Tough Traveling is a weekly tour of fantasy tropes spotted by the Fantasy Review Barn. I first came across this feature on the Bibliosanctum and Elizabeth’s blog, Oboechica – I felt like joining in today:
Each Thursday, inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland’ we have in hand, we shall tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.
Everyone has a mother. Including people in fantasyland. Just in time to be slightly early for Mother’s Day.
Tenar from Tehanu:
Tenar first appeared as a quiet and sheltered figure in The Tombs of Atuan. It’s rare to meet a character again after such a lengthy time-jump in a series but I loved seeing through her eyes as a weathered and wise figure in Tehanu. Tenar’s children have already grown up but she takes in the abandoned and scarred Tehanu by chance in this story.
The child’s hair was fine, warm, sweet-smelling. She lay curled up in the warmth of Tenar’s arms, dreaming. What wrong could she be? Wronged, wronged beyond all repair but not wrong. Not lost, not lost, not lost. Tenar held her and lay still and set her mind on the light of her dreaming, the gulfs of bright air, the name of the dragon, the name of the star, Heart of the Swan, the Arrow, Tehanu.
Sabriel from The Old Kingdom/Abhorsen series:
*Minor spoilers if you haven’t read the Abhorsen/Old Kingdom books. Look away!* In between re-establishing a kingdom and laying the walking dead to sleep, she raises teenagers (and royals) with a sense of responsibility. Sabriel has always struck me as an amazing heroine.
Kyoko from Fruits Basket:
Yep, I included one of the many mothers in fantasy novels who have passed into the next world (a common trope in YA Fantasy). I liked how the manga delved into Kyoko’s backstory – from joining a youth gang to meeting someone outside of that destructive circle who changes her perspective on life. From there, she left to build her own sense of self and resilience. Kyoko also acted as a foster mother/friend to many of Tohru’s young friends. She passed on that capacity to love and resilience to Tohru (who may strike you as a flighty character at first.)
*Posted on a Friday but I’m sure it’s Thursday – somewhere in the world.