Tough Travelling: Apprentices


Welcome to Tough Travelling – a monthly feature created by Fantasy Review Barn and hosted by The Fantasy Hive. Inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, every month we set out on a quest to track down the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction.


| Apprentices |

Apprentices are people who are training for a trade or skill, which means they are usually quite young and bad at what they do. Most of the time they are like nurses during an operation, being there only to hand the master his told. They seem to have to do this for a good many years before they get to do anything more interesting, and it is therefore not surprising that some of them get restless and either try to do the interesting stuff themselves or simply run away. The Rules state that if an Apprentice tries to do the interesting stuff on their own it will blow up in their face. If they run away, they will learn all sorts of things very quickly and also probably prove to be the MISSING HEIR to a Kingdom.

The Tough Guide To Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones


| Apprentices from A to Pprentice |

Fantasyland, with its myriad worlds, lands, kingdoms and hovels, really does have a rather narrow career path for those wishing to earn a living. Under the careful guidance of their master, the next generation learn new skills and prepare for the discovery that they are in fact the chosen one.

With more apprentices inhabiting the world of fantasy than I’ve had hot dinners, we’re spoiled for choice with this week’s Tough Travelling. 


| 1. |

Reaper’s Apprentice

Mort

Mort by Terry Pratchett

In a dramatic case of interfering parents inadvertently altering the fabric of reality, Mort is taken to a job fair by his father in the hope that he would land an apprenticeship. Believing his son to have become apprentice to an undertaker, Mort has in fact scored a far more interesting position, and soon finds himself collecting souls under the tutelage of Death himself. 

| 2. |

Wizard’s Apprentice

Pug 

The Riftwar Cycle by Raymond E. Feist

From humble beginnings as a kitchen boy in Crydee, Pug, on his day of Choosing (whereby teenage boys are selected by craft masters to become their apprentices) is discovered by the magician Kulgan. Sensing potential in the boy (but not quite sensing the right amount), he takes him under his wing to begin his training in magic.

| 3. |

Super Crime Fighting Wizard’s Apprentice

Peter Grant

The Rivers of London Series by Ben Aaronovitch

Threatened by a life behind a desk, Constable Peter Grant is rescued from eternal inaction by Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale. And Nightingale just so happens to be a wizard. Taking Peter under his wing, Nightingale begins tutoring him in the weird and wonderful world of magical crimes.

| 4. |

Thief’s Apprentice

Locke Lamora

The Gentlemen Bastard Sequence by Scott Lynch

Locke Lamora and his fellow Gentlemen Bastards were once apprenticed to Father Chains, a priest of the Crooked Warden, the god of thieves. Under Father Chains’ tutelage, they were trained in the art of deception; becoming accomplished liars, masters of disguise, and con-men with the most impeccable taste in fine cuisine. 

| 5. |

Assassin’s Apprentice

Azoth

The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks

Orphaned as a child, Azoth is taken – or rather forces himself – under the grim wing of Durzo Blint who agrees to train him in the arts of the ‘wetboy’. Despite this strangely coined term, Azoth is not trained as either a bed-wetter or a male prostitute, but as a completely bad-ass assassin who blends magic and martial skill to become a deadly human weapon. 

Who would you like to be apprenticed to? If you would like to join in with Tough Travelling, head on over to the The Fantasy Hive and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Tough Travelling: Shapeshifters


Welcome to Tough Travelling – a monthly feature created by Fantasy Review Barn and hosted by The Fantasy Hive. Inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, every month we set out on a quest to track down the biggest tropes and clichés in fantasy fiction.


| Shapeshifters |

Shapeshifting is frequent among both WERES and MAGIC USERS. The usual form taken is that of a wolf, but lions, eagles, serpents, owls and cats are common too. In all cases the Rule is that the Shapeshifter cannot stay too long in ANIMAL form without actually becoming that animal and losing touch with her/his human thoughts.

The Tough Guide To Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones

A common theme in the world of fantasy, shapeshifting is rarely confined to those either blessed or cursed with turning into a wolf at the light of a full moon. With a list of possible forms as long as a book, and more rules, spells and amulets than you can shake a wand at, this week I bring to you:

| Unlikely Shifters of the Shape Variety |

| 1. |

Lupine

Reaper Man by Terry Pratchett

One week out of four under the influence of the full moon, Lupine has the misfortune of not turning from man to werewolf but from werewolf to wolf-man. His sudden onset baldness and temporary sprouting of two human (or is that wolf-man?) legs renders him somewhat deficient in the trouser department and subject to charges of indecent exposure on an all too regular basis. Such is life in the Big Wahoonie.

| 2. |

Beorn

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Beorn is a skin-changer who can change at will into the form of a great black bear. Despite his ferocious appearance and incredible strength (and not only when in bear form), he is unquestionably wise and compassionate, risking his own life for the sake of others and opening his homestead up to a menagerie of animals, dwarves and wandering wizards. Some might say, however, that his most particular talent is his ability to convince so many domesticated animals to do his housework for him.

| 3. |

Poledra

The Belgariad by David Eddings

One might be mistaken in thinking that the wife of Belgarath and the mother of Polgara was in fact a human sorceress quite capable, like her husband, of transforming into a wolf at will. However, Poledra was in fact a wolf who, after watching Belgarath shift into various animal forms in the early days of sorcery, thought she might just try it out herself. Evidently she succeeded.

| 4. |

The Kandra

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

The strength of the Kandra is their ability to assume the likeness of any creature upon consumption and digestion of their body. The most skilled of their kind can manipulate and change the likeness of these ‘true bodies’ to suit their purposes, using as little as a skull to create a working form. Needless to say, with their superior skills in stealth and impersonation, your mother, your great aunt Sue or your miniature poodle Jasper might not be quite what they appear…

| 5. |

Ululenia

Rogues of the Republic by Patrick Weekes

Ululenia is a unicorn who just so happens to inhabit a world where unicorns have the ability to shift into any form they desire. Ululenia, whose form is always snowy white, has a preference for assuming human shape in order to seduce hapless virgins to their ultimate bliss. And her talents don’t end there – you can add mind reading, nature magic, general badassery and a glowing horn to the mix.

Who, or what, are your favourite fantasy shapeshifters? If you would like to join in with Tough Travelling, head on over to the The Fantasy Hive and sign up!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin