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The heroes of Fantasy

 

Headlines

NEW: Viking Books and Series
I have a new section on the website that is all about viking books both historical viking and norse fantasy.

NEW HBO Series: A Game of Thrones
HBO is producing a series based on the George RR Martin A Song of Ice and fire series of books. To be released early next spring and starring Lena Headey and Sean Bean.

The Massive list of Fantasy Series
Looking for a series to read? Here is the biggest list of fantasy series on the web.

Award Winning Children's fantasy books
Awards are a sure fire way to find the best books in Childrens Fantasy.

The Heroes of Fantasy
Learn about some of the top heroes in fantasy also find one by theme such as assassin, wizard, anti-hero or orphan turned hero.

The Top 50 Science Fiction and Fantasy books of the Century
As judged by the Science Fiction Book Club. Nice explanation and list of the books. Good Guide for the best reading in SF&F.

The Top Selling Fantasy books at Amazon.com
Take clues from what others in the fantas community are reading and buying

Buy at Art.com
Zaffra and the Dragon

Heroes of Fantasy

The Hero is the centerpiece of much of fantasy. He or she is the main character struggling his way through an epic adventure. He battles monsters, creatures, evil forces and even the difficult things within himself. Along the way he grows and learns. Over the course of time we have been given the treat of many different types of heroes from the large muscled barbarian type to the more intellectual wizard. No matter what type of hero you prefer here is a list that will help you find one you can adventure along with.

The hero parallels our own experience in the world in that often he is just trying to figure out his place in a crazy world. And a usual technique that writers use for this is the slow unwrapping of the hero's past, heritage or skills. Often the hero is not aware of his special abilities or bloodline and it is is slowly revealed throughout the story.

If you like a particular type of hero. Or you want to try a totally dirfferent type of hero here are some tips and guidelines on some of the more famous ones.



 

The Heroes

Beowulf - Ancient manuscript and epic poem. The poem takes place in the 5th century and Beowulf is a Geat hero who battles three antagonists: Grendel, Grendel's Mother and a Dragon. To me, Beowulf epitomizes the early hero. He is mostly about brawn and has the ego of a hero. He is driven to succeed in his conquerings. But there are very important symbolic references in his goals and in his life. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation (Bilingual Edition) Movie: Beowulf (Unrated Director's Cut)

Conan - Conan novels by Robert E. Howard

Who can say anything about Conan that hasn't already been said? Books, Movies, video games. The legend continues to live on. There are few heroes quite like him and many have used him as the template for their own heroes. An important thing about Conan is that even though he was a big brute of a warrior he was also very intelligent. He traveled the world of Aquilonia and learned many things and many trades.

 

The Phoenix on the SwordHe first appeared in a Robert E. Howard story called "The Phoenix on the Sword" and a quote from that story evokes a great image of him:
"Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweeled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet." - The Phoenix on the Sword (Dodo Press) With an introduction like this it was sheer destiny! If you are a fan of epic and heroic fantasy you really should have this book in your collection. More Conan Books

 

Bilbo Baggins - The Hobbit : He is the epitomy of a merry adventurer that leaves his comfortable world on a grand adventure. Along the way he discovers a fantastic and very rich world complete with dragons, elves and well you already know. The main story line for Bilbo is that he is hired by Gandalf to go to the Lonely Mountain and reclaim the treasure from Smaug the Dragon. Of course, along the way he runs into Gollum and the One Ring which changes everything. The Lord of the Rings takes place much after this adventure and it all starts on Bilbo's eleventy-first birthday (111). Such a small creation of words perfectly evokes the wonder and magic of Tolkien's world.

 

Frodo Baggins - The Lord of the Rings; This is an extremely complex tale and there has been much written about the themes in the books and the themes of frodo from "the little guy can truly make a difference" to the theme of "internal struggle of the hero". Lord of the Rings Books

Thomas Covenant - The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever

Covenant is not your usual hero. If you are looking for a wondrous world with magic, elves, dwarves, magical horse and the whole spectrum of beauty yet with something different this is a good choice. Covenant is a rather peculiar anti-hero. Through much of the series of books he refuses to believe that the world is real and he is convinced that he is some kind of psychosis or dream. He is also a leper and a tormented character. Interesting book and a wonderful world.

Elric of Melnibone - Elric series by Michael Moorcock. He first appeared in a novella called The Dreaming City and his first appearance in a novel was in Strombringer in 1965. - Elric of Melnibone is where the Elric sage and series of novels begins. There are quite a few books in the series Elric Books

Ged (SparrowHawk) - A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin This is the story of a peasant boy born on a small island who grows to become a powerful wizard, not until after he travels to the main city on the island of Roke to attend Wizard School. Sounds a bit familiar huh? This is a short novel but it is very rich with some wonderful things such as the theme of a universal secret language where if you know a things real name you can control it - including the name of dragons. Wonderful, award winning book that is a staple of fantasy and suitable for adults and children. Makes a perfect bedtime story to read to the children. A Wizard of Earthsea (The Earthsea Cycle, Book 1) And it is the first book in the famed Earthsea cycle of books.

