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? LARGE MAN
LARGE MAN…He is very calm, very strong, and not at all stupid. In some cases he will have been a BLACKSMITH, which accounts for the ease with which he severs the chains in the Galley.
My largest challenge this week was trying to limit myself to just one character per author. I also really wanted to include a woman! Just because, but the only one I could think of wasn’t my first choice (or even my second) for the author, so I will save her as an honorable mention. So here it goes:
- Jean Tannen from The Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch – Jean is the perfect example of this. We seem him as a child when he was just large, not necessarily all that strong, but prone to rage and actually quite book smart. I love the evolution of his character as his exterior transforms to one that is quite intimidating, especially when he is wielding the wicked sisters, but his personality remains more soft and gentle.
- Logan Ninefingers from The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie – Ahhh …. the good ol’ Bloody Nine. Seriously intimidating in a fight, and he basically goes a bit berserk. (My husband always referred to him as the incredible hulk for his blood thirsty transformation that allowed him to continue to clean up the field no matter what the odds). But, when he’s not in a blood crazed rampage, he is more of a gentle giant. Hard not to send some love in the Bloody Nine’s direction.
- The Hound (Sandor Clegane) from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin – Ah, this large man is quite the damaged soul. He may not be as large as his brother (The Mountain), but he is still massive. And fierce. As the series goes on, we also get to see that he is not just a vacant character that hands out beat downs. He’s much more complex than one might think from a first introduction. He often has words of wisdom for King Joffrey, even if Joffrey is not quite capable of perceiving them. Later he also has words of wisdom for Arya.
- Hadrian Blackwater from Riyria by Michael J. Sullivan – Wait, did the blurb in the guide talk about a blacksmith? I would be remiss if I did not give at least one example of a large man with a blacksmith background, then wouldn’t I? In addition to being taught in the forge by his father while growing up, he was also taught to fight in a way that made him excel. He was a successful mercenary across the lands as well as a famed pit fighter.
- The Nuban from The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence – A large, solid man of little words. Yep. That’s the Nuban. And while he didn’t speak often, you knew he gave more thought and had more of a conscious than those around him.
Honorable Mention: Brienne of Tarth from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin. Men have made the mistake of dismissing her because of her gender. I’d recommend taking her fighting skills seriously.