Tough Travelling hosted by Fantasy Review Barn.

Each Thursday, inspired by ‘The Tough Guide to Fantasyland’ we have in hand, we shall tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.

This week’s topic is MUSICIANS/BARDS

BARDS often join questing parties and provide entertainment around the campfire. Sometimes their music even holds a little bit of magic. Or a clue to an ancient mystery. Or…

I’ve always liked bards and I’ve played more a few of them in various roleplaying games. But they aren’t really numerous in books or movies.

Alan-a-Dale, from various versions of the Robin Hood legends. However, he tends to be a very minor character and often left out completely.

Danilo Thann from the Elaine Cunningham’s Forgotten Realms books. He’s a member of the Harpers, a secret organization that tries to do good in the realms. Cunningham’s books about him and his reluctant partner Arilyn Moonblade were some of the first FR fantasy books I read after Salvatore and they left (clearly) a lasting impression. The first book is Elfshadow.

Orpheus from the Greek legends.

Apollo who is, among other things, the god of music and poetry.

Fafhrd from Fritz Leiber’s stories was originally trained as a singer although he’s far better known as a thief and a swordsman.

The Fables comic book, there’s Boy Blue who sings and plays the trumpet. He’s also so quiet and gentle that the reader may forget that he’s been through quite nasty fighting.

If you consider superhero comics to be fantasy (rather than science fiction) there’s Dazzler from the X-Men. She’s actually a pop star and would rather be a singer than a superhero.

The Asterix comic has the eager but unfortunately tone-deaf bard Cacofonix.

The Tintin comic has the great diva and opera singer Bianca Castafiore.