Tough Travelling“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 COMPANIONS:

COMPANIONS… You will normally meet them for the first time at the outset of the tour. They are picked from among the following: Bard, Female Mercenary, Gay mage, Imperious Female, Large Man, serious soldier, Slender Youth, Small Man, Talented Girl, Teenage Boy, Unpleasant Stranger, and Wise Old Stranger.

A novel is nothing without a solid set of secondary characters, and that’s why we need companions! Insert obligatory Dr. Who reference here (although I don’t actually watch it).

LeviathanCount Volger – Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Volger is a Serious Soldier – you would be too if you were charged with protecting the heir to the Austrian throne, a recently orphaned teenage boy who’s being pursued by enemies inside giant automatons. Kind of a serious situation, ya know? Volger teaches young Alek how to fence and defend himself, imparting his knowledge with as dour an expression as humanly possible.
HoundedThe Morrigan – The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
The Morrigan is 100% Imperious Female, no question. The Celtic Goddess of War and Chooser of the Slain (she who picks up bodies off the battlefield), the lady is entitled to a certain amount of imperiousness. As Atticus himself says in Hounded, “when you’re in the middle of a killing field and the fucking Chooser of the Slain tells you to do something, you do it.” 
Furies of Calderon ProperKitai – Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher
Kitai is a Talented Girl – every fantasy novel needs one! A member of the Marat race, Kitai is very strong and agile. Her talents could most easily be described as kicking booty and pissing off Tavi, at least in the first book Furies of Calderon. I haven’t read the rest of the series but I strongly suspect Kitai’s got some other juju going on.
City of BonesMagnus Bane – The Mortal Instruments series
Magnus is a Gay Mage, the flamboyant and utterly charming High Warlock of Brooklyn. Despite holding a very powerful and respected position, Magnus still makes time to party with Shadowhunters, Downworlders, and Fae alike. His relationship with a certain closeted (at least in the first couple books) Shadowhunter is adorable.


  1. I STILL haven’t read the Codex Alera books I need to fix that someday soon. I haven’t read any Cassandra Clare either. I did read that first book, Leviathan – and remember enjoying it. I should finish that series as well LOL

    1. Hahahaha, this is how I feel every time I read some sort of list post. But now that you’re out of your reading slump maybe you’ll get to some of them! 🙂

      1. Well I don’t think I’m completely out of it – when I actually read more then one book in a week then I’ll believe it’s over. I did finish a book this week but it was already halfway finished from the end of last month LOL

        1. Was it that mammoth Brandon Sanderson book? B/c I think that should count as at least two!

      2. I still haven’t REALLY started a new book yet =(

  2. You did what I did, take the listed categories as a guidline. I was having a tough time before that.

    Is it true that Codex Alera is basically epic fantasy pokemon? I have heard this rumor a few times.

    1. Yeah there seems to be a lot of me staring blankly involved in these posts. The specific examples helps make it more manageable.

      So when Butcher was participating in a writer’s workshop, one of his buddies challenged him to write a good book out of a stupid idea. The idea: combining the lost Roman legion and Pokemon. If you know that when you’re reading it, you can definitely feel the Pokemon trainer/Pokemon vibe between people and their furies. I thought it was cool though!

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    • 8 years ago

    I’ve not read any of your choices! But The Morrigan may have just bumped Hounded up my list a bit.

    1. It’s a very fun series!

    • Rabindranauth

    • 8 years ago

    The only one of these I’ve read is the last!

    1. Love it or hate it, City of Bones is kind of a YA fantasy right of passage.

  3. Both you and Nathan did the list this week using the examples of companions in the description, such a great idea! Now I want to do another list like this just for the challenge! I think I would have trouble coming up with a book featuring a gay mage companion though. Gay knight/warrior companions, on the other hand, I can think of quite a few.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    1. Magnus Bane was actually the easiest one for me! I could think of people for all the categories, but many of them came from the same books. Coming up with titles that I haven’t used before is getting more and more difficult, let me tell ya!

    • Lynn Williams

    • 8 years ago

    I’ve read the Clare and Hearne books on your list this week. I really want to read Leviathan! Nice to see Magnus making somebody’s list.
    Lynn 😀

    1. If you like alternate history, you will LOVE Leviathan. Scott Westerfeld is one of my favourite YA authors – and the illustrations by Keith Thompson are beautiful. Magnus is the best!!!

    • bookwraiths

    • 8 years ago

    Love how you found characters that matched the description from the Companions definition. I didn’t spend enough time thinking about it that way. Great picks though! 🙂

    1. Thanks! Breaking them down into categories actually helped me zero in on a few good choices, so it worked out well.

  4. *sigh* I miss the good ol’ days with The Morrigan; I keep hoping that she’ll make a reappearance in The Iron Druid Chronicles because she IS the chooser of the slain after all! Companions can often make or break a book for me, so it’s good that you’re showing them some love this week!

    1. Noooo are you telling me The Morrigan is MIA later in the series?? I love that crazy lady. I completely agree, Carmel: really good secondary characters push a book into the five star category for me.

    • Anya E. J.

    • 8 years ago

    Aw man, I feel like there needs to be a “faithful and funny companion” one for Oberon!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.