Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction => Fantasy Book & Author Discussion => Topic started by: Elfy on April 07, 2015, 04:43:15 AM

Title: Magical animals
Post by: Elfy on April 07, 2015, 04:43:15 AM
I just read an article on Tor.com about cats in fantasy, and it struck me that plenty of fantasy books do feature animals. While I'm not a cat person personally, I did put a cat in my own YA portal fantasy Realmspace, and I think animal characters are quite cool to use in fantasy. What are other people's favourites? I quite like the Librarian from Discworld.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Lady Ty on April 07, 2015, 06:05:08 AM
Elfy, great subject, who remembers Tailchaser from Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams?  Such a hero and that book is so funny. Sometimes wonder if Tad needed a break from the seriousness of Dragonbone Chair, because this was published in between books 2 and 3, and was so way out different.

I am very fond of Oberon the wolfhound from Iron Druid Chronicles with his fondness for bacon and, until recently, French poodles.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Elfy on April 07, 2015, 06:43:55 AM
Elfy, great subject, who remembers Tailchaser from Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams?  Such a hero and that book is so funny. Sometimes wonder if Tad needed a break from the seriousness of Dragonbone Chair, because this was published in between books 2 and 3, and was so way out different.

I am very fond of Oberon the wolfhound from Iron Druid Chronicles with his fondness for bacon and, until recently, French poodles.
How could I forget Oberon? I also have a fondness for Spike, the rose goblin in The October Daye series, and he's kind of an animal, basically a cat made out of rose thorns. I also have to give Greebo, also from Discworld a mention. Very few people ever talk about Tailchaser's Song, so nice to see someone else who remembers it. It was Williams' debut. Originally came out in 1985, which is when I bought it. The Dragonbone Chair appeared in 1988, and I can remember being surprised by how different two works by the same author were. There's also Mister and Mouse from the Dresden Files.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: ScarletBea on April 07, 2015, 07:46:39 AM
I'm not really an animal person, so I don't really care much.
I remember with fondness Nighteyes (no, not that one, the animal ;)), and then just Dragons. Characters who think and have emotions, not just animals who are just *there*...
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Lady Ty on April 07, 2015, 09:01:17 AM
 
How could I forget Oberon? I also have a fondness for Spike, the rose goblin in The October Daye series, and he's kind of an animal, basically a cat made out of rose thorns. I also have to give Greebo, also from Discworld a mention. Very few people ever talk about Tailchaser's Song, so nice to see someone else who remembers it. It was Williams' debut. Originally came out in 1985, which is when I bought it. The Dragonbone Chair appeared in 1988, and I can remember being surprised by how different two works by the same author were. There's also Mister and Mouse from the Dresden Files.

Shame on me - how could I forget Mouse?  ;D  My mistake re publishing dates it must have been the times we actually got them that mixed me up. Found my old Tailchaser and Dragonbone after posting today and trouble with this  is I am going to be tempted to re-read oldies before the TBR pile.

I'm not really an animal person, so I don't really care much.
I remember with fondness Nighteyes (no, not that one, the animal ;)), and then just Dragons. Characters who think and have emotions, not just animals who are just *there*...

Ahhhh -  Dragons.......goes weak at knees with worship.....................

Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: DDRRead on April 07, 2015, 09:29:21 AM
Mudge springs to mind; the amoral anthropomorphic Otter from Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger series. It also featured a great Turtle wizard and a Communist red (sic) Dragon.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Raptori on April 07, 2015, 10:36:52 AM
I'm not really an animal person, so I don't really care much.
I remember with fondness Nighteyes (no, not that one, the animal ;) ), and then just Dragons. Characters who think and have emotions, not just animals who are just *there*...
This. @Nighteyes (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=272) is great, Algernon is also quite memorable.  ;D

It actually really annoys me when non-humans are written as if they're non-thinking emotionless robots. That's just not how it works, they're the same as us.  :-\
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: JMack on April 07, 2015, 11:41:10 AM
Elfy, great subject, who remembers Tailchaser from Tailchaser's Song by Tad Williams?  Such a hero and that book is so funny. Sometimes wonder if Tad needed a break from the seriousness of Dragonbone Chair, because this was published in between books 2 and 3, and was so way out different.

