Every Thursday, Nathan at Fantasy Review Barn leads a group of fellow bloggers on “Tough Travels”, a trip through the tropes that populate the fantasy and sci-fi world, using Diane Wynne Jones’ hilarious The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as a guide.
This week’s subject is “The Ace”:
Let’s face it, many of Eddings’ characters in the “Belgariad” could qualify as Aces. Silk was the best spy and trader in the world, Sadi was the best assassin, Barak was the best berserker…. But I’m giving this to Mandorallen, the mightiest Mimbrate knight. He slew a lion with his bare hands, he offered defend the party’s escape through the tunnels of Rak Cthol, believing he could singlehandedly defeat the entire population of the city. And throughout he was the paragon of virtue, and in reality rather humble. He didn’t boast, he just did.
Then there’s Gilderoy, who is an Ace in his own mind. And in the swooning fans of his bestselling adventures, like Voyages with Vampires and Travels with Trolls. Of course we all know that he was an incompetent sham, but that didn’t stop him from winning Witch Weekly’s “Most Charming Smile” award five years in a row. When the stakes were highest though, he showed that his secret was erasing peoples’ memories and making a hasty exit. History is written by the victor, pity he tried that memory charm with Ron’s busted wand.
Yeah, Kaladin and Shallan are the badass characters in the “Stormlight Archive,” but I’ve got to go with Adolin for this, thanks to his display of sheer dueling prowess in Words of Radiance. Throughout the first book, Adolin was forbidden to duel, due to his father Dalinar’s rigid view of honor amongst his soldiers and officers. But when Dalinar realizes that no other leader shares his view of honor, he decides to deprive them of their powerful shardblades and armor, by letting Adolin show them just who is the best duelist in Roshar.
Oh Kvothe. Some call you a Mary Sue, and to listen to you tell the story that’s not surprising. He said it himself: “I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.” Of course we also know he ends up as a broken innkeeper in the ass-end of the country, so he may not be all that. We’ll have to wait for book three to find out.
“Can you conceive of a millennium? A thousand years? Several of them? Can you understand a man who, for almost every day of a lifetime like that, has spent some time dwelling with weapons, tactics, strategy… It is fortunate that he has no designs upon the throne, or he would be occupying it right now… I fear Benedict.”
The eldest of Oberon’s nine sons, Benedict is the master of weapons and warfare. There is no match for his prowess throughout Amber or its endless Shadows. And even after losing an arm, he was still a force to be reckoned with, fighting better one-handed than most did with both.