as Awakening inanimate objects, immunity from toxins and physical ailments, and Reanimating corpses. What fun!

What are your favourite magic systems in fantasy fiction? If you would like to join in with Tough Travelling, head on over to the Fantasy Review Barn and sign up!

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Tough Travelling: Labourers

Tough Travelling 2Join me each Thursday for some Tough Travelling with the Tough Guide, hosted by Fantasy Review Barn. Inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, we will set out on a quest to track down the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction.

| Labourers |

Not everyone can be a Prince.  There is only room for one Queen.  A few spoiled nobles can sit around and play cards.  But fantasyland can’t build its own castles and roads, nor can it plough its own fields, nor cook its meals.  Someone has to do the hard work.  And often, as a reward of course, these labourers get pulled from their hard but simple life into a bigger plan.

This week I’m going to looks at a character type that occurs again and again in fantasy fiction. They may not fit the role of protagonist but they make a pretty damn good supporting character. They’re sturdy, strong and reliable and know how to use weapons like… well like they make them! Yes, I’m talking about the humblest character of all, the…

 | Blacksmith |

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Perrin Aybara

The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan

A hammer wielding blacksmith warrior? What’s not to love?! Whisked away from his life as a blacksmith in Emond’s Field for many an adventure, Perrin prefers to bash people with a hammer because it sheds less blood than an axe… too kind Perrin, too kind.

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Barkus Jeshua

Blood Song by Anthony Ryan

Barkus has a natural, though some would say dark, affinity with metal and though he can wield a sword like nobody’s business, his large and sturdy forge-forged frame makes him a perfect man mountain for unarmed combat.

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The Belgariad by David Eddings

Steady, strong and reliable, Durnik is the atypical fantasy blacksmith. An honest hero, he finds himself on an adventure because he’s too kind and caring, and his strength and prowess at killing those pesky villains is always used with the greatest reluctance.

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Llaw Gyffes

Knights of Dark Renown by David Gemmell

And what list of fantasy blacksmiths would be complete without a wrongly accused man on the run? Llaw Gyffes is a blacksmith come reluctant outlaw who is thrown into a life of rebellion and adventure and must lead his people to freedom. He’s not too bad with a sword either.

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A Song of Ice and Fire by George. R.R. Martin

Ahh Gendry, a young, strong and simple blacksmith sucked into a world of bloody adventure for a mere circumstance of birth. But never fear! You can still get your custom made bull, goat or horse headed helmet, for the Known World is saturated with blacksmiths!

Are there any other blacksmiths in fantasy fiction that float your boat?  Or can you think of any other labourers who unwittingly find themselves on an adventure? If you would like to join in with Tough Travelling, head on over to the Fantasy Review Barn and sign up!

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