Tough Traveling – Tyrants


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? TYRANTS

TYRANTS are like bad KINGS, only truly atrocious…Tourists can tell when a country is ruled by a tyrant because the road to the main city will be lined with impaled corpses.

20455255-2Zadar from Age of Iron by Angus Watson – This King not only has an agenda of pretty much dominance (image a dale that says “DOMINATE” instead of “EXTERMINATE”) … although in this situation, exterminate is actually one of his favorite forms of dominating. He has a twisted little side kick druid (mage) that gets his jollies on torturing and gutting his victims, all of which are compliments of his King.



20646731*Someone* in Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley – someone has been invading Saiduan. They are destroying entire cities in the process. Sounds like a Tyrant coming to conquer the land. But, I won’t say who or why, for that, you’ll have to read this one.




140671-2The Lady from The Black Company by Glen Cook – Ruler of the The Empire, she is ruthless and cold. She will use magic to gain loyalty and is rumored to have killed her own twin. Not someone you want to mess with.





TheWhitefireCrossingbyCourtneySchaferRuslan from The Whitefire Crossing by Courtney Schafer – OK, Ruslan may not have ruled a nation, but he is quite a powerful mage he certainly ruled over Kiran (his mentoree) in a tyrannical way. I don’t know what else to say about him other than he is twisted, obsessive, possessive and has some serious magic to aid him in his pursuits.




what-should-hbo-doThe Mad King (King Aerys Targaryen) from ASoIaF by George R. R. Martin – Right, to earn the label of Mad King in Westeros, you know he has to be a seriously messed up ruler. This King’s madness was ultimately the downfall of the Targaryen rule. If only he’d been a little more kingly and a little less tyrannical maniac, we might not have this whole game of thrones thing going on in Westeros. Guess I’m glad he was a bit psycho 🙂 (I almost went with Lord Bolton here …. but I don’t think he can top The Mad King)



221591244135294664_yoi8pow4_f-2Honorable Mention: Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling – This is one twisted, power happy bitch. Her reign over Hogwarts definitely carries the impression of making rules simply to oppress and depress the students rather than for any rational reason. It gets to the point where an entire wall is covered with all her new rules.


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12 thoughts on “Tough Traveling – Tyrants”

  1. LOL that Umbridge image kills me. It’s nice (not nice?) to see so many lady tyrants on this list! Glen Cook is an author that’s intrigued me for a long time, but I’m not entirely sure his books would be my thing. Lady villains are a point in his favour!
    Danya @ Fine Print recently posted…Tough Traveling: TyrantsMy Profile

  2. I’ll add my agreement with people who say Joffrey is worse than the Mad King, not that he was much better, mind you. And come on . . . Lady? Naw, the gal has a heart of gold . . . under all that black armor, and sure, she will kill you if you don’t agree with her, but — Okay, even though it hurts me to admit this, I suppose she is a tyrant. I still lover her anyway, though!
    Wendell(@Bookwraiths) recently posted…TOUGH TRAVELING — TYRANTSMy Profile

    1. OK, now I feel like I need to go on the defensive with my Mad King choice! 😀 First, I didn’t want to include anyone I listed as a Dark Lord, just for variety, so that ruled out Joffrey. Two, Aerys didn’t get as much screen time, being dead before the books began, but from what bits we have heard, he was every bit as twisted as Joffrey. And he actually ruled more than Joffrey. Yes, Joffrey was King, but most of the decisions were not made by him (with a few obvious and notable exceptions). I feel like if Joffrey had been able continued on his path, he could have easily rivaled King Aerys, but he didn’t get much of a chance with that. And I think if Joffrey continued on his path, he would have been labeled mad as well. I could totally see Joffrey choosing Wild fire as his champion in trial by combat, but that was King Aerys. Not to mention how he killed Brendan Stark at the time as well. Anyway, that’s my two cents … or maybe a 2 copper clippings. Not sure 🙂
      Lisa (@TenaciousReader) recently posted…Tough Traveling – TyrantsMy Profile

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