“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.
NECROMANCY is, in Fantasyland, the art of raising the dead, and you need a specialized MAGIC USER to
Necromancer – Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
This classic satire was published in 1726, which just goes to show that necromancy is a pretty long-standing fantasy trope. The titular Gulliver encounters a necromancer who helps him communicate with the spirits of the dead in order to learn about the past(s) of several cultures. There’s also a bizarre little interlude where he eats a meal prepared by a famous dead chef.
Chloe is a 15-year old necromancer who struggles with controlling her powers. She was subjected to genetic experiments in utero by the nefarious Edison Group, who sought to augment the powers of supernatural creatures. As a result of the experiment, Chloe is incredibly powerful – and struggles to control her newly discovered gifts. They begin manifesting very suddenly, and there’s a disturbing incident where she accidentally raises a corpse in her sleep.
Sabriel – Sabriel by Garth Nix
Both good and evil necromancy is at work in Garth Nix’s Sabriel. The evil necromancers raise the dead and compel them to do their bidding, while the good necromancers seek to put them down. The Abhorsen is a magical position held by a necromancer who uses a bandolier of bells to put these risen dead to rest. Sabriel’s father is the Abhorsen, and she herself is a powerful necromancer. Nix’s spin on necromancy breathes new life into the trope, particularly with the use of bells as necromantic tools.
Dr. Hix – Making Money by Terry Pratchett
Dr. Hix is a professor at Unseen University, where he is the Head of the Department of Post Moretm Connections. Which is not necromancy, because necromancy is officially banned in Ankh-Morpork. And he is not a necromancer! Those guys are plebes. Just ignore the fading letters “NEC..M” on his door. They’re obviously not related to necromancy in any way.