Tough Traveling – Large Man

June 12, 2014




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.



  • The_Blade_Itself_mmpb_ALogan 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.



  • 12844597The 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.


  • RiyriaHadrian 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.



  • 12891107The 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.






  • Nathan (@reviewbarn) June 12, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Ninefingers is my favorite character in any series ever. That is not named Granny Weatherwax of course. But she isn’t a large man.

    Your inclusion of Brienne makes me realize I should have added Agnus Nitt or perhaps Bobbie from The Expanse series.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Tough Traveling – Large ManMy Profile

  • Mogsy June 12, 2014 at 8:43 am

    Yay for the ASoIaF mentions! And see, you and Nathan both remembered Jean – which just shames me even more that I didn’t.

    And I included Ninefingers as well! In a way… 😛
    Mogsy recently posted…Tough Traveling: Large ManMy Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) June 12, 2014 at 12:13 pm

      Jean was the first one to come to mind for me with this. And then every single character in ASoIaF that was larger than Tyrion. And then all the Northmen. It was hard to pick just 5 (or 6). 🙂
      Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Tough Traveling – Large ManMy Profile

  • Jessica @ Rabid Reads June 12, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I completely forgot about the hound! I still stand by Perrin Aybara from WoT. He will always be my favorite blacksmith 😉
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  • Lynn June 12, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    This is a top list! I love that you got The Nuban – I thought about him but went for Snorri for the Viking touch! I absolutely love Jean Tannen – he is definitely my book boyfriend! He’s a menace with the Sisters but then he’s all gentle – and he reads!! Hell yes.
    Unbelievably – I have read no Abercrombie (I know *hangs head*). Mainly because I let somebody have all three books to read and never got them back!! Never again. Anyway, I’ve bought the first three again and I’m going to start very soon – Joe Abercrombie is actually coming to my library in a few weeks just before Half King is released and I have tickets! I’m so excited so I have to get my reading head on. This ninefingers sounds like a very interesting character. 😀
    Lynn 😀
    Lynn recently posted…Large Man! (Yes, that is the title – the end!)My Profile

    • Lisa (@TenaciousReader) June 15, 2014 at 11:45 am

      Oh! How exciting to go to a Abercrombie signing. 🙂 Really hope you enjoy his books when you do read them. It took me a little bit to get into First Law, but once I did, I was hooked. Love every single one of his books 🙂
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  • Tabitha (Not Yet Read) June 12, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    Ok based on all the books you chose this definitely looks like a trope seen heavily in epic fantasy. And now that I think of it – I think that really is the case.
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  • Rabindranauth June 13, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Nice choices! Only book here I haven’t read is The Lies of Locke Lamora 😀
    Rabindranauth recently posted…The Tough Guide to Large MenMy Profile

  • Carmel @ Rabid Reads June 13, 2014 at 8:51 am

    As soon as I saw this week’s topic I immediately thought of the Hound (especially after that episode that featured his fight with the Prince of Dorne). And, yay for Brienne!
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