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 MIDDLE AGED HEROES

This hero stuff is usually a young person’s game. And, occasionally, a grizzled old veteran can get involved. It is a true rarity for someone to join the good fight for Fantasyland living in that in between ground.

Middle-aged protagonists are indeed rare but I’ve read a few. Of course, with elves, vampires, and other long-lived or immortal characters it’s pretty much impossible to know their age. Is Corwin in the Amber series middle-aged? He’s lived for centuries but he still has the cockiness or even arrogance that I’ve come to associate with youth.

Ista from Lois McMaster Bujold’s Paladin of Souls is a middle-age heroine. She’s a widow with a grown child and has spent many years confined, because people thought that she’s insane.

Cazaril from Lois McMaster Bujold’s Curse of Chalion starts the book as a broken man; he’s a former nobleman who has just recently released from slavery and starting his life again.

Aidan McAllister from Carol Berg’s Song of the Beast. He was a superb singer and musician but has spent the last 20 years in jail, beaten regularly without even knowing why. He’s just been released when the book starts.

Lucien Negru in Teresa Frohock’s Miserere has been a virtual prisoner of his twin sister for 16 years. Lucien escapes his sister’s stronghold at the start of the story.

Briar Wilks from Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker. Granted, we aren’t told her age directly but she does have a 17-year-old son. She’s the widow of the most hated man is Seattle and raises her son alone.

Aragorn from the Lord of the Rings by Tolkien. He’s a dùnedain who live longer than normal humans but I believe he’s middle-aged by his own race’s standards. His beloved Arwen isn’t a youngster, either, but she’s an elf.

Gimli from Lord of the Rings. At least according to Wikipedia Gimli is 139 years during the Fellowship of the Ring and dwarf can live about 250 years so he’s sort of around middle-aged.

And of course two of my favorite characters ever: Cordelia Naismith and Aral Vorkosigan in Lois McMaster Bujold’s Cordelia’s Honor. Middle-aged characters who dare to have a romance and then are an integral part of the Miles Vorkosigan series. And a new Cordelia book is coming out in February! (