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. 🙂
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.
Bronn: “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
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.
“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.”
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.