“Tough Traveling” is a weekly Thursday feature created by Nathan at Review Barn where participants make a new list each week based on The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. This hilarious little book cheerfully pokes fun at the most prevalent tropes in fantasy. All are welcome to take part, and there is a link up over at his site. Join in any time!
This week’s trope is BUGS:
BUGS are not in the Tough Guide but it should be. Let’s all find anything creepy or crawly, big or small, six legs, eight legs, or more. Bugs, bugs, bugs.
Is there any bug more universally hated than the spider? I think not, especially when you look at the number of evil spiders in fantasy. Some of them are cool though. Here’s my round-up:
|Shelob – The Return of the King
Shelob is a Great Spider and the creepiest example of fantasy spiders, in my opinion. Although it may be more accurate to call her spider-like, since she’s got the requisite eight legs etc., but she’s also got a stinger like a wasp that she uses to paralyze her victims (whereas real spiders can only inject venom with their fangs).
|Aragog – Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Arogag and his ilk are Acromantulas, sentient and verbal spiders that can grow to be the size of an elephant. Ew. Unfortunately they’re pretty prone to eating people…as long as you aren’t Hagrid.
|The Vord – Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher
In Furies of Calderon we’re introduced to the Vord, a race of dog-sized insects that the Marat call the “Wax Spiders.” These creepers guard the croach using their telepathic abilities, including their ability to sense heat and movement. The Vord are a hierarchal species ruled by a queen – kind of like bees.
|Miss Spider – James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Hey look, a spider who’s nice for a change! Miss Spider is a nurturing figure who takes care of James, kind of like a fun aunt. Her webs are incredibly strong, and she even uses them to harness the giant peach to a flock of seagulls so they can take flight aboard said peach. Roald Dahl was a strange guy.