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 TYRANTS:

TYRANTS are like bad KINGS, only truly atrocious…Tourists can tell when a country is ruled by a tyrant because the road to the main city will be lined with impaled corpses.

This was a really fun trope, and it gave me a chance to pull out some epic fantasy! Behold:

Wizards_first_ruleDarken Rahl – The Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind
In classic fantasy fashion, Lord Rahl amasses an army to take over the Midlands, ruling through intimidation, fear, and dark magic. In an effort to suppress rebellion, Rahl begins killing powerful figures like wizards and Confessors. But how will he escape now that the prophesied Seeker has arisen? I feel like this is the guilty pleasure read of all those high fantasy fans out there. You guys loved this series once upon a time, didn’t you? ADMIT IT!
Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixDolores Umbridge – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
So maybe she’s not royalty, but Umbridge rules Hogwarts for a time, acting as the standard cruel and oppressive type that we associate with tyranny. She suppresses dissent, enforces her traditionalist values, and resorts to torture to punish her subjects. Everyone always thinks that Lord Voldemort is the best villain in this series, but I’ve always thought it was Umbridge. Her tyranny had no point – it was just petty. At least Voldemort had vision, albeit an evil vision born of whacked magical eugenics.
Trickster's_ChoiceKing Oron Rittevon – Daughter of the Lioness duology by Tamora Pierce
What’s worse than your regular, run of the mill tyrant? A tyrant who’s paranoid and likely insane! The Rittevon line is infamous for their tendency towards mental instability and Oron is no exception. He routinely has his enemies executed for “treason,” displaying their bodies on pikes in the major harbour of the Copper Isles to warn any would-be conspirators of his harsh recriminations. When Oron becomes suspicious of the Balitang family, he banishes them to the wilderness of the Copper Isles, setting in motion events that will change the course of his rulership forever.
StormdancerShogun Yoritomo – Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff
Shogun Yorimoto rules his court through fear and intimidation, which is basically the first tenet of tyrants. At all times he’s little more than one perceived insult away from executing one of his subjects. Yoritomo makes outrageous demands of his subjects and employees, reacting swiftly and cruelly if and when they fail. He’s also got a weird interest in his sister Aisha that made me very uncomfortable. Tyranny and implied incest? Gross.


    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    • 8 years ago

    And ….. another Tamora Pierce reminder!! 🙂 Nice list! 🙂 I think Umbridge has been on every list I’ve looked at so far, mine included! She’s a perfect choice for Tyrant!

    1. The subtext: READ THIS BOOK DAMN IT!!!!!! I just can’t help myself. 🙂 Just thinking about Umbridge makes me rage. How someone like that didn’t get inspected by child protection services I’ll never know. Maybe they don’t have those institutions in the wizarding world.

  1. those are some excellent choices though i haven’t read the Tamora Pierce one!

    1. I feel like 3/4 of my Tough Traveling posts are just me saying “y’all need to read Tamora Pierce!!” DO IT.

  2. Wow, apparently I made a glaring oversight when I failed to include Umbridge on my list! Yes it seems like everyone has her on their list…except me!

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    1. That just means that you’re an original thinker. 😉 She is pretty dang tyrannical though!

    • bookwraiths

    • 8 years ago

    Great list. I had one of my reviewer friends recommend “Stormdancer”, and now it sounds like it has a great tyrant to read about. I have to get to this one.

    1. It’s really good if you can make it through the ridiculously info-dumpy part at the beginning!

  3. I will admit to having read the entire first arc of Goodkind’s series. I am not proud of this fact.

    1. Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery, so you’re well on your way!!

  4. I’m having some difficulty recalling Umbridge, perhaps a Harry Potter re-read is in order. And, Stormdancer has been on my wishlist for entirely too long, so thanks for the reminder!

    1. She’s sooooo evil it’s ridiculous. She’s introduced in The Order of the Phoenix, which many people repressed, so that could be why you don’t remember her. 😉

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