Tough Traveling – Curses

October 2, 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? CURSES

CURSES are long-standing ill-wishings which, in Fantasyland, often manifest as semi sentient. They have to be broken or dispelled. {Can include}

-Curses on lands, curses on families, curses on buildings, cureses on rings/swords, curses on people, curses with conditions.


Horrorstor_final_300dpiOrsk Furniture from Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix

This is definitely cursed building. An Ikea imitation mass market furniture super store where bizarre and increasingly disturbing things begin to happen. And if things seem weird and creepy, just wait for the overnight shift.




6662349Paragon from Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb

I don’t know if this is a curse on a building, on a family, on an object or on a person. Paragon is a liveship, which is sentient, so maybe it’s a curse on a person. But, liveships have a deep connection with the family/bloodline that brought it to being. And for this family, well, Paragon is said to have gone made and was pretty much the death of them, so maybe it was a curse on the family. But then, the argument could be made that the ship is an object, so I don’t know. Regardless, consensus is thatParagon is cursed and only a fool would want anything to do with the ship.


12944651Miriam Black from The Miriam Black books by Chuck Wendig

This is debatable. Miriam’s ability is to see a person’s death when she touches them. She can try to save them, but her efforts will fail and she will watch the person die. Power? I suppose. A curse? yeah, I would think so.




FevreDreambyGeorgeRRMartinYork in Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin

I’ve mentioned it before, but this is a fantastic vampire novel. York’s realization that while his people may not have a language of their own or built anything of their own,  they do have a story and dream of salvation and this meant they had capacity to dream. Which means they could have created if given the chance, that his people were not evil. They were cursed, but not evil.



1249933Suit from Heart Shaped Box by Joe Hill – OK, this is a bit more complicated than just a suit being cursed. An aging rock star with an affinity for macabre items has purchased a funeral suit reported to contain the spirit of the previous owner. A suit that was worn by a man to his own funeral? That is said to contain a poltergeist? Yep, this is exactly the type of thing the rock star needs. Item bought. The suit comes in a heart shaped box, complete with a ghost who is hell bent on cursing the aging rock star that purchased.