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 topic is MIDDLE AGE HEROES:

This hero stuff is usually a young person’s game.  And, occasionally, a grizzled old veteran can get involved.  It is a true rarity for someone to join the good fight for Fantasyland living in that in between ground.

A tougher topic this week! I tried to zero in on characters who were central to the narrative, or at least a prominent secondary character.

BeguilementDag – The Sharing Knife by Lois McMaster Bujold


Dag is definitely a hero, and he is definitely older than Fawn, a young woman whom he rescues on the road one day. While I can’t remember his exact age, I believe he’s in his late thirties. Proof that an older dude can be not only a badass, but a viable (and hot) love interest for a younger protagonist.

GunslingerRoland – The Dark Tower series by Stephen King


At least a decade older than his…er, compatriots, Roland is not only fighting the good fight – he’s doing so as the number one name in the game. An amazing gunslinger and a very capable hero, definitely not someone you want to be fighting against.

MistbornKelsier – Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson


Yet again, another middle aged guy who we’re not totally sure how old he is, but we’re led to understand that he is considerably older than the young scamp Vin. Kelsier has seen some shit, and he’s got a lot of experience breaking the rules. But unfortunately some people never completely mature…

Outlander by Diana GabaldonClaire – Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon


So clearly it’s a bit of a stretch to include Outlander for an SFF meme, but there’s a smattering of time travel so…I’ll allow it because Claire is too awesome to exclude! She’s smart, she’s tough, she’s compassionate, she’s lusty – and she’s middle aged. A truly great protagonist!


  1. How could I have forgotten Dag! Kelsier is also a great choice.

  2. Totally forgot Kelsier, and the others I haven’t read… Bujold is ALL the lists this week, I really need to get on reading some of her work.

  3. I’m reading the Dark Tower series right now; I can’t believe I didn’t think of Roland right away!

    • Lynn Williams

    • 7 years ago

    Kelsier is a great choice. I haven’t read any Bujold which is silly because I think I have two of her books.
    Lynn 😀

  4. Oh, nice pick with Claire. But OH MY GOD is she really “middle-aged”?? How old is she, anyway? 32? Am I going to be middle-aged soon? Aaaahh! /end freakout.

    Have you read a lot of Bujold’s books? I only read The Curse of Chalion and I disliked it SO MUCH. But I’ve been seeing some of her books pop up on these lists from time to time and she seems to be well-liked in the community!

  5. I think Outlander totally counts as an SFF pick though I am the only person on the planet that really doesn’t like Claire. She’s a good pick for this though. The Sharing Knife series is one of LMB’s that I haven’t read because I’ve heard some negative things about it…You liked it though? HIgh five on Kelsier!

  6. Oh, The Sharing Knife! I was just talking about this book as well as Curse of Chalion on Nathan’s blog. Bujold seems to like her May-December relationships in her fantasy novels. IIRC, Dag was actually in his late 40s (though he says he looks younger because he’s a lakewalker) because I remember how freaked out Fawn’s family was when he told them his real age. And agreed! Dag is not only proof that an older dude can be a badass, he’s proof that older dude with a disability can be badass…and HOT!


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