Tough Traveling – Fairgrounds



This feature originated Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn. Here’s his outline for what it is and how it works.

Each Thursday, our copy of ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland’ in hand, we shall tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.

A feature/meme started here at Fantasy Review Barn, Tough Traveling is yet another excuse to make lists.  Because I am lazy, I decided to just grab entries from the wonderful book by Diana Wynne Jones, The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.  A book that every fantasy lover should own.

My post goes up every Thursday (well, late Wednesday really), but the linky will be open for one week from first post so feel free to join in anytime!

Here is this weeks theme:

FAIRGROUND.  This is like a MARKET, except it is much , much bigger and planted somewhere right in the middle of nowhere so that everyone can get to it.  There will be rows and rows of TENTS and BOOTHS…

This one really put the TOUGH in Tough Traveling for me. For some reason, I just kept coming up with markets (like in Vaes Dothrak ASoIaF or the faerie market in Stardust). Then there was Joyland by Stephen King that I kept wanting to put in here for some reason. I guess I hear fairgrounds, and I think Carnival, so I think Joyland by Stephen King or Something Wicked this Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. And there’s some book where someone buys a hair ribbon for someone, but I can’t even remember who or why much less what book it was. But I do remember some guy bought some girl a hair ribbon! And I think it was yellow. But not sure if it was at a fairground. So I passed on those failed ideas and tried to come up with temporary fairgrounds. Here one day, gone the next type of thing. I am still not convinced these all count, but here it is:


  • MothandSparkbyAnneLeonardSummer Fair from Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard (review) – Ahhh, yes. Once again, goods of all kinds: jewelry, food, trinkets. Entertainment of all kinds: acrobats, fire jugglers, musicians, conjurers performing spectacularly magical tricks, mechanical monkeys. A quote from the book likely sums this up better than I ever could:”

This was the fair, a world of lights and colors and frenetic movement. one came to exchange truth for illusion, to relinquish thought to fantasy.



  • 11543195Middlefest Fair from Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (review) – The storms are quiet and darkeyes and lighteyes come together to find dueling, gambling, games, markets with goods from near and far, exotic and festive sights. Pretty standard fantasy fair, so I feel pretty confident this one counts.





  • imageThe Quidditch World Cup Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. OK, maybe this is a campground, not a fair ground. Like I said, I had a hard time this week 🙂 But, rows and rows of tents! And not just ordinary tents, but magical tents that provide room and luxuries that us mere muggles are denied when we go camping. People definitely come from




  • imageWestern and Eastern Markets at Vaes Dothrak from Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)  by George R. R. Martin – OK, yes. These are markets and the description says not markets. I even started out saying I wasn’t going to include them. BUT, since these are the only markets for all the Dothraki people, they still travel to visit there. I think they are different than a standard market for this reason. They are kind of like a permanent fairgrounds. Maybe?



  • TheNightCircusbyErinMorgensternLe Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams) from The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (review) – (might be more of a carnival, but, well, it’s something). This book contains the most magical description of a fair/circus atmosphere, everything from sights, sounds and scents. A tent where everything inside is made of ice, another of playing cards, another that has a tree of wishes, another scents of memories

“The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.”







12 thoughts on “Tough Traveling – Fairgrounds”

    1. I haven’t read WoT (it’s on my list, my very looong list, of books I really should read). This one was really hard! Hoping I do a bit better next week 🙂 And if they were all easy, guess it would get boring 🙂

  1. Standard fantasy fair! I love how this week is bringing out the fun puns in all of us! XD

    And yay, another Moth and Spark mention! That was a pretty nice scene. And ARGGH Middlefest Fair, now it’s this one AND the scene in Blood Song that I didn’t think to recall at all, what’s wrong with me! 😛
    Mogsy recently posted…Tough Traveling: FairgroundMy Profile

    1. The fair in Moth and Spark was really memorable for me. But, I have to confess to taking a bit of time to place it with the book, was quite happy when I did. It’s quite hard (at least for me) to remember these. There’s another one I keep thinking of but can’t place what book its from. I think some of the characters worked in a castle kitchen and someone was forbidden to go (or unable). I know its there, I’ll remember it eventually, just not in time for the list. 🙂

        1. hmmm… Nope. Definitely not Pern. Maybe the same thing happened there, it does sound like a something that would happen often enough that I can’t believe I can’t think of a book I read where that has it. But I am sure there is AT LEAST one 🙂

  2. I can’t believe that I didn’t think of Words of Radiance – I’m reading the book at the moment!!!
    I’m afraid I cheated quite considerably here. I put in Something Wicked – which definitely has a fair however – The Troupe is more a travelling act (although it could have stalls, you never know!) I also used Stardust which I think may have been described as a faerie fair but was more like a market. I could think of a couple of derelict fairs but they’re probably even weaker links!
    I hope you remember this book with the ribbon/fair/castle, etc, – you need to let us know what it is. I’m intrigued now because it sounds so familiar – it’s the ribbon that’s making me think I know which book you mean.
    Lynn 😀
    Lynn recently posted…Roll up, roll up…the Tough Guide to Travelling through fantasy..My Profile

    1. Your choices are really good! It’s been 20 years since I’ve read Something Wicked, so don’t remember it very well. And Stardust? Reading your post, it *definitely* counts. I didn’t remember it only happens every 9 years 🙂 Part of the fun is seeing everyone’s different choices. Still working on the ribbon book. Hmmm…..

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