Tough Traveling – ASSASSINS
Tough Traveling is back! Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn is the original mastermind of Tough Traveling. And Laura is reviving it as a monthly feature over at Fantasy Faction. What’s Tough Traveling? Pretty much, on the first of the month where we dig around to come up with examples of that month’s chosen trope in fantasy. We are using Diana Wynne Jones’ The Tough Guide to Fantasyland as our inspiration and guide. There will be link ups available over at Fantasy Faction, so join in and link up.
So let the fun begin …
This month’s theme? ASSASSINS
Assassins are ubiquitous throughout fantasyland. Sharp-eyed readers (or even dull-eyed ones) will notice that their hooded forms often adorn book covers, and that they frequently appear – rather improbably – not to mind being the sole focus of our attention. Whether they’re spotlight hogs or camera-shy and brooding, most assassins will have trained for years and are very, VERY good at their job (i.e. killing people for money).
Pyrre from Skullsworn by Brian Staveley
The entire Skullsworn book is about Pyrre going through her trial to become a priestess for the God of Death. They see assassination as merely a way of passing someone over to their god, it is almost like a service they do for them. The book is dark, but also funny (in a wonderfully dark sort of way). And the largest obstacle for Pyrre is not so much the killing, as finding the ability to love.
Oh, Fitz. Nothing every comes easy or without some sort of pain for the royal bastard that was relegated to living in the stable. That is until he was offered the chance to train as a royal assassin. So, should he live on hay with the animals? Or take live in the castle and secretly learn how to kill people? Such a decision for a kid to make. I will say that most of the assassin tasks are more off screen/off page, but never the less, you see how it impacts Fitz, particularly in the later books.
Mia from Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Mia, driven by vengeance, achieves her goal as she trains with The Red Church, the deadliest known assassins. Just to gain entry as an initiate requires deadly ability, and once you join, well. There’s a reason they call it The “Red” Church.
I do have a character in mind for this one. Those that have read the books or watched the show know exactly who I am talking about. To join the faceless men, you must shed all aspects of your personal identity and just become an arm of … well, death. I love the ability to wear faces and become other people.
Ah, to be a street rat and to somehow fall into an apprenticeship with the best know, most feared assassin. That is what happens for Azoth when Durzo Blint. Again, nothing says fun quite like introducing kids to the harsh and bloody work as an assassin. In this trilogy, the best assassasins are known as “wet boys”, doing their “wet work”. Yeah, even that gives a graphic, bloody little picture.