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 CURSES:

CURSES are long-standing ill-wishings which, in Fantasyland, often manifest as semi-sentient. They have to be broken or dispelled.

This was an easier week because curses are the kind of trope that shows up in every subgenre of fantasy. Notice the two UFs I managed to sneak in there! Here it is folks:

Fool_Moon_coverFool Moon by Jim Butcher
Curses are an important part of the magical system in The Dresden Files, and they’re front and centre in Fool Moon. In this book, Harry has to contend with a family line that’s been cursed to have its members turn into Loup Garou, or crazy super-charged werewolves during the full moon. Actually, Harry himself is also cursed: he’s been cursed to die alone. Harsh.
Ella_enchanted_(book_cover)Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
When Ella was a baby her fairy godmother gave her the “gift” of obedience, foolishly thinking that someone who always obeys would be a sweet and happy child. Turns out that being forced to always do what you’re told doesn’t always work out well – especially when you’ve got some nasty stepsisters to contend with!
ASoS_UK_Current_Part_IA Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
When he’s about to be executed, that jerk Rickard Karstark let’s out a death bed curse of sorts. He tells a certain King in the North “Kill me and be cursed.” Guess that one came to pass…Nope, still not over it.
whitecatThe Curse Workers series by Holly Black
This UF series is based on the concept of curse workers, a very rare type of magical ability that allows people to curse others through skin contact. “Working” is illegal and many who do so belong to crime syndicates, like young protagonist Cassel. His family’s abilities include luck working, death working, and emotional working (making people love/hate/fear without their consent).
Angelus lookin’ evil – and pasty/sexy.

Honourable Mention: Angel/Angelus from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Angel gets slapped with a curse when he tortures and kills a beloved daughter of a powerful Gypsy clan. His curse? A soul. Now he must relive all his sins and feel remorse for them. His curse is eternal guilt, and if he were ever to have a moment of happiness then he’d lose his soul and become his evil alter-ego Angelus. I’ll never forget how destroyed I was when Angelus showed his vampy face.


  1. That is what Ella Enchanted is about? Yikes, that could take a few nasty turns real fast.

    1. It can and does, let me tell ya. There were a few times it really surprised me!

  2. Bah he wasn’t cursed with a soul, he was cursed with a conscience. That has always annoyed me about his whiny brooding and I’m glad Spike finally called him out on it. But anyway! Nice list. Especially the Game of Thrones curse. There have been a few curses in that book.

    1. LOL yes Wendy! Love the sass. I was more of a Spike fan too, honestly…but that didn’t happen until after Angelus was cured. Looking back on it, he was way more interesting as an evil character!

      1. Yes, Angelus was far more interesting than broody Angel ever was.

  3. Yes, those death curses can be a real bummer in Dresden Files. Poor Harry, though with the healthy population in Chicago, at least he’d be hard to kill on his own turf 😛

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    1. Too true – and thank goodness for that! Harry may have terrible luck but he’s pretty dang resilient.

    • Lynn Williams

    • 8 years ago

    Forgot about Harry! Damn. Got the Curse Worker series though.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Teehee! I’m not very far into the series so that loup garou plot line is easier to remember. The concept of curse working is so cool – definitely an underrated YA book.

    • bookwraiths

    • 8 years ago

    Great list. Cool to see Harry Dresdebn on here, because I’m itching to start the next book, but I have to catch up with my ARCs first. 🙁

    1. Thanks! I’m not too far into the Harry Dresden books either, honestly. I can’t even blame it on ARCs – I’m just not very good at marathoning a series!!

  4. I’m hoping to start Jim Butcher’s series soon in audio, and YAY there’s werewolves in it. I did not know this. I tried coming up with something for this week’s theme earlier when I visited the Review Barn, but it still hasn’t come to me. *sigh* I really suck at this meme.

    1. Apparently James Marsden of Buffy fame narrates those audiobooks…be prepared to love Harry even more because of it! *fans self* Some weeks are easier than others, let me tell ya. I can usually find a couple YA books to slot in there, though! 🙂

  5. Haha I still have yet to ever watch the Buffy or Angel show. White Cat is quite the nasty curse indeed

    1. WHAT?! Tabitha….where were you in the 90s??? My mum and I watched the entire series together on DVD and it was magical. I think I went as Buffy for halloween 3 years running (blonde wig, crop top, stake, and sass).

      1. I was totally around in the 90’s lol. I’ve just never been a huge television watcher. I’ve always been more into books and when I did watch TV I only watched a few shows and mostly anime.

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