Tag: Gandalf

Summer Flings – 5 Fantasy Standalones

As the summer draws to a close, here’s a list of the five best fantasy books you just have to read before autumn arrives! All these books aren’t set in the summer, but they’re still the perfect thing to pick up, no strings attached! Whether you like paranormal, high fantasy, or light horror, you’ll find the perfect book to read in the sun (without falling asleep).

 

 

Uprooted – Naomi Novik

 

Uprooted
Image via Amazon

 

If you’re not reading Novik yet, then you’re missing out! This is the perfect standalone to get you started. Set on the outskirts of a terrifyingly magical forest, this book has a dragon (arguably), an unexpected heroine, plenty of violence, and even more magic. If you want a glorious modern story with the feel of a classic fantasy, you’re going to love this book. It’s also got sense, heart, and writing that’ll make you wonder why anyone else even tries.

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Image via Amazon

 

Black writes a lot of different moods, so if you read fantasy you’ve probably encountered her. The Coldest Girl is and isn’t like anything else. Whether you’re over vampires or completely obsessed, give this book a try. A strong, sensible heroine who never the less gets drawn into danger and horror she thought she’d escaped, this book has both the elegance and horror of the genre, the obsession and the disinterest, as well as characters who step off the page.

 

Deep Secret – Danna Wynne Jones

 

Deep Secret
Image via Amazon

 

Jones is also outrageously prolific. Even if you haven’t read any of her work, you’ve probably seen the Miyazaki adaptation of one of her novels, Howl’s Moving Castle. This is something slightly different, but with Jones’ dry humor, sense of tangible magic, and deeply flawed characters you’ll still absolutely love. Royal succession, a secret magical society, and a digital curse make this book a classic, even if you may not know all the retro computer terms.

 

 

The Replacement – Brenna Yovanoff

 

The Replacement
Image via Amazon

 

You probably don’t know Yovanoff, but you might want to. This book is a little gruesome, but only in the way some old fairy tales are. Sometimes children in Gentry are taken, and Mackie Doyle is what was left. Exploring sacrifice, familial love, and what it means to be different, this is an unusual book that’s worth your consideration. The protagonist is complex, and teeters between selfishness and alarming selflessness. My advice? Read it with the lights on.

 

 

The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

 

The Hobbit
Image via Amazon

 

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Lord of the Rings fan or haven’t even seen any of the movies, The Hobbit is self-contained novel that stands on its own. This book is sweet, engaging, frighting, and funny. If you like modern fantasy, here’s it’s start. If you love Tolkien, you know this is a great read and reread,  and if you never got into Tolkien and were too afraid to ask, this is a great place to start. Plus, they put the most gorgeous covers on this book now.

 

 

Featured image via inc.com

The Top 5 Best Wizards in Fantasy Literature

Wizards are a classic staple of fantasy literature and it’s easy to see why these characters have been fascinating readers forever. From the classic image of the wizard as an old man in a pointy hat to more modern interpretations, wizards endure thanks to their varied abilities, cool characterizations, and usage to explore the fantasy realms they inhabit. But who are some of the best?

 

Here are top five of the coolest and best wizards (in our opinion) of fantasy literature.

 

5. The Crimson King from The Dark Tower

 

The Crimson King, a figure in a red robe, features hidden, sits on a throne of skulls with a crumpled form sitting before him
IMAGE VIA STEPHEN KING WIKI

Not all wizards are good. Many throughout literature have been downright evil, with the classic image of an evil sorcerer becoming a well known fixture of various novels. No villains of this caliber have become as far reaching as The Crimson King, the main villain of The Dark Tower and indeed, Stephen King’s literary universe. Introduced as a powerful and mysterious embodiment of evil, the Crimson King’s influence is felt across multiple universes, where he controls others to do his bidding. He appears as the dark force setting in motion the novels Insomnia and Black Housebefore he is properly revealed to behind the destruction of the Beams in The Dark Tower universe which holds reality together, plotting to rule the chaos that will follow.

