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.

Join us next week as we look at ENFORCERS

Some people are made to give orders; others are made to make sure they are carried out. Be it through muscle or guile there are just some people you don’t want to hear are looking for you.

There are lots of various enforcers in fantasy (and SF). It seems like any villain worth the effort has a group of underlings to fling at the hero(ine) and sometimes the protagonist is, of course, a criminal and the police equivalent forces are after him or her.

The City Guard of Ankh-Morpork in the Discworld books. They are the Patrician’s enforcers except, of course, when they’re putting the Patrician himself in jail. The criminal elements have their own enforcers, too, like the Assassins or Agony Aunts.

The Nazgul and the whole Uruk-hai/Orc armies from Tolkien.

The Phoenix Guards of the Dragaeran Empress in Steven Brust’s fantasy works. The main character is a criminal so of course the guards are always after him.

Freedom Force for the US government and Gladiator and the rest of the Imperial Guard for the Shi’Ar Imperium from the Marvel Universe. The Avengers have had brief periods when the US government wanted to take over, but they generally aren’t anyone else’s puppets. A case could be made for the X-Men as enforcers of Xavier’s dream but I think they’re actually fighting various enforcers, such as the Sentinels, Marauders, or the Four Horsemen.

The wooden soldiers of the Adversary
in the Fables comics. They’re made of holy woods and are brought to life but they can’t be hurt like flesh and blood soldiers.

The various Soldier Orders from the Chalion books by Lois McMaster Bujold. At least the Father, the Son, and the Daughter of the five gods of Chalion have their own Soldier Orders. They are actually supposed to be like a police force but bad things happen when corrupt people get power.

In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the Slayer was the enforcer for the Watchers’ Council until Buffy fired them.

The naturi in Jocelynn Drake’s Dark Days urban fantasy series. The main character Mira is a vampire and she essentially fights against very nasty elves. The naturi have a leader who is determined to kill Mira.

Terrible, who is the enforcer for a drug boss Bump in Stacia Kane’s urban fantasy series. The main character, Chess Putnam, is a witch in the Church of Real Truth but she’s also a drug addict and so under the thumb of Bump. But there’s more to Terrible than you’d think at first glance.