Tough Traveling – Snarky Sidekicks

January 8, 2015

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? SNARKY SIDEKICKS

Why is everyone so serious all the time?  Perhaps they need a friend that is there with a quick bit of wit to liven the day; even if the day is looking to quickly turn to blood. (Not actually found in the Tough Guide)

This is a fun one, but I have to admit to finding it harder than I expected. That said, I think I could do an entire ASoIaF list, and maybe an entire list of snarky animals. Really looking forward to seeing the other lists this week as I’m sure there will some really great picks I didn’t think of. And, since snark is fun, I tried to find quotes as an example of my picks because they probably say more than I could. 🙂

Roen and Tao from The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu.

OK, I am not entirely sure which one to label as the sidekick here, probably Tao, but there is great Snark coming from both directions.

Just because I am an alien does not mean I am a Vulcan or some soulless robot.



Bronn and Tyrion from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin

God, I love these two. Seriously. I am sure there are way better quotes than this, but well.

StormOfSwordsBronn: “Who pissed in your soup?”

Tyrion:“Cersei, as ever. You’d think I’d be used to the taste by now, but never mind. My gentle sister seems to have mistaken me for Ned Stark.”

Bronn: “I hear he was taller.”

Tyrion“Not after Joff took off his head. You ought to have dressed more warmly, the night is chill.”

Dolorous Edd Tollet from A Song of Ice an Fire by George R. R. Martin

I’m not sure he’s a sidekick, more of a secondary character, but a hilarious secondary character that pretty much exhales snark with every breath.

Edd: Not to say that the wildlings mean us harm. Aye, we hacked their gods apart and made them burn the pieces, but we gave them onion soup. What’s a god compared to a nice bowl of onion soup?

“I never win anything,” Dolorous Edd complained. “The gods always smiled on Watt, though. When the wildlings knocked him off the Bridge of Skulls, somehow he landed in a nice deep pool of water. How lucky was that, missing all those rocks?”

“Was it a long fall?” Grenn wanted to know. “Did landing in the pool of water save his life?”

“No,” said Dolorous Edd. “He was dead already, from that axe in his head. Still, it was pretty lucky, missing the rocks.

Once they figure a way to work a dead horse, we’ll be next. Likely I’ll be the first too. ‘Edd’ they’ll say, ‘dying’s no excuse for laying down no more, so get on up and take this spear, you’ve got the watch tonight.’ Well, I shouldn’t be so gloomy. Might be I’ll die before they work it out



BestServedColdCoverNicomo Cosca from Best Served Cold and Red Country by Joe Abercrombie

OK, another cheat. He’s not really a sidekick, but maybe I can say his snark is his own sidekick?? Whatever. He’s hilarious. A mercenary who enjoys his drink and has a habit of switching mid-war/battle sides, following the money with an absolutely clear conscience.

My name is Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune, and I am here for dinner.



Night Eyes and Fitz from Robin Hobbs books

Nighteyes is the wolf that Fitz is connected to with the wit. Through Fitz, we get to hear what Nighteyes is thinking and his opinion on everything, and his thoughts and opinions have a good amount of snark to them. Love Nighteyes.

FoolsErrandCover“Have you ever felt as if you could actually feel time flowing away from you? As if life were passing you by and you were caught in a backwater with the dead fish and old sticks?”

Nighteyes: You can be the dead fish. I’ll be the old stick.



Beside the table, Nighteyes rolled to his side, and then onto his back. Here’s the dead wolf. Might as well bury him, all he’s fit for is to lie about in a dusty yard and watch chickens he’s not permitted to kill. He paddled his paws vaguely at the air.

Fitz: Idiot. The chickens are why I’m asking the boy to stay, not you.

Nighteyes: Oh? So, if you woke up tomorrow and they were all dead, there would be no reason we could not set out together? You had better not, I warned him. He opened his mouth and let his tongue hang to one side. The boy smiled down at him fondly. “I always think he looks as if he’s laughing when he does that.”


Honorable Mentions:

Lying Cat from Saga by Brian K. Vaughan – OK, all Lying Cat does is say ‘Lying’ whenever someone tells an untruth, but it comes across as snarky and hilarious.

