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 we look at THE BIG CITY

There has to be somewhere in Fantasyland where everyone comes together. All roads lead to Rome after all. A place where traders prosper, politicians scheme, and criminals thrive.

The undisputed king of cities: Ankh-Morpok. It’s the biggest city on Discworld and houses a lot of interesting characters from the Patrician to Carrot Ironfoundersson, and the Librarian. The river Ankh is known for its smell and thick consistency; “Anything that’s passed through so many kidneys has to be very pure indeed.”

Middle-Earth has several great cities. Minas Tirith is perhaps the most memorable of them from the movies but I have a soft spot for Bree, too, because many adventures began or ended in there in the table-top roleplaying games where I played.

New York City has been the setting of many movies both realistic and not, as well as books and comics. I’m most fond of the Big Apple version which contains the Avengers Mansion, the Baxter Building, and the Hellfire Club.

London is another very popular place to set both books and movies. My favorite versions are the ones seen in Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and in Marie Brennan’s Onyx Court series. Both have a large underground city; in Neverwhere it’s populated by the homeless and in Brennan’s books by the fae.

Gotham City is another very striking place, especially in the Tim Burton movies.

Lankhmar by Fitz Leiber is another great city where Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser find adventure (although sometimes they’re fleeing from the city). Its officials seem to be very corrupt and it has a thriving population of thieves and other criminals.

Menzoberranzan is the great underground city of black elves in the Forgotten Realms setting. It’s ruled by the cruel priestesses of the Spider Queen Lolth.

Seattle from Cherie Priest’s steampunk world. Seattle itself is walled off from the outskirts where the regular people live because the city is filled with the undead and the undesirable people.