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 ELVES:

ELVES claims to have been the first people in Fantasyland. They are called the Elder Race. They did not evolve like humans, but sprang into being just as they are now.

I thought this trope would be easy…and I guess it was, as long as you don’t care about originality. Here is my super obvious trope-y list of elves!

Artemis_Fowl_first_edition_coverThe Elves – Artemis Fowl series by Eoin ColferThe Elves are a fae family in the Artemis Fowl universe, one characterized by their nuclear-powered wings, penchant for plasma guns, and their underground dwellings. They definitely buy into the concept of Elves as a “master race,” which is another common element of the trope.
Eragon_book_coverElves – The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher PaoliniYes, I used this series last week. It’s incredibly trope-y, okay??! Jeez. Elves in Eragon possess the typical enhanced physical capabilities like strength and speed that let them best humans. They are atheist vegetarians (cool!) and they’re total arrogant jerks (not cool!).
Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixHouse Elves – Harry Potter series by J.K. RowlingNo list about elves would be complete without house elves! Although they have very powerful magic, house elves are not a Master Race: they’re actually a slave race who are horribly abused. Proof that J.K. Rowling can be subversive when she wants to be! Dobby is my homeboy and I would totally join S.P.E.W.
Fellowship of the RingElves – The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienI thought I could get around it, but alas I cannot: to exclude Tolkien from a list about elves is just sacrilege. I’m sure that this one will be on everyone’s list and deservedly so, but here it is. Pretty sure that Tolkien deserves the title of ‘trope maker’ for this one, at least where high fantasy elves are concerned. Elves  in Tolkien’s work are ageless, beautiful, highly skilled artists and warriors.


    • Rabindranauth

    • 8 years ago

    Awesome list! I think this is the first time I can say I’ve read everything on here 😀

    1. Haha, thanks! I feel like Artemis Fowl is one of those books that too many people missed out on before the big YA boom. Such a great concept.

  1. Elves with Plasma guns! Awesome. RIght up with dinosaurs with laser beams in my mind.

    Still can’t believe I didn’t think of Dobby.

    1. I think so too! Pretty much anything with plasma guns or laser beams is a win in my mind. Dobby has got to be the most well-liked elf of all time…I feel a Harry Potter marathon coming on just thinking about it.

    • Laura @ Half-Strung Harp

    • 8 years ago

    I’m so glad our lists are so similar! Power to S.P.E.W! 😀

    1. S.P.E.W. power!!! Too bad that sounds so gross, haha. Oh well, no one said grassroots activism would be cute. 😉

  2. I would still one day want to read Eragon, despite the series being incredibly tropey. But Harry Potter and Game of Thrones and Tolkien show up on these lists almost every week too, so there’s something to be said for tropes – they work!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    1. Oh Eragon…I have such mixed feelings about those books. I’ll say one thing for certain: they have the full array of tropes required for Tough Travelling – and some pretty nice cover art!

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