Slag from Retribution Falls. OK, another cat, and this one doesn’t speak at all. But his body language is all judgement and snark.




  • Nathan (@reviewbarn) January 8, 2015 at 12:08 am


    No seriously, Cosca is the best. Plus there is a maybe Goodkind slam in one of his lines (in which he brings a goat to battle) that makes me chuckle mightily.
    Nathan (@reviewbarn) recently posted…Tough Travels – Snarky SidekicksMy Profile

  • Kaja January 8, 2015 at 2:37 am

    Ooh, I also have Edd and Nighteyes on my list. They’re the best! And I can’t believe I forgot Bronn! Doesn’t he turn out to be a backstabbing bastard, though? 🙂
    Kaja recently posted…Tough Travels: Snarky SidekicksMy Profile

  • Bob (@beauty_in_ruins) January 8, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Good call with Nighteyes – I wasn’t thinking animals when I did my list, but suddenly I see a few I could have included.
    Bob (@beauty_in_ruins) recently posted…Tough Travels – Snarky SidekicksMy Profile

  • Miriam @ Inky Realms January 8, 2015 at 10:27 am

    Nighteyes! Nighteyes was the best.

    Great list. Love the quotes. Also – yes to the snarky animals. This week’s topic made me think of Disney movies first and everything fantasy second.
    Miriam @ Inky Realms recently posted…Tough Travelling: Snarky SidekicksMy Profile

  • Molly Mortensen January 8, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Quotes do say so much, I’m glad you added them! Tyrion is great! I completely forgot about Tollet! I so have to read Ambercrombie already, so many of his characters made these lists!
    Molly Mortensen recently posted…Golden Son By Pierce Brown (Spoiler free review!)My Profile

  • Laura @ The Half-Strung Harp January 8, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    I wish I’d thought of Slag! Great list. 😀
    Laura @ The Half-Strung Harp recently posted…Tough Travels: Snarky SidekicksMy Profile

  • Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum January 8, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Oh look at you, another overachiever with quotes 😉

    Bronn and Tyrion are like the best buddy team either. Though between them, it’s hard for me to decide who the snarky one is. My natural instinct would be to to with Tyrion, but Bronn has his moments…quiet and observant but when he cracks one, it’s freakin’ hilarious.
    Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum recently posted…Tough Traveling: Snarky SidekicksMy Profile

  • Lynn January 8, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    I love that you got quotes – I could never have got quotes, I’m too lazy and my memory is a sieve! I love Tyrion – he’s so dry!
    Lynn 😀
    Lynn recently posted…Snakes and Snark….My Profile

  • Tabitha (Not Yet Read) January 8, 2015 at 6:05 pm

    Heck who is really the sidekick in the Roen and Tao relationship is definitely up for debate sometimes – ultimately though I think Roen is the sidekick.
    Tabitha (Not Yet Read) recently posted…Review: Gideon Smith and the Brass Dragon by David BarnettMy Profile

  • Stephanie January 8, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    Cosca is a great choice! I haven’t gotten to Best Served Cold or Red Country yet but I love him and Glokta as a pair. Good call on Bronn (and Tyrion) as well, I had forgotten about him! Actually there are more than a few parallels you could draw between those two pairs. now that I think of it….
    Stephanie recently posted…Tough Traveling: Snarky SidekicksMy Profile

  • Carmel @ Rabid Reads January 9, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    Cookie from Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series is currently one of my favourite sidekicks; she’s not overly snarky because the heroine is enough of a smart ass for the both of ‘em, but she does have her moments.
    Carmel @ Rabid Reads recently posted…Audiobook Review: Dead of Winter by Kresley ColeMy Profile

  • Danya @ Fine Print January 10, 2015 at 8:29 am

    You’re right, Lying Cat puts an incredible amount of snark into that one word! And the ebook version of The Lives of Tao was on sale the other day so I snatched up a copy….here’s hoping I’ll be reading some Roen and Tao snark soon!
    Danya @ Fine Print recently posted…Review: The Young Elites by Marie LuMy Profile