Tough Traveling – Evil Lairs

February 5, 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? EVIL LAIRS

The evil lair is where a great fantasy villain will spend the plurality of his or her time. (Topic provided by Christopher Scott Hand).


I’m probably doing this all wrong. I hear lair and I picture some dimly lit enclosed space with damp walls and a high creep factor. Maybe a rich nefarious overlord would put up some garish furnishings in an attempt to tamper the evil vibes (but really, they just add to them). But when it came to make a list, I just thought of evil people and where I was most likely to find them (or where they were most likely to be performing evil). So here it is, my futile attempt:



Ramsay Snow’s Dungeon in A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

This probably doesn’t fit the standard definition as I don’t think it’s where Ramsay spent the majority of his time. But I honestly can’t think of many places more evil than the place that turns Theon into Reek.




Maidun Castle from Age of Iron by Angus Watson

King Zadar is hands down an evil villain. And to make him even more disturbing, he has a sadistic druid that pretty much gets his jollies from disembowling children. Maidan Castle is the seat of their power, and frankly, not a place I’d ever want to visit.



Pirate Isles in Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb

Yes, I am setting the entire Pirate Isles as Kennit’s lair, because, well, he’s a pirate! And this is where he runs. Even among pirates, Kennit’s reputation is ruthless. He might be seen as a kind of Robin Hood as the rumors say he targets slave ships and frees the slaves, but he kills the entire crew that was carrying them.


D’haran castle from The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind

Mord-sithOK, I can’t remember if this place has a name, but I can’t help but think of it when I hear “evil lair”. It’s the home of the Mord-Sith, a crazy intense group of women who torture (and wear skin tight, red leather to hide all the blood the spill). They use people’s magic against them, and they can even turn their captives into their sex slaves. Rather bizarre, again, no where I’d want to be.



Glokta’s torture chamber from The First Law series by Joe Abercrombie

944073Glokta, Glokta, Glokta. I just can’t make this list without him, even if I’m not sure I quite think of him as evil. His work as an Inquisitor is rather evil though, since “Inquisitor” is just a nice way of saying torturer. And, who would know how to torture better than some one who survived massive amounts of crippling and deforming torture himself? There’s some seriously gory stuff described going on in his place of work.