“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 the trope is quest objects!
QUEST OBJECTS can be various, but are quite strictly defined by the Rules. They are:
1. Material Objects. Cups, jewels, orbs, rings, scepters, stones, and swords.
2. Places. Hidden Kingdomes, islands, old ruined cities, stones, temples, valleys and fountains.
3. Persons. Apprentices, hardship, princes.
4. Knowledge. Usually for birthright or magic or both.
|The Dominion Jewel – Lioness Rampant by Tamora PierceAre you tired of Tamora Pierce yet? I’m not! In the final book of the Song of the Lioness quartet, Alana goes on a quest to recover the Dominion Jewel. Legend says that when it’s in the hands of a natural ruler, it gives them unlimited power for good or evil. Alana retrieves the jewel and gives it to King Jonathan, who uses it to defend Tortall from magical attack. Of course, that whole unlimited power thing comes with a catch: the power that the Jewel requires saps the land of its energy, and Tortall subsequently experiences a brutal famine.
|Horcruxes – Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingDoes this need a spoiler tag? Someone tell me if you think it does, but since this series has been over for such a long time (*sobs*) I think it’s okay to include. Harry learns about Horcruxes in this volume, and Dumbledore tasks him with tracking down all of the Horcruxes that Voldemort made. Slytherin’s locket is the primary goal in The Half-Blood Prince, but basically the whole seventh book is spent questing for Horcruxes. The cool thing about these quest objects is that they’re both animate and inanimate, fulfilling several of the trope requirements at once!
|Roger – The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Here we have another animate quest object in the lovable sidekick, Roger. When Lyra’s best friend Roger is kidnapped by the Gobblers, she vows that she’ll rescue him. Her trip through the arctic tundra of the North is spurred by her need to save him and all the other children who’ve been taken captive. While Lyra’s quest is ostensibly to recover Roger, it is also about recovering/protecting the innocence of childhood. It’s good stuff.
|The Mortal Cup – City of Bones by Cassandra ClareIf you want an example of how my reading tastes have evolved, look no further than the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. I used to be OBSESSED with these books. I still enjoy them, but not in the crazed way I used to – although I did adore Clare’s Infernal Devices trilogy. But I digress. The angel Raziel gifted the Shadowhunters with the Mortal Cup, an object of power that can turn mundanes (normal humans) into Shadowhunters. Of course, it doesn’t always work and is incredibly dangerous in the wrong hands, so it’s been hidden away. Our heroines/heroes must recover the Cup before Valentine, an evil Shadowhunter who would use it to create an army.