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 ORPHANS

No one in Fantasyland amounts to anything if they still have both parents. Rule number one. Thanks to Stephanie for the suggestion (and let us all be surprised together that it isn’t in the Tough Guide).

Books and comics are full of orphans, but most of the time being an orphan is significant when the character is either young or had some significant trauma related to the death. Also, I think that angsting over parent’s death is a more modern idea. For example, John Carter has no memory of his childhood or parents but he doesn’t brood over it. Adult characters in general are often orphans but it’s not thought of as anything significant.

Garion from Eddings’ fantasy series Belgarion. It’s been decades when I read Eddings’ work last but I think that Garion didn’t dwell on losing his parents. But he didn’t know his heritage because he was an orphan.

Carrot Ironfoundersson is an orphan but was raised by dwarves. It’s strongly hinted that Carrot is in fact the heir to Ankh-Moprok’s throne, but wisely he hasn’t taken it.

Batman is perhaps the most famous orphan; his parents were killed in front of his eyes and he dedicated his life to stopping criminals.

Spider-Man’s parents died when he was young and he was raised by his aunt and uncle. And then his uncle dies because Peter Parker chooses not to be a hero.

Magneto’s parents died in the Nazi concentration camps.

Vlad Taltos from Steven Brust’s series. Vlad’s mother died when he was very young and his father managed to buy Vlad into the Jhereg family before he died. Vlad’s grandfather is still around and a great influence, though.

Ista from Lois McMaster Bujold’s Paladin of Souls became an orphan at the start of the book when her mother dies. Ista herself is middle aged and a grandmother but a parent’s death is always hard, but especially when you’ve been under a curse half your life and your mother has been taking care of you.

Cinderella and Snow White
: in both cases the mother died and after the girl’s father married another woman, he died as well, leaving the orphaned girl to the mercies of her step-mother (and step-sisters).

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