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 EXTREME CLIMATES:

Perhaps the handsome prince lives in a castle surrounded by green countryside and sunny days.  The rest of the land is forced to deal with freezing cold, searing heat, and every other extreme climate mother nature can throw at you.

Yay, fun topic! I ended up with an even number of arctic and desert climates…and I had to use serious self-restraint to keep from listing Frozen!

The Lion, the Witch, and the WardrobeNarnia – The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis


Although Narnia usually has a temperate climate, when the Pevensie children first arrive they find that it has been transformed into a world of eternal winter. The White Witch’s power has grown so great that she’s changed the weather…there’s a metaphor for climate change in there somewhere.

The Golden CompassThe North – The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman


This series is famous partially for the armoured polar bears and I mean…they gotta live in arctic climates, you know? And trust those arctic climates to also be the home base for evil, child-kidnapping monsters who also hurt animals. Neither the weather nor the people appeal to me, but the armoured bears are pretty rad.

God's WarUmayma – God’s War by Kameron Hurley


On the opposite end of the hellish landscape spectrum we have Kameron Hurley’s desert waste-land planet Umayma. Complete with sandstorms, draughts, and scary sand beetles, this place is my worst nightmare. There’s no way I could handle a desert climate – as long as the sun’s shining, I’ll take ice and snow every time!

The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora PierceThe Great Southern Desert – The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce


Alanna the Lioness spends some time learning military and martial arts techniques from the Bazhir, a group of indigenous Tortallan people who make their home in the Great Southern Desert. This aptly named sweltering swath of desert definitely caused the fair-faced Alanna a few sunburns!


    • Tiara

    • 7 years ago

    I am literally banging my head on my desk because I didn’t think of Narnia! Excellent choice or The Golden Compass! God’s War is on my TBR pile though.

    1. Ha, a *literal* headdesk moment, nice! God’s War is sooo good, very brutal and interesting.

  1. I’d choose snow over sand any day, too! I don’t think I could handle 35°C temperatures year-round, though I’d pick the desert over the tropics, that’s true. I just hate the warm humidity, it’s really not my thing. And bugs get ENORMOUS in those tropical countries, ew.

    Yeah so we just have to find our White Witch, kill her, and we’ll be fine, huh? 🙂

    1. High five for cool temps! I would rather bundle up in a cocoon of blankets all the time than be horribly sweaty with frizzy hair. <— Neither comfortable nor cute. Haha, exactly! As Monty Python would say…she's a witch, she's a witch! 😉

  2. I like that you got two extremely cold and two extremely hot! You remind me that I need to be getting on in my reading of Alanna’s books! Making this list reminded me that I need to re-read His Dark Materials – it occurred to me that there was a snowy cold place in the books but that was the sum total of my memory:). Except the armored bear of course.

    1. Yay, glad you liked that! Ohhhhh Alanna is so awesome, I love her series arc. I’ll be curious to see what you think of the series as a whole once you’ve completed it. It’s pretty different from Pierce’s other series because it’s so darn short! Hahaha, yeah armoured bears are pretty unforgettable!

    • bookwraiths

    • 7 years ago

    Some excellent picks here. I’ve never read several of these choices, but they all look very good. Hurley’s book especially.

    1. Thank you! You know, I think you’d really like God’s War based on your love for the grimmer side of SFF. Kameron Hurley definitely knows how to build a unique world and compelling characters!

    • Tammy Sparks

    • 7 years ago

    I wish I had done TT this week, everyone is coming up with great examples! And you just reminded me how sad Philip Pullman’s books are 🙁

    1. Ugh I know!!!! I am still not over everything that happened in His Dark Materials, to be perfectly honest.

    • MaddalenaSpaceandSorcery

    • 7 years ago

    Agreed! Ice and cold might be uncomfortable, but when I read words like “scary sand beetles” I look at snow and ice with renewed fondness! 🙂
    Good, interesting picks!

    1. I had no idea there were so many warm weather/desert haters out there, glad to have some solidarity! 🙂 Yes, bugs are just too icky.

  3. I just picked up God’s War last weekend! Unlike you though, I’d rather the desert climate; I can’t stand the snow! Too Cold!

    1. HA! You will love God’s War, then…the desert heat is pretty palpable when you’re reading it. 🙂

  4. For including God’s War you get three points. Well done.

    1. Three points for Slytherin!

    • Lynn Williams

    • 7 years ago

    How could I forget the Golden Compass!! And Mr Tumnus – I love that cover.
    Lynn 😀

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