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 HIGH PRIEST:

HIGH PRIEST is nearly always evil, either on his own account or on behalf of the dark lord.

Why is it that High Priests are so often evil? Must be that whole power thing. I managed to sneak some good guys in there though!

Mists of AvalonHigh Priestess Viviane – The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Gender swap! The High Priestess Viviane is also known as the Lady of the Lake, which is the title given to the high priestess, an exclusively female position. She’s clever and cunning, and manipulates her daughter into seducing Arthur…which you know ends poorly if you’re familiar with Arthurian legend.

There’s a lot of controversy surrounding MZB with the accusations of sexual abuse that have emerged over the last year, especially disturbing given the sexual violence in her novels. Here’s some sources of information on that if you’re interested (TW for sexual abuse).
MistbornLord Prelan Tevidian – Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Tevidian is the High Priest of the Canton of Orthodoxy, which is the corrupt religious institution of the Lord Ruler. He’s also one of the Lord Ruler’s lackeys, so he’s definitely not a priest for the good guys.
Lioness RampantMithran Priests – Alanna the Lioness (and all Tortall Universe series) by Tamora Pierce
Gods and goddesses are an essential component of Tortallan culture, and no god is more powerful or revered than Mithros. Students of Mithros either become regular ol’ priests or priest-mages who fight in service of the sun god and for the kingdom. The Mithran Priests are an exclusively male clergy.
ASoS_UK_Current_Part_IHigh Septon – A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
The High Septon is basically the Westerosi equivalent of the Pope, the ultimate spiritual leader in the kingdom. Typicall the Septons in ASOIAF have been baddies and are subject to rather untimely deaths (just like every other character in the series).

Comments(18)

    • Rabindranauth

    • 7 years ago

    Internet High Five for the High Septon! I have no clue what you’re talking about with Mistborn. WHICH MEANS IT’S TIME FOR A RE-READ.

    1. Whoop! Hahaha, enjoy the re-read. I’m sure it’ll hold up to your expectations!

  1. Ha! So true! Also this guy (not from a fantasy novel, but still) : http://media.tumblr.com/3c83f54cb5a55227b03f87924636a88b/tumblr_inline_mlc9c5uPuR1qz4rgp.gif

    1. Hahaha, epic! I love the .gif

  2. High Septon is pretty popular right now.

    I don’t remember the Mistborn character at all. I don’t remember alot of those books to be honest. Maybe because I lost interest in the main story by book three and only cared about the background.

    1. Mistborn’s certainly got a lot of tropes kicking around. Hmmm…hopefully I’ll be more invested in the series than you were!

  3. I skipped this week’s topic, but now I kinda wish I hadn’t. I really like your list! And I see you added a Tamora Pierce book 🙂

    1. Thanks, Kaja! It’s my sworn duty to always include a Tamora Pierce book wherever possible. 😉

    • Lynn Williams

    • 7 years ago

    Haha – Tamora – You did it!!!
    Plus, I knew Mistborn was one but I couldn’t come up with the name! Drat!!!!
    Lynn 😀

    1. Always 😉 And there’s no way I would’ve been able to remember the priest from Mistborn if it weren’t for the fact that I finished it less than two weeks ago!

  4. We have three books in common this week, which is I think a record! Usually I have read none of yours 🙂

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    1. I know, I saw lots of familiar book covers around on the T.T. posts this week. Guess there are fewer high priests out there than I thought!

  5. Mistborn – he’s like the cross between high priest and dark lord ….

    1. Too true! That whole religious system gave me the wiggins. It was nice to know that there were other religions that had a little less bad juju associated with them.

  6. Aaaww, I’ve been on a roll these past few weeks, but alas I’ve been stumped by the high priest. All good things must some to an end I suppose. I’m making GoT and Harry Potter my go-to answers from now on for whenever I’m in doubt.

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

    1. Yes, Harry Potter and GoT are perfect picks. Add in LOTR and then you’ve got the trifecta. This was a pretty difficult week, I must say!

  7. Like how you included info on MZB sexual abuse allegations – think it needs to be known. I loved The Firebrand (which also has high priestesses!) and The Mists of Avalon and feel so conflicted about it now.

    1. Thanks! I think it’s pretty important to be open about controversial issues in SFF publishing (and all publishing). The whole thing has definitely changed my perspective on MZB’s writing, that’s for sure!

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