I am very fond of Oberon the wolfhound from Iron Druid Chronicles with his fondness for bacon and, until recently, French poodles.
How could I forget Oberon? I also have a fondness for Spike, the rose goblin in The October Daye series, and he's kind of an animal, basically a cat made out of rose thorns. I also have to give Greebo, also from Discworld a mention. Very few people ever talk about Tailchaser's Song, so nice to see someone else who remembers it. It was Williams' debut. Originally came out in 1985, which is when I bought it. The Dragonbone Chair appeared in 1988, and I can remember being surprised by how different two works by the same author were. There's also Mister and Mouse from the Dresden Files.
@Elfy (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1153), Spike is clearly a rose dog, not a rose cat. A rose cat would purr and then rake the furniture with it its thorns.
@Lady Ty, I may have try Tailchaser again. I remember not being impressed.  :-[
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: JMack on April 07, 2015, 11:43:30 AM
And meanwhile, what about goats? Why aren't there more goats as characters in fantasy fiction? Just asking.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Lady Ty on April 07, 2015, 01:05:56 PM
And meanwhile, what about goats? Why aren't there more goats as characters in fantasy fiction? Just asking.

 :o :o @Jmacyk (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=37094) you are possessed, blatant attempt at FF domination- enough already, proselyte of Aktu the Great HornyHorned One.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: ScarletBea on April 07, 2015, 01:10:12 PM
I think Jen's promised goat in her new book will be the only one ;D

(and can I say that Aktu's avatar is much better than Jmacyk's, hehe)
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Lady Ty on April 07, 2015, 01:27:35 PM
Petition To @sennydreadful (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=3297)

Dear Jen
Please do not let the goat in your next book be called Atku, even if you are offered untold wealth and decadent blandishments. Atku could shape-shift anytime he wanted and wreck your storyline at will.

Lady Ty
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: JMack on April 07, 2015, 01:58:21 PM
More animals:

The dire wolves in ASoIaF. Loved them, and they felt very important at the beginning. The fact there's only 1 (?) left sort of shows to me how GRRM has followed the story wherever it has lead him, rather than from a initial set of fixed constraints. But I feel a bit let down that what seemed so important at the beginning becomes so much less so.

Bill the pony in LotR. Yes, he's a bit player, but he establishes Sam's character so clearly.

Shadowfax, the greatest animal name in Fantasy imo.

All of Watership Down.

The list could certainly go on and on.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: sennydreadful on April 07, 2015, 01:59:32 PM
Petition To @sennydreadful (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=3297)

Dear Jen
Please do not let the goat in your next book be called Atku, even if you are offered untold wealth and decadent blandishments. Atku could shape-shift anytime he wanted and wreck your storyline at will.

Lady Ty

Oh no, how horribly, horribly tempting though...  ;)
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: ultamentkiller on April 07, 2015, 02:09:51 PM
Hmm, let's start with the dragons.
Saphira from the Inheritance Cycle. She was fun.
I'm going to butcher the name if I try to spell it, but the dragon from Demon Wars. He's just awesome!
Other than dragons...
Oreseur from Mistborn when he's in the dog form. Just cool.
Ghost from Game of Thrones.
I'm sitting here trying to think of any other animals, but if I have to think about it for a while, then they probably didn't touch my heart all that much.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: ScarletBea on April 07, 2015, 02:14:36 PM
The dire wolves in ASoIaF. Loved them, and they felt very important at the beginning. The fact there's only 1 (?) left sort of shows to me how GRRM has followed the story wherever it has lead him, rather than from a initial set of fixed constraints. But I feel a bit let down that what seemed so important at the beginning becomes so much less so.

This, too, especially the blue bit.

And I've just remembered the wolves in the Iskryne books by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette :D
(too bad there were only 2 written :'()

how horribly, horribly tempting though...  ;)
;D ;D
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Raptori on April 07, 2015, 02:40:48 PM
(http://i.imgur.com/FyVlp1I.png?1)

(http://i.imgur.com/u83WeT0.png?1)

(http://i.imgur.com/Y8MQgvf.png?1)
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: ScarletBea on April 07, 2015, 03:09:15 PM
I was on that site when it was posted... was it you? now I can't remember or find that link...
It's *so* funny ;D
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Raptori on April 07, 2015, 03:20:15 PM
I was on that site when it was posted... was it you? now I can't remember or find that link...
It's *so* funny ;D
Nope, never seen them before today!  :D
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: ScarletBea on April 07, 2015, 03:28:22 PM
I was on that site when it was posted... was it you? now I can't remember or find that link...
It's *so* funny ;D
Nope, never seen them before today!  :D
Where did you find it? I was trying to find the post with the link and then realised I might have ended up there via the blog of a writer or a reviewer, but can't go check them all now...