The Crimson King takes many forms throughout Stephen King’s novels, appearing as Satan, a handsome young man, and withered old man with crimson eyes. He is the ultimate evil and although his powers are not explicit, it is known that he uses mind control to keep his men in line, as well as probably being a shapeshifter.

 

4. Rastilin Majere from Dragonlance

 

Rastilin, a wizard, stands before an open window as lightning flashes behind him
IMAGE VIA TOPTENZ

Dragonlance by Tracey and Margaret Hickman is basically a Dungeons and Dragons campaign chronicled in novel form. Rastilin Majere fulfills the common characteristics of a classic wizard but he’s much more dark and ambiguous in his loyalties than his fellow party members. Although physically extremely weak owing to a traumatic upbringing and his magical usage, Rastilin is extremely intelligent and adept with his extensive knowledge of sorcery.

He’s ruthless in his pursuit of power, viewing others as mere tools and is characterized as arrogant, egoistical, yet possessing his own strange code of honor. He’s a fascinating character, instantly hatable yet strangely complex. This status as a fan favorite earned him the starring role of Dragonlance Legendsfollowing him from his own twisted point of view.

 

3. Harry Potter from The Harry Potter Series

 

Harry Potter stands in front of a blank background, glasses on

Image Via Harry Potter wiki

Harry Potter is one of the most enduring protagonists of young adult literature, made famous by the books and the movies to become a pop culture icon. Harry Potter himself is a great character, at once being a relatable POV character while also giving way to more nuanced characterization as the series goes on. We get to grow up with Harry, showcasing his uneasy steps into adulthood as he deals with mundane terrors such as schoolwork, girls, and bullies while the looming threat of Voldemort, who he is destined to destroy, looms ever on the horizon.

Harry Potter has flaws despite his Chosen One status, such as his temper and impulsive behavior, not helped by the pressure he’s under almost constantly. It makes him a hero for a generation, being just a regular kid thrust into the wizarding world to destroy the Dark Lord.

 

2. Gandalf from The Lord of the Rings

 

Gandalf, the robed wizard with a staff, stands with a fierce expression
IMAGE VIA LORD OF THE RINGS WIKI

The Lord of the Rings set the standard for fantasy literature in many ways and it provided the classic image of a wizard whom many draw inspiration from: Gandalf. Gandalf himself was inspired by Merlin, the iconic wizard of King Arthur’s round table. Gandalf is in truth (secretly) more akin to an angel than a wizard, he is a Maiar, servants of the universe’s counterpart to God, sent to Middle-earth in human form to aid the mortal races. Gandalf is forbidden to use his true power, so he nudges everyone forward in more subtle ways, getting them to work together and using his wisdom as their guide. Gandalf perishes in the first book of the The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but returns to life and is sent back to help the heroes as Gandalf the White, reborn with greater power and given permission to use (some) of his magic more explicitly. Gandalf, despite his wisdom, is often short tempered, mischievous, and sarcastic but considering all the Hobbits he has to put off, it makes sense that he’s a little stressed.

 

1. Harry Dresden from The Dresden Files

 

The wizard Harry Dresden clutches a staff covered in runes before a raging storm
IMAGE VIA PININTEREST

The Dresden Files chronicles the adventures of Harry Dresden, a modern day detective based out of Chicago, only he’s both a wizard and tackles supernatural cases. Working as a consultant for the Chicago PD, Harry tackles everything from werewolves to vampires to evil fairies to skin walkers. Harry’s life is a bit of a mess, as he’s generally anti-social, has bad luck with women, and suffers more and more with each book. Yet, he’s a hilarious protagonist, commenting on everything from a very meta point of view and making references to comic books to movies throughout his intense fights. Wielding all sorts of spells that he conjures with Latin words, not to mention magical items and allies, Harry builds up an impressive resume as he solves case after case, each one tougher than the last.

