Every week, Fantasy Review Barn runs a feature where they seek out examples of fantasy tropes. Other bloggers are welcome to join in, finding their own books to match the given topic. This weeks topic is Major Discoveries:
While often the people of Fantasyland seem stuck in a time warp occasionally a major discovery can shock the land into changes. Be they new lands, new peoples or new technologies fantasyland thrives on having something to jump start the next age.
Koom Valley – Terry Pratchett, Thud!
Almost every Pratchett book has something I could have used for this list – a lot of his work revolves around society adapting to changes. The discovery of Koom Valley occurred to be me first.
Everyone remembers Koom Valley. The dwarves and trolls both ambushed each other, and both still use it as a rallying to remind themselves of the other species’ treachery. With that said, no one remembers anything particularly specific about Koom Valley. The dwarves and trolls have wildly different memories of the actual events, and the leaders, those best able to explain, disappeared, lost in the battle.
Thud! involves a journey to Koom Valley, an ancient battleground filled with caverns and prone to dangerous weather. In one of the secluded, hard to access caverns, a discovery is made (the specifics of which would spoil the book) that has lasting effects on dwarf-troll relations.
Snapbows – Adrian Tchaikovsky, Dragonfly Falling
Shadows of the Apt is a series about society going through significant social and technological change. The snapbow is a particularly nasty, deadly, and immediate example of that. Air-powered, firing sharp metal bolts, the weapon is devastating.
In the space of a few moments, they completely turn a battle’s course. Charging, heavily-armoured soldiers are cut down like wheat, facing a new weapon that doesn’t take any account of their skill or defences.
The Choedan Kal – Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time
In The Wheel of Time, sa’angreal are amplifiers, allowing you to channel more magic and do greater things with your power. The Choedan Kal are the biggest ever – colossal statues designed to be used against the embodiment of all evil.
This entry is more of a rediscovery than an original discovery, as the Choedan Kal were built and then lost for centuries. The Wheel of Time, though, is all about things coming back around, so it counts. During the main timeline of the series, people start digging the statues up. Helpfully, this coincides with a second battle against the embodiment of evil.
I’m in a rush today, so I am cutting this list at only three. It’s also quite difficult to write about the major discoveries without giving massive plot points away. I’ve tried to pick three that, whilst major, don’t ruin the story.
The post on Fantasy Review Barn is here, and in addition to that list, there are links there to many other bloggers with their own take on the idea. Next week’s topic is gnomic utterances.