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!

PRINCESSES come in two main kinds:
1. Wimps.
2. Spirited and wilful. Spirited Princesses often disguise themselves as boys and invariably marry commoners of sterling worth. With surprising frequency these commoners turn out to be long-lost heirs to Kingdoms.

Finding princesses for the first category was pretty difficult, but that wasn’t surprising given that I usually pass on books were the princesses aren’t spirited and wilful. So this week there will be one princess from the first group, and three from the second. To the list!

The Princess BridePrincess Buttercup – The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern

Now don’t get me wrong, I love The Princess Bride, but Buttercup is kind of a wimp. Like, hello, your guy is going mano a mano (clawo?) with an ROUS and all you do is stand there? At least let loose some ear piercing shrieks, for god’s sake. The second Humperdink elevates her from farmer’s daughter to princess she loses her edge. In fact, the more I think about it, Buttercup doesn’t have much of a personality.

The Demon KingPrincess Raisa – The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima

As heir to the Queendom of the Fells, Princess Raisa is one of “the most powerful and the least free” people in her nation. But that doesn’t stop her from getting into all sorts of trouble, including exploring secret passage ways, impersonating a servant, and falling in with a street gain. Raisa belongs to the Gray Wolf line of queens, a line of women known for their romantic entanglements and dalliances. That’s one of the coolest things about her: she kisses all the boys and doesn’t lose her head about it. And there isn’t one character who calls her a derogatory name because of it. Whether that’s because Chima’s created a matriarchal world or because Raisa’s a badass whose peers fear her is up to you. Personally I think it’s a little from column a and a little from column b. Look for my review of this awesome book this weekend!

Dealing with DragonsPrincess Cimorene – Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

One of the most charming princesses on this list, Princess Cimorene HATES being a princess. She flouts convention at every turn, choosing adventure over propriety. Princesses don’t fence, learn Latin, or master cherries jubilee – it simply isn’t done! Except that Princess Cimorene does do these things, and more. She escapes an arranged marriage to a ridiculous man by running off to become a dragon’s princess; rather than wait to be captured by a dragon, Cimorene finds one herself. And that’s what really makes her such a star: Cimorene takes matters into her own hands and becomes an important player in her own story. Take that, Buttercup!

Trickster's_ChoicePrincesses Sarai and Dove – Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce

Leave it to Tamora Pierce to write about the most spirited, wilful, and freaking awesome princesses. Sarai and Dove are twice royal, as their Luarin (white) father belongs to the reigning nobility and their Rakka (indigenous) mother was a descendant of the Copper Isles’ original royal family. That’s right – they’re mixed race women with considerable power in a fantasy novel. Let that sink in for a second. As if that weren’t enough, these sisters also embody female empowerment. Sarai is a masterful swordswoman and even fights to the death to protect her family. The younger, more sedate Dove is a strategic genius, expertly navigating murky political waters. Her quiet composure and desire to protect the Rakka people from growing racial tensions makes Dove the most politically savvy princess I’ve ever read about.



    • bookwraiths

    • 8 years ago

    Wonderful list! I’ve really got to start reading more, because most of these princesses I’ve never heard of before. Something that means I need to stop looking at blogs and pick up the books, I guess. 🙂

    1. Oh, I know the feeling! It’s pretty much how I feel when I read your blog 😉

  1. Ah, princess Buttercup 🙂 Love that movie, but Buttercup definitely falls into the first category, lol.

    1. Right?! It wasn’t until the fourth or fifth time that I’d watched the movie (I’ve only read the book once!) that I realized how lame she was. Great hair though!

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    • 8 years ago

    And another list where I’ve read none of the books. I’m outing myself with Princess Bride here. I think I’m one of the few that has not read that. Tamora Pierce has been recommended to me because of her strong female characters. Sounds like that’s the case with Sarai and Dove!

    1. Never read Princess Bride? Not even the revised version with the good parts? For shame.

    2. Please tell me that you’ve seen the movie at least! You should definitely read the book too – it’s so much fun. I think I’ll try to feature a book by Tamora Pierce every week; she really is the epitome of books from my childhood.

  2. I have Trickster’s Choice – unread…now I need to get this Dealing with Dragons since this is the second time I’ve seen it today – adding it to the buy list.

    1. Have you read the Alana books? Trickster’s Choice & Queen are my favourites, but they’re better if you’ve read Pierce’s other series. They all build on each other. And Dealing with Dragons is the BEST!

  3. Princess Bride should have been a shoo-in…if I had read it 😛 That’s been on my list for a while!


    1. You should read it so we can gripe about Buttercup together! And flail over Wesley, of course.

  4. Oh and yes – the Princess Bride must need be reading that I do I do

    • Lynn Williams

    • 8 years ago

    My only read on here is the Princess Bride but I intend to improve that!!
    Lynn 😀

    1. Do it! It’s seriously such a fun book. Plus you’ll recognize quite a few tropes.;)

  5. THANK YOU!! I loved Raisa too. I’ve been hearing a lot of complaints about her somewhat recently, and I’ve been like . . . seriously? B/c Raisa was kind of awesome. So is The Princess Bride. In fact, I just got a leather-bound copy of it for my mom for her birthday 😉 Also–Dealing with Dragons was one of my very first favorite books.

    1. Raisa IS awesome – and I bet she gets better as the series progresses! Dang girl, that’s a great gift! Patricia C. Wrede is up there with Tamora Pierce in terms of my childhood favourites. Once you’ve read a few books by each author, this trope becomes easy. 😉

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