Tough Traveling — Dad!


tough guideEvery 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 “Fathers”:
It’s a little late for Father’s Day, but we’ll celebrate dads anyhow. The good, the bad, the overprotective, the machiavellian, starting, as always with…

Belgarion— Guardians of the West by David Eddings

guardiansAfter defeating Torak, King Belgarion and his wife C’Nedra get about to their marital duties, namely making babies. Takes a while however, and requires some mysterious magical mojo from the immortal sorceress Polgara to get everything flowing. And once it’s time for Prince Geran’s birth, Garion loses his mind, turning into a babbling idiot as Eddings adds a little social commentary into this series. He does show his fatherly side, however, when Geran is kidnapped, and he leads his friends on a quest to save his son, and consequently, the world.

Dalinar — The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

wokHe’s a good father, but was he a good husband? We’re not sure (so far), since he cannot remember anything about his wife, thanks to a blessing (curse?) from the Night Watcher. But this noble Alethi Prince, and uncle to King Elokhar, eschews much of his personal glory in service of his king and in memory of his slain brother Gavilar. He also instills these noble values into his children, Adolin and Renarin. We’ll find out a little bit more next year, as Dalinar will be the focus of the third Stormlight novel.

Mr. Wednesday — American Gods by Neil Gaiman

american godsWhat do you do when your father is the Norse god Odin? In Shadow’s case, he ends up in prison, his wife ends up dead and he eventually ends up dead himself. And in Hell. But he comes back, as all sacrificial gods do. Along the way he learns all about the Old Gods and their new American rivals. He also learns that his father, whom he has known as the con-man Mr. Wednesday, had conceived the whole thing with his Shadow’s brother Loki as a way to sow chaos and reclaim their glory. Nice guy, that one-eyed All-Father.

Fitz— Fool’s Assasin by Robin Hobb

fool's assassinThe mopey bastard and would-be assassin from Robin Hobb’s acclaimed books enters fatherhood in the latest Fool’s Assassin. Settling down with his wife Molly he attempts to put his past behind and live as the country gentleman Tom Badgerlock. Soon Molly is pregnant, although the pregnancy lasts a lot longer than 9 months, before the strange, precocious Bee is born. When Molly passes, Fitz struggles to raise his daughter while mysterious threats are gathering. The book ends with kidnappers abducting Bee, while Fitz reunites with his old friend, The Fool.

Oberon — “The Chronicles of Amber” by Roger Zelazny

amberThe mysterious head of the royal family of Amber, Oberon sired over a dozen children from nearly as many wives. And when he disappeared he set off centuries of fighting amongst his heirs. Of course he wasn’t dead, he was merely hiding in the background as Corwin’s servant Ganelon, subtly using his influence to play his children off each other for his own inscrutable reasons. He eventually reveals his ruse and retakes the throne in an attempt to thwart his mad son Brand, however. This pick is extra special because this is one of the fantasy series that my dad introduced me to, 30-odd years ago…

Leto Atreides— Dune by Frank Herbert

dune-coverIn many ways Duke Leto is science fiction’s version of Ned Stark. Painfully noble, instilling his children with a strong moral code and sense of responsibilty. He’s also unwilling to play the political games of the Emperor, and accepts the fiefdom of Arrakis from his longtime enemies the Harkonnens. He also trusts people he shouldn’t eventually leading to his death at the hands of his enemies, although he doesn’t lose his head at least.

—Michael Senft

About Michael Senft

I am a freelance writer and critic from Phoenix Arizona. I spent 10 years covering music, the arts and pop culture for the “Arizona Republic” before life circumstances took me away from newspaper. But I never lost my joy at writing. Or reading.
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5 Responses to Tough Traveling — Dad!

  1. lynnsbooks says:

    How on earth did I forget Dalinar? Great list. I can’t wait for the third book from Sanderson. I went to see him at a book event and it kind of hit home just how long this series will be – I’m sure he said 10 books, one to be released every 2 years – 20 years to read the whole series! It’s a bit daunting when you think of it in those terms.
    Lynn 😀


  2. rudejasper says:

    I really need to continue on/finish the Chronicles of Amber – I did like the first book. I think your description may have spoiled me but my memory’s so poor I will undoubtedly not remember it by the time I get around to the next book:). That’s pretty sweet with the connection to your own father!


  3. I’m so looking forward to the next Stormlight novel. Dalinar is my favorite character from the series.


  4. Nathan says:

    I on the other hand keep wondering why I am sticking with Stormlight. American Gods on the other hand, top five on my all time list.


  5. Jenn says:

    I can’t believe I still haven’t read American Gods, it’s been sitting in my bookshelf for ages. I’ll be sure to finish it before the TV series starts next year though… I have high hopes for it.


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