(I'm fighting a very strong feeling of procrastination and not wanting to work, this afternoon... :-\)
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Raptori on April 07, 2015, 03:41:37 PM
I was on that site when it was posted... was it you? now I can't remember or find that link...
It's *so* funny ;D
Nope, never seen them before today!  :D
Where did you find it? I was trying to find the post with the link and then realised I might have ended up there via the blog of a writer or a reviewer, but can't go check them all now...

(I'm fighting a very strong feeling of procrastination and not wanting to work, this afternoon... :-\ )
They were on a different forum, no idea where they came from. I'll ask the person who posted them  :)
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: ScarletBea on April 07, 2015, 03:47:34 PM
Just googled it:
http://the-toast.net/2015/04/01/two-medieval-monks-invent-bestiaries/ (http://the-toast.net/2015/04/01/two-medieval-monks-invent-bestiaries/)
 ;D
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: sennydreadful on April 07, 2015, 03:54:15 PM
I was on that site when it was posted... was it you? now I can't remember or find that link...
It's *so* funny ;D
Nope, never seen them before today!  :D
Where did you find it? I was trying to find the post with the link and then realised I might have ended up there via the blog of a writer or a reviewer, but can't go check them all now...

(I'm fighting a very strong feeling of procrastination and not wanting to work, this afternoon... :-\)

I saw it originally on tumblr, I think, and then Adam Roberts retweeted my link at one point... I was giggling for about half an hour
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Raptori on April 07, 2015, 04:03:24 PM
Just googled it:
http://the-toast.net/2015/04/01/two-medieval-monks-invent-bestiaries/ (http://the-toast.net/2015/04/01/two-medieval-monks-invent-bestiaries/)
 ;D
Awesome  ;D
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: JMack on April 07, 2015, 04:45:38 PM
Petition To @sennydreadful (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=3297)

Dear Jen
Please do not let the goat in your next book be called Atku, even if you are offered untold wealth and decadent blandishments. Atku could shape-shift anytime he wanted and wreck your storyline at will.

Lady Ty

Oh no, how horribly, horribly tempting though...  ;)
Atku can offer literally unending supplies of spam........  8)
(Bet you all thought it was mainly pork in there)
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Raptori on April 07, 2015, 05:42:01 PM
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MomKfsbFpQ0[/youtube]

"Woof! Woof! Woo--I mean-- meow, meeeooww"
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: JMack on April 07, 2015, 06:31:46 PM
SCHOLAR AND CAT
One of several poems found scribbled in the margins of medieval texts by the monks who transcribed them.
I love the Samuel Barber settings of these.
You won't be surprised to know I have a story idea based on this poem.  ;D



Irish version:

Messe ocus Pangur Bán
cechtar náthar fria saindán:
bíth a menma-sam fri seilgg,
mu menma céin im saincheirdd.

Version by W.H. Auden:

Pangur, white Pangur, How happy we are
Alone together, scholar and cat
Each has his own work to do daily;
For you it is hunting, for me study.
Your shining eye watches the wall;
My feeble eye is fixed on a book.
You rejoice, when your claws entrap a mouse;
I rejoice when my mind fathoms a problem.
Pleased with his own art, neither hinders the other;
Thus we live ever without tedium and envy.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: ScarletBea on April 07, 2015, 07:04:50 PM
erm... that sounds like it was written by someone procrastinating ;D

"Meanwhile, in a monk's cell far away:

'Gawd, I'm bored... I don't want to study.... '

Looks around. The window. The ceiling. The cat.

'Oh just look at the cat. No boring study for him, no. He just does what he wants all day.
Oh I know, I could write a poem about it. It will look like I'm studying so no one will come and annoy me.
Let me see. What shall I call him? Oh I know!'

Pangur, white Pangur"

Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Rostum on April 07, 2015, 08:58:32 PM
Page 2 and no mention of Smaug? I liked him anyway, vain and believing himself invincible.

Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Saraband on April 08, 2015, 12:37:10 AM
I always loved Harry Potter's Hedwig, it was one of the earliest and most sincere friendships Harry developed. And on that note, the role of Voldemort's snake, Nagini, is quite memorable.

My all time favorite, I think, is Tolkien's Roverandom. It's not very well known (except among Tolkien enthusiasts, perhaps), but it is one of the most charming stories I ever read, and it's all about a dog.

And how come no one has mentioned Narnia? There are magical animals in there of every shape and size :) I will also have to give the Great A'Tuin a mention, as there are very few turtles carrying elephants carrying worlds on their backs  ;)

I really like animals as characters in a story, maybe because I think they are far more complex than they are often given credit for. They are easier for me to trust, much like in everyday life.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Elfy on April 08, 2015, 12:47:11 AM
More animals:

The dire wolves in ASoIaF. Loved them, and they felt very important at the beginning. The fact there's only 1 (?) left sort of shows to me how GRRM has followed the story wherever it has lead him, rather than from a initial set of fixed constraints. But I feel a bit let down that what seemed so important at the beginning becomes so much less so.

