WWReadathon Challenge – book in pictures.
I finished The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones by reading through Friday night and into Saturday morning. It’s set up like an encyclopedia and it lists every fantasy clichés known to man – 90% of them from The Lord of the Rings. Let me get you an example.
DARK LADY. There is never one of these – so see DARK LORD instead. The Management considers that male Dark Ones have more potential to be sinister, and seldom if ever employs a female in this role. This is purely because the Management was born too late to meet my Great Aunt Clara.
(OMT means Official Management Terms.)
CRONE. On most Tours a ragged old woman, sometimes of wild and sinister demeanor, tends to crop up by the way-side in moments of stress, hobbling(OMT), and cackling(OMT). If the Tour has lost its way, she will misdirect it, usually throwing in a few GNOMIC UTTERANCES of a depressing nature as she does so. If the Tour takes in a public EXECUTION, this Crone will be present at it busily knitting(OMT). Since KNITTING is not a normal mortal skill, it is clear that this old lady is an ASPECT of some GODDESS or other.
This book is one of the most hilarious things I’ve read all year.
DRAGONS are very large scaly beings with wings and long spiky tails, capable of breathing fire through their mouths. They can be almost any color or combinations of colors, though green, red, and black are preferred. They are always very old. Most of them seem to have flown to Fantasyland eons ago across the void. This migration was almost certainly to get away from our world, where people would insist that they were dangerous MONSTERS that had to be exterminated.
Dragons, as all Fantasyland knows, are no such thing. They quite like people, provided you can get their attention. They are very wise and can do MAGIC of a type not known to other MAGIC USERS. But they do not have human emotions. This can cause misunderstandings, if Tourists are trying to make friends with them. Female Tourists are best at this. Dragons seem to be in tune with the female mind. A friendly Dragon will airlift female Tourists to the OFFSHORE ISLAND where most Dragons live. A male Tourist will have to wait to meet Dragons until he has been through the CAVERNS that lead to the Hidden VALLEY, where Dragons also live; or until the Dragons have joined the forces of GOOD for the Final CONFRONTATION. Even then, the relationship is likely to be a bit edgy. This is because Dragons can, if they want, eat people.