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 NEW BEGINNINGS:

A new leaf, a new life, a complete change of pace for a character in fantasyland is how most stories start.  Bad people get a second chance, farm kids leave the farm, or a soldier gets a new post.  From there adventure awaits!

I found this topic surprisingly difficult at first – I was a bit concerned that all the entries on my list would be for “farm boys” leaving home. But then I stopped being obtuse and realized just how many books start with new beginnings…Let’s get into the list.

The Princess BrideWesley – The Princess Bride by William Goldman


The original farm boy, Wesley departs to seek his fortune so that he may return and win the hand of the beautiful – but shockingly devoid of personality – Buttercup. But he returns quite the changed man, scaling cliffs and dueling master swordsman without breaking a sweat. Talk about your new beginnings!

The Book of Three by Lloyd AlexanderTaran – The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander


Life is pretty simple for lowly assistant pig-keeper Taran, until one of his pigs turns out to be a little more er, special, than the others. Soon enough pig-boy (actual derogatory nickname in the book) is free of the farm and off on an epic adventure. If only he could be free of that damn pig.

Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsThe Malfoys (especially Narcissa) – Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


Nothing guarantees you a chance at a new life like betraying your evil overlord, amirite? Narcissa Malfoy certainly bet on that when she chose not to reveal very important information about Mr. Potter to said overlord. She and her little baby Draco didn’t do too badly for themselves, all things considered.

Dreamer's PoolBlackthorn and Grim – Dreamer’s Pool by Juliet Marillier


When they escape from prison Blackthorn and Grim get a second chance at life. Both of them have experienced horror and hardship, and both want to start anew – although Blackthorn’s new life plan is perhaps less noble than Grim’s. One way or another, these characters definitely get new beginnings.


    • Lynn Williams

    • 7 years ago

    Nice call with the Malfoys and I love that you got the Princess Bride. Nice picks.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Thanks, Lynn! I always choose Wesley when he’s an option. 😉

  1. I’d forgotten how horrible the cover for Deathly Hallows is in this edition. I got the “adult” cover for my hardback and I’m not sorry I did! 😀 But the Malfoys are a good pick for this week, though I’m not entirely sure they deserve a happy ending.

    And Taran!! I never finished this series but I enjoyed the first three books very much.

    Off topic (slightly): I ordered Daughter of the Forest yesterday so I’ll be reading Marillier soon, finally! 🙂

    1. Sigh, I know. Those covers are awful but I still kind of love them because they’re the ones I grew up with. The horrible claymation look of the character’s faces comforts me, LOL. Too right, the Malfoys are an interesting bunch. I read somewhere that the interesting thing about the Malfoys is that they’re not really moralistic – they care more about each other than any one ideology, even the hatred of the Death Eaters. Not sure if I agree with that and bbviously they’re still despicable, but interesting nonetheless.

      I read the Prydain books with my dad, they’re really fun! I always loved Eilonwy and her sass.

      YAY Daughter of the Forest! I really loved that book. Okay, I’ve mentioned this before but TW for sexual assault in that one. I was not prepared for it and the scene really disturbed me.

  2. Obtuseness should always be encouraged. Wesley’s a good pick – I did think of him but he somehow didn’t make it onto my list, not sure why. The Malfoys are also a nice choice:).

    1. Ha, glad to hear you think so! Thank you, I felt pretty pleased with myself including two groups of attractive blondes, haha. But seriously, Wesley is the best!

    • Maraia

    • 7 years ago

    Hi, I found your blog through Kaja’s, since I always see you commenting. 😀

    Nice choices! Dreamer’s Pool fits this theme so well. I love how Blackthorn and Grim rebuild their lives, even if things don’t go the way they would prefer. I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes in Tower of Thorns. I was not a fan of Juliet Marillier’s most recent YA trilogy, so it was a relief to see some of her old charm coming back.

    1. Welcome! 🙂 I’ve seen you commenting there a time or two, as well. 😉

      Thank you! UGH I love Dreamer’s Pool so much. Blackthorn and Grim as such an ‘odd couple’ for two close friends, but their relationship works so well. I haven’t read any of Marillier’s YA stuff, but I loved Daughter of the Forest. It has that lyricism that I associate with her books. Although there is a very disturbing scene of sexual assault, so if you haven’t read it be aware of that.

        • Maraia

        • 7 years ago

        I know, they’re so cute together. (Even though they’d hate me for saying that, haha.)

        I’ve actually read all of Marillier’s books! I read the original Sevenwaters trilogy back in middle school and fell in love, so I’m determined to read everything she writes. The second two books in the Bridei Chronicles are fantastic, the two Light Isles books are pretty good, Heart’s Blood is great. The second Sevenwaters trilogy is written very differently than the original one (more like modern YA fantasy than Marillier’s signature style), but I still enjoyed seeing some of the characters again. I liked Cybele’s Secret but not Wildwood Dancing, and I was bored out of my MIND reading the first to Shadowfell books, though the third one surprised me.

  3. I love your choice of Dreamer’s Pool. She literally gets a new lease on life!


    1. Thanks! Blackthorn definitely fits the whole “new beginnings” mould to a tee. 🙂

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