Bill the pony in LotR. Yes, he's a bit player, but he establishes Sam's character so clearly.

Shadowfax, the greatest animal name in Fantasy imo.

All of Watership Down.

The list could certainly go on and on.
Since you brought Watership Down into the mix, I'll raise you a bunch of rabbits and bring in some weasels. Kine by A.R Lloyd. There's also Garry Kilworth's House of Tribes about mice. That's wonderfully realised. All cats speak French and dogs Japanese. Buffy disagreed, though, it claimed that all monkeys were French. I guess if we're going to go down the Spellsinger path (and thanks to @DDRRead (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1150) for mentioning that, awesome series that does not get enough attention) then we can't miss out Redwall either, and of course Orwell's Animal Farm.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: JMack on April 08, 2015, 12:59:27 AM
More animals:

The dire wolves in ASoIaF. Loved them, and they felt very important at the beginning. The fact there's only 1 (?) left sort of shows to me how GRRM has followed the story wherever it has lead him, rather than from a initial set of fixed constraints. But I feel a bit let down that what seemed so important at the beginning becomes so much less so.

Bill the pony in LotR. Yes, he's a bit player, but he establishes Sam's character so clearly.

Shadowfax, the greatest animal name in Fantasy imo.

All of Watership Down.

The list could certainly go on and on.
Since you brought Watership Down into the mix, I'll raise you a bunch of rabbits and bring in some weasels. Kine by A.R Lloyd. There's also Garry Kilworth's House of Tribes about mice. That's wonderfully realised. All cats speak French and dogs Japanese. Buffy disagreed, though, it claimed that all monkeys were French. I guess if we're going to go down the Spellsinger path (and thanks to @DDRRead (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1150) for mentioning that, awesome series that does not get enough attention) then we can't miss out Redwall either, and of course Orwell's Animal Farm.
Of course, the OP was "magical animals", so maybe some of what I wrote doesn't fit.

But here's another that I loved: the daemons in The Northern Lights (or The Golden Compass, for us benighted colonists). Maybe they weren't even really animals, but that was their form and how as a reader you relate to them. Great concept.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Raptori on April 08, 2015, 01:04:51 AM
More animals:

The dire wolves in ASoIaF. Loved them, and they felt very important at the beginning. The fact there's only 1 (?) left sort of shows to me how GRRM has followed the story wherever it has lead him, rather than from a initial set of fixed constraints. But I feel a bit let down that what seemed so important at the beginning becomes so much less so.

Bill the pony in LotR. Yes, he's a bit player, but he establishes Sam's character so clearly.

Shadowfax, the greatest animal name in Fantasy imo.

All of Watership Down.

The list could certainly go on and on.
Since you brought Watership Down into the mix, I'll raise you a bunch of rabbits and bring in some weasels. Kine by A.R Lloyd. There's also Garry Kilworth's House of Tribes about mice. That's wonderfully realised. All cats speak French and dogs Japanese. Buffy disagreed, though, it claimed that all monkeys were French. I guess if we're going to go down the Spellsinger path (and thanks to @DDRRead (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1150) for mentioning that, awesome series that does not get enough attention) then we can't miss out Redwall either, and of course Orwell's Animal Farm.
Of course, the OP was "magical animals", so maybe some of what I wrote doesn't fit.

But here's another that I loved: the daemons in The Northern Lights (or The Golden Compass, for us benighted colonists). Maybe they weren't even really animals, but that was their form and how as a reader you relate to them. Great concept.
Yeah I thought of mentioning the daemons, didn't think they'd apply. I always wished they had been given more screen time, Pan's character could've been explored a bit more away from Lyra. Still very good though. :)
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Elfy on April 08, 2015, 01:14:07 AM
I hesitate to put him in here, because he's not an animal as such, but who doesn't love A through L (more commonly known as Elle) the wyverary (a cross between a dragon and a library) in Cat Valente's Fairyland series? The harsh airs in that do ride leopards and other big cats, though. The hobgoblin in Finn Family Moomintroll rides around on a giant black panther and that particular Moomin book also has the Muskrat in it.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: ultamentkiller on April 08, 2015, 05:00:12 AM
I always loved Harry Potter's Hedwig, it was one of the earliest and most sincere friendships Harry developed. And on that note, the role of Voldemort's snake, Nagini, is quite memorable.

