“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 DISGUISES:
Hiding in plain site? Put on a disguise. Often used to sneak into the evil lair. For best results brain a guard and steal his; no one is tracking these things.
Oh this one was so fun! Lessons I have learned this week: apparently the clothes really do make the woman (and one man). Here are my picks for disguises:
| Deryn/Dylan Sharp – Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
What’s a girl to do in alternate WWI when all she wants is to pilot giant dirigibles made from animal parts, but she can’t because sexism? That is a situation that’s just begging for a disguise. A disguise that I will argue, right here and now, is the best disguise trope in all of SFF. Girls dressing up as boys. BOOM! What could be a better disguise than ‘girl dresses up as a boy to prove that girls can do ALL THE THINGS’? Rhetorical question, nothing is better than that.
| Kamala Khan Ms. Marvel by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
Kamala needs a disguise to prevent people from realizing that she’s been running around town fighting crime. Like any good superhero, she goes for “this eye mask totally conceals my identity, right guys?GUYS?!” look. Fun fact about Kamala’s disguise: her dress and pants outfit is reminiscent of a shalwar kameez, a very popular (and seriously fashionable!) style in South Asia and for many Muslim women around the globe.
|Count Olaf – A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
While this series may not be fantasy in the traditional sense, it’s certainly fantastical. And it requires a certain amount of suspended disbelief, as fans are no doubt aware. Count Olaf is the central villain of these children’s books, a nefarious evil-doer whose ridiculous disguises somehow fool everyone but the Baudelaire siblings. My personal favourite was his “Coach Genghis” alter ego, a disguise consisting of a turban and a tracksuit. That’s it. Whatever, still better than Clark Kent.
|Ani – The Goose Girl by Shannon HaleWhen Princess Ani’s identity is stolen by one of her maids, the Princess must assume the disguise of goose-girl (think shepherdess but with geese) until she can reclaim her position. Of course, this is one of those situations where your ‘disguise’ only works because you’re already a stranger…because there’s basically no attempt made to actually disguise yourself. When you take the Princess out of the gowns, she’s just a regular girl.