Harry Potter - You can probably tell me more about this wizard/hero than I could tell you!

Shea Ohmsford - The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks - I have personally spent a lot of time in this beautiful world and I have spent many hours as a companion to Shea. Wonderful books. The second book in the series The Elfstones of Shannara is currently being made into a major motion picture and is tentatively scheduled for release in 2010. She is a half elf. His mother was human and his father was elven. His adventures in this novel revolve around his struggle to defeat the Warlock Lord. As the strory evolves he learns about himself and his bloodline. And we learn that he is the only one who can wield the Sword of Shannara which is the only thing that can defeat the Warlock Lord.

 

Richard Cypher - Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth, Book 1) by Terry Goodkind This is the first novel in the very successful Sword of Truth series of books. There are currently 11 books in the series. One of the interesting things about Richard is his quest for truth and in the series he was named "The Seeker of Truth" by his grandfather. He has the ability to ask questions of people that fills their minds with images that make them answer even when they don't want to answer. The sword of truth books

 

 

Bink - Piers Anthony A Spell for Chameleon

Rand al'Thor - Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan Wheel of Time Books This is a wonderful series of fantasy books that are all extremely large. They usually weigh in at around 800- 1000 pages. Much of Rand's story revolves around the foretelling of his birth as the only man to be be woven out by the wheel of time for a specific rebirth and a specific challenge. The world tells the perpetual story of the struggle between light and dark , good and evil. And with every turning of the wheel of time evil escapes its prison and one will be reborn to re-imprison or defeat it. This one is Rand and the prophecy tells of his rebirth but does not say whether he will succeed.

 

Eddard Stark (Ned) - A song of Ice and Fire Books by George R.R. Martin The first novel in the series is A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) The world and the books are heavily influenced by Medieval History and The War of the Roses. They are often attributed as ushering in a whole new wave of epic fantasy. Stark is the Lord of Winterfell and Lord Paramount of the North. This series of novels takes is narrated by many central characters most of whom are blood relatives of the house of Stark.

 

 

Garion (aka Belgarion) - The David Eddings Belgariad Series He was orphaned as a baby when his parents were killed in a fire and he grows to be a very powerful sorcerer with an extended lifespan. Some interesting things about him are that he is the keeper of the Orb of Aldur which gives him advice and prophecies. He is one of the only three that can touch it without being destroyed. His use of common sense and honesty give him a bit of an edge in the political workings of his world and he rises to power quickly. Garion is also in a series of novels entitled the Malloreon. The Malloreon, Vol. 1 (Books 1-3): Guardians of the West, King of the Murgos, Demon Lord of Karanda

Rincewind - Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic (Discworld Novel, Volume 1) He is an incompetent and cynical wizard and the whole series of books are a comedic parody that pokes fun at a lot of things. He is often referred to as Rincewind the Wizzard and he is a failed student at the Unseen University for Wizards. He spends a lot of time running away from people who are trying to kill him. Thus the scene is set for this hilarious and cynical character.

 

 

Pug - (aka Milamber) Raymond Feist Riftwar series - He is the main character in the first novel in the Riftwar Saga and a prominent character in other Riftware novels. He is a powerful magician and an orphan . Much of the setting revolves around two things. Pug's coming to terms with his magic which at first he cannot use. Eventually he breaks through his inability and learns to wield enormous power. Also the Riftwar is a battle between two worlds Kelewan and Midkemia. Pug is instrumental in bringing this war to an end. Plenty of Riftwar books

 

Gaborn Val Orden - David Farland's Runelords series The Runelords series takes a unique perspective on heroes and power in that Runelords are men that have been endowed with the powers of others. They can accumulate the powers of many others which makes them very powerful but also comes with a price. The first book in this series is being made into a major motion picture. Runelords books
Sons of the Oak (Runelords)
is the latest book in the series and the first book is The Sum of All Men (The Runelords, Book One:)

Fitz Farseer - Robin Hobb's The realm of the Elderlings Series including the Farseer trilogy and the Tawny man trilogy. The first book, where you should start is Assassin's Apprentice (The Farseer Trilogy, Book 1) Fitz starts out his live as an unwanted orphan and he possesses magical abilities which include telepathic abilities. He grows to be trained as an assassin. Robin Hobb Books

Morgon The Prince of Hed - The Riddle-Master of Hed Series by Patricia A. McKillip; He is a wizard, riddler, harper and farmer. His adventures are about his quest to figure out the riddle of the three stars on his forehead and the answer to an ancient riddle. Riddle-Master is the three books of the trilogy in one.

Simon Mooncalf - Tad Williams Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Series ; The first book in the series is The Dragonbone Chair (Memory, Sorrow and Thorn). He is just a lowly kitchen boy that is thrust into the quest to save Osten Ard by finding and wielding at least one of the three legendary swords, memory, sorrow, and thorn. Big time bestseller when this book came out in 1990 and this first one is one of my favorites. . Tad Williams Books

 

 

More heroes

Types of Heroes - (Thematic)

Non-human Heroes

 

A Note from Will:

Do you have a favorite hero that you would like to see on this page? Want to write up a summary of the works of this hero? Send me an email!

 

 

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