Who are some of your favorite wizards? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

Featured Image Via Lord of the Rings Wiki

Frodo on a balcony in Rivendell with Rivendell and waterfall behind him

Top 5 Best Locations in ‘Lord of the Rings’

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings is one of the most well respected pieces of fantasy literature for a reason. Not only do its characters, themes, and wonderful prose continue to resonate with readers decades after its first publication but the world Tolkien created, Middle-earth, feels so real that many readers have desperately wanted to be there since being drawn in through the first lines of The Fellowship of the Ring. Here are some of the best locations throughout Middle-earth, each breathtaking in its imagined beauty.

 

1. The Shire

 

The great hills of the Shire, a unspoiled paradise of trees and green
IMAGE VIA TOKIENGATEWAY

A loosely organized set of territories nestled in northwest Middle-earth, the Shire is home to the hobbits and the place where Frodo Baggins, Bilbo Baggins, and Samwise Gamgee call home. Defined by lush wilderness and agriculture, the Shire is isolated from the rest of Middle-earth but it is that determination to keep it safe which motivates Frodo and Sam to keep it safe throughout their long quest to destroy the One Ring. The Shire begins our introduction to the world of Middle-earth and its a place that we, much like Frodo and Bilbo, always wish to return to.

 

2. Rivendell

 

The great elf city of Rivendell, sitting atop a waterfall as cascades of water spill around it

Image Via Lord of the Rings wiki

A haven for the elves in the midst of the Misty Mountains, this place is where the Fellowship of the Ring is formed during the Council of Elrond. Rivendell is a valley, surrounded by pine-trees and maintained as a hidden place. Rivendell features a cool, temperate climate. Uniquely, Rivendell is not affected by time, allowing Elrond and his people to live free of the vestiges of time, in peace but at the same time, somewhat stagnant. Playing an important role throughout the books, Rivendell’s time comes to an end when the One Ring is destroyed, the elves leaving Rivendell and heading to the Grey Havens across the seas.

3. Isengard

 

The great fortress of Isengard, burning with the fires of trees hurled into the forges

Image Via Lord of the Rings wiki

The great fortress of Isengard plays a pivotal role in the books, being the residence of Saruman and his orc army. Saruman defiles the valley around Isengard, cutting down trees and burning the land. Within Isengard, the fortress burns with the smolders of war, as countless Orcs are bred, given armor and weapons to conquer the land of Rohan. The Ents, angered at Saruman’s contempt for nature, storm the fortress in the famous March of the Ents, routing Saruman’s army and stopping his dreams of conquest in their tracks. Isengard remains a pivotal symbol of evil, being one of the titular Two Towers. 

 

4. Moria

 

Gandalf, the wizard, sits before the door into Moria, trying to figure out the password as the hobbits linger nearby

Image Via Ted Nasmith 

Home to the dwarves, Moria, otherwise known as Khazad-dûm, lies deep in the Misty Mountains. There, the dwarves mined the rare material minthril but they dug too deep and free an ancient, powerful monster known as a Balrog. The dwarves are forced to abandon their home and consider the tunnels cursed. The Fellowship is forced to pass through Moria during their travels and here, they meet the Balrog. Gandalf duels the monster on the bridge of Khazad-dûm but the Balrog drags him down into the abyss when he destroys the bridge, forcing the quest to continue without the wise wizard.

 

5. Barad-dûr

 

The sky is blotted out by mounds of fire and ash from the volcanic Mount Doom, as the great black tower of Barad-dur sits in the foreground, blazing with the hellish Eye of Sauron

Image Via Lord of the Rings wiki

Barad-dûr, otherwise known as the Dark Tower, is the second of the titular Two Towers. It is the fortress of the Dark Lord Sauron, acting as his stronghold in the barren wasteland of Mordor. Sauron keeps watch over his land via his great eye, the Eye of Sauron, acting as a symbol of his evil. The fortress itself is described as huge and utterly impenetrable. Held together via Sauron’s magic, it falls to ruin when the One Ring is destroyed, again symbolizing Sauron’s own fall.

What are some of your favorite Lord of the Rings locations? Tell us in the comments!

 

Featured Image Via Tolkien Gateway