Tough Traveling – Immortals
Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the mastermind of Tough Traveling. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, it’s a weekly feature on Thursdays where we dig around to come up with examples of common tropes in fantasy, using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. Nathan has invited one and all to join in the fun, so feel free to come up with your own lists and add the link on Nathan’s weekly post, which will also contain (unleash) the next weeks theme. So let the fun begin …
This weeks theme? Immortals.
IMMORTALS are fairly common in Fantasyland. There are three kinds:
- GODDESSES AND GODS, who exist forever unless people stop believing in them.
- ELVES or DARK LORDS, who live forever unless someone kills them.
Good God, there are a lot of books with Gods in them! I have noticed many new releases with them, but was surprised by how many I have read as well. I think these lists could go on forever so the challenge this week was not so much coming up with ideas, but deciding when to stop! So I made this list rather quick taking the first ones to come to mind because I was afraid if I started to ponder over the choices, or digging around in my books this post could take quite a while, and my indecisive nature wasn’t up for that this week. I really look forward to seeing the other lists for this one because I have a feeling there should be a good amount of diversity (except maybe American Gods, that one might show up on everyone’s list. It’s just begging for it).
- The Gods featured in American Gods by Neil Gaiman – I almost feel like this one is cheating because its so obvious. American Gods will take you on a journey where you can meet a plethora of diverse Gods, some of which you have heard of, others, maybe not.
- Ascendants and Gods in Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson (review of Book 1: Gardens of the Moon)- There is not just one, but two types of immortals in this. I have only read Gardens of the Moon, so I may not read enough of the series to be 100% of the nature of Ascendants, but given their name and what I have read, they seem to transcend death and are immortal. I’m not sure if they are on their way to being Gods, or are just another type of immortal. The Gods, are well, Gods, much like in the rest of the books.
- Gods in The Powder Mage series by Brian McClellan (reviews) – How do you keep gunpowder snorting magic junkies in check? Through in a couple of immortal Gods to mess with them, either to help or to destroy, whatever. But there has to be something that can potentially crush a Powder Mage, and what better choice than meddling Gods?
- Steelheart in Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (review) – In Steelheart, we are introduced to Epics, humans who gained super powers after Calamity. Steelheart, the Epic with the ability to turn everything into steel, is the epitome of the super-villains in this book and is said to be invincible. Does invincibility equate to immortality? I think if you are a super-hero (or in this case a super-villain), perhaps it does. The ability to not die and continue their reign of terror? Yeah, I’ll call him an immortal.
- Gods in Moon’s Artifice by Tom Lloyd (review) – This whole book starts with the appearance of a God who presents a riddle to be solved (in addition to a mystery). The Gods in this generally keep to themselves only seem to get involved when they have a vested interest (or maybe feel like toying with people?)
- Elatians from Green Rider series by Kristen Britain (review of Book 5: Mirror Sight)– this is my example for the Elven Immortal. Elatians are essentially an elven race that can be killed, but it rarely happens. They lives where they rarely have need to morn and can’t quite relate to the rapid life cycle of us mere humans.
- Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin (review) – Vampires were not specifically listed in the guide, but there was mention of Elves or Dark Lords that live until you kill them, as well as humans with magical abilities. Not sure which category of immortal Vampires fall under but it seems to me they should count. I mean, technically, they are dead like zombies, but at the same time, they are immortal unless you kill them via wooden stake or some other such vampire obliertating technique. So, with that, I am offering up my favorite vampire book,
- Holder of the Black Ka’kari in The Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks – this *may* be a stretch as immortality is not within the user themselves, but from the magic held in the black ka’kari (a magic ball that can bring the person back to life if killed). But anyone who has it essentially can not die, at least not permanently. Got to love a type of immortality that can essentially be stolen!