My all time favorite, I think, is Tolkien's Roverandom. It's not very well known (except among Tolkien enthusiasts, perhaps), but it is one of the most charming stories I ever read, and it's all about a dog.

And how come no one has mentioned Narnia? There are magical animals in there of every shape and size :) I will also have to give the Great A'Tuin a mention, as there are very few turtles carrying elephants carrying worlds on their backs  ;)

I really like animals as characters in a story, maybe because I think they are far more complex than they are often given credit for. They are easier for me to trust, much like in everyday life.
I thought about mentioning Hedwig and Narnia.
I didn't mention Hedwig because as much as I love him, he didn't really do much. Just sent letters. I didn't feel like we got to see his personality.
As for Narnia, I did love the animals, but not one in particular stands out to me. There's the lion of course, but he's the Christ figure, so his story is ultimately predictable.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Elfy on April 08, 2015, 06:05:02 AM
I always loved Harry Potter's Hedwig, it was one of the earliest and most sincere friendships Harry developed. And on that note, the role of Voldemort's snake, Nagini, is quite memorable.

My all time favorite, I think, is Tolkien's Roverandom. It's not very well known (except among Tolkien enthusiasts, perhaps), but it is one of the most charming stories I ever read, and it's all about a dog.

And how come no one has mentioned Narnia? There are magical animals in there of every shape and size :) I will also have to give the Great A'Tuin a mention, as there are very few turtles carrying elephants carrying worlds on their backs  ;)

I really like animals as characters in a story, maybe because I think they are far more complex than they are often given credit for. They are easier for me to trust, much like in everyday life.
I thought about mentioning Hedwig and Narnia.
I didn't mention Hedwig because as much as I love him, he didn't really do much. Just sent letters. I didn't feel like we got to see his personality.
As for Narnia, I did love the animals, but not one in particular stands out to me. There's the lion of course, but he's the Christ figure, so his story is ultimately predictable.
I did read a fanfic about Hedwig, it was quite good and gave more of an insight into his personality.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: ScarletBea on April 08, 2015, 07:53:07 AM
we can't miss out Redwall either.
Of course!

And I'd forgotten about all the characters of William Horwood's Duncton books (2 trilogies). These are amazing fantasy books addressing the big questions of life and death and evil and betrayal and friendship, where all the characters are animals (like Redwall).
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Elfy on April 08, 2015, 08:24:01 AM
we can't miss out Redwall either.
Of course!

And I'd forgotten about all the characters of William Horwood's Duncton books (2 trilogies). These are amazing fantasy books addressing the big questions of life and death and evil and betrayal and friendship, where all the characters are animals (like Redwall).
Horwood also wrote continuations of The Wind in the Willows, which also feature animals as the main protagonists.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Lady Ty on April 08, 2015, 09:59:57 AM
Reepicheep  the valiant mouse from Narnia, what a hero  8)

Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Henry Dale on April 08, 2015, 12:27:11 PM
Fillip and Sot in Kingdom for sale, sold! I wonder how they will look in the movie...
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Elfy on April 09, 2015, 12:48:06 AM
What about Bela from The Wheel of Time? I also wonder if the Companions in Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar books count? Of course there are also the Houyhnhnms in Gulliver's Travels. I thought about goats, seeing as that is the board's current obsession and I came up largely blank, but there's one in Kage Baker's In the Garden of Iden, admittedly it's a young goat and they're trying to pass it off as a unicorn.
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Raptori on April 14, 2015, 07:00:20 AM
@Jmack (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=37094) here's another story prompt for your list.

(Actually, this really, really should be a story prompt for the short story contest, @xiagan (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=1148) make it happen!)

(https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-xta1/v/t1.0-9/11146231_1082742911746719_1887844119301837013_n.jpg?oh=e60a5254f7980196f4ce8322e8fce72c&oe=55A4ACC8&__gda__=1436480821_6f15f7fac7d0f1de9634d625a5796f8e)
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: JMack on April 14, 2015, 11:30:00 AM
@Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840), in my sort of WIP I found myself writing a scene in which our heroine is dealing with turtle traps in the pond behind her home. Now I know why that fits in a fantasy novel!  ;D
Title: Re: Magical animals
Post by: Raptori on April 14, 2015, 11:31:36 AM
@Raptori (http://fantasy-faction.com/forum/index.php?action=profile;u=38840), in my sort of WIP I found myself writing a scene in which our heroine is dealing with turtle traps in the pond behind her home. Now I know why that fits in a fantasy novel!  ;D
Lol awesome. It should still be a full story of its own I think.  :P