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 “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…
After 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.
He’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.
What 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.
The 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.
The 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…
In 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.