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? UNIQUE FLORA
Self-explanatory. If you know of a plant that is either not on earth, or doesn’t act the same way in fantasyland as it does on earth, then you can consider it unique. Have fun.
So, I felt indecisive this week and seemed to just pick books that had multiple examples in them, and keep it at that. I also feel like I am really missing some!! But
Possibly all the Plants and Trees from The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley
Mother nature is given a cruel and dangerous twist in this world, there are plants that can melt away your skin, pitcher plants that can devour people. And if you think you are safe because you don’t see any near by at the moment? Think again. Trees can walk, they can come to your supposed safe place and destroy you. Yeah, you’re not safe. These are not plants from some B-movie, these are the plants of your nightmares.
Clock trees from The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Like the trees in The Mirror Empire, these trees can also walk. They are identifiable by, you guessed it, a clock on their trunks. It’s a bit silly, strange, but quite fitting for the fairytale land of Fillory. I suppose the clock trees were made and did not just evolve, but still. They are strange and take on a life of their own.
Gillyweed and The Whomping Tree from Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
I couldn’t decide, so I’m listing both. Gillyweed has the unique property of allowing a person that has ingested it to actually breath underwater for a time. I like this entry because it is neither creepy or deadly. It’s actually quite useful! And then there is the whomping tree, who might strike me down if I don’t list it. There’s probably tons of others from this fun trope filled series, but I’ll keep my examples to those two. 🙂
Trees and Plants in Dark Eden by Chris Beckett
I love the plant life in Dark Eden. The story takes place on a sunless planet, but it is not completely dark thanks to the the unique flora. The world is eerie, yet has a beauty to it. Light (and not just white light, but variable colors of light) comes from trees and flowers. But, it’s not all just beauty and light, you have to be careful because the trees also provide heat hot enough to burn.
Weirwood Trees from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
I kept debating about adding this one. In fact, I’m adding it a bit late, but decided to do so within a spoiler tag. If you haven’t read A Dance with Dragons, this could be a spoiler:View Spoiler »
Honorable Mention: And, how on earth could I not include Audrey II? Seriously. Here it is: