Do you ever find that at some points in your life, you’re almost exclusively reading from one genre? And no, it doesn’t count if you’re just reading a series. (Although, if the series is something like Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, I guess that counts.)
Anyway, my current obsession is fantasy. And after reading about several dozen weird creatures and races, here’s some interesting ones I found.
- Physical description: frogmen with long limbs, short torsos, large ears, green-grey dreadlocks and tough skin.
- Series: C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia
- Notable individuals: Puddleglum
Even though only one is ever mentioned by name, there are still several interesting things we can learn about marsh-wiggles. As displayed by Puddleglum, they have an extremely pessimistic view on life. (I would too, after the things he experienced on his adventures, but apparently pessimism is a racial, not personal, problem for marsh-wiggles.) In their relation to the nation of Narnia, it appears that they do quite a bit of the work related to water and fish, since, being frogs, they probably do have some frog characteristics. Like breathing underwater, for instance.
- Physical description: elves standing 70 centimetres (2-3 feet) tall, large ears, eyes and head, with scrawny bodies.
- Series: J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter
- Notable individuals: Kreacher, Dobby
House-elves, unlike elves in other stories that live in forests, are quite urban. Their main job and joy (mostly) is to serve humans— that is, wizards. Most notably, Kreacher and Dobby, the main house-elves in the story, served the Black and Malfoy families respectively. Even though they don’t have wands, it seems that they can do extremely complex magic, which comes in handy when fulfilling their masters’ orders.
3. The Panthatians and the Saaur
- Physical description (Panthatians): serpent men standing 1.5 metres (5 feet) tall. Hatched from eggs, with poisonous claws. Cold blooded.
- Physical description (Saaur): serpent men standing 3 metres (10 feet) tall. Birthed rather than hatched, and warm blooded.
- Series: Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar Cycle
- Notable individuals: Jatuk
Yes, I know. I just listed two races up there. But in the series they are described as sibling races, created by the same deity, so technically, they can count as one. Both races were created by a Dragon Lord to be her servants. However, their similarities end there, as the above description clearly highlights. But the main difference is that the Panthatians seem to be genetically evil— it seems they were created evil. Meanwhile, the Saaur are generally reasonable— they listen to reason and can make peace with humans.
4. Nac Mac Feegles
- Physical description: short men standing 15 centimetres (6 inches) tall, heavily tattooed blue, with a shock of deep red hair. They have incredible strength.
- Series: Terry Pratchett’s Discworld
- Notable individuals: Rob Anybody
The shortest description of Terry Pratchett’s Nac Mac Feegles is that they are angry Scottish Smurfs. They have a habit of stealing, looting, fighting, and generally acting quite uncivilised, all of which fuels their belief that they have already died. Yes, they reason if life has so many great opportunities to loot, drink and fight, they must be in the afterlife. That is, a land fit for dead heroes. And they hold lawyers in great respect. Why? Partly because Feegles fear their names being written, lest they appear on nasty legal documents. In fact, their swords glow blue in the presence of lawyers. Some of them, having figured out law, use the taunt, “We’ve got a cheap lawyer an’ we’re not afraid to use him!” Yeah. Can you imagine the trouble of being sued by a bunch of angry little men shorter than your hand span?
Those are the (non-human) races I have found the most fascinating through my reading of fantasy.
What other creatures have you found interesting?
Image Copyright © Paul Kidby.