Tough Travels: Beginnings

Blog - Tough TravelsMy fellow bookworms and fantasy lovers, I am so pleased to announce that the Tough Travels meme is back! For those of you that haven’t heard of it before, it was a weekly meme featured over on the Fantasy Review Barn, that was inspired by The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. Now it is returning as a monthly meme over at Fantasy Faction, but otherwise it will follow the same format of spotlighting a different trope and invite other bloggers to compile their own list of examples.

Without further ado, our first topic is: BEGINNINGS.

I missed this topic first time round, so it is great to have another chance to share with you now some of my favourite beginnings:

The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien

‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole and that means comfort.’


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J K Rowling

‘Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much. They were the last people you’d expect to be involved in anything strange or mysterious, because they just didn’t hold with such nonsense.’


The Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien

‘When Mr Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.’


Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

‘The wind howled. Lightning stabbed at the earth erratically, like an inefficient assassin. Thunder rolled back and forth across the dark, rain-lashed hills.
The night was as black as the inside of a cat. It was the kind of night, you could believe, on which gods moved men as though they were pawns on the chessboard of fate. In the middle of this elemental storm a fire gleamed among the dripping furze bushes like the madness in a weasel’s eye. It illuminated three hunched figures. As the cauldron bubbled an eldritch voice shrieked: “When shall we three meet again?”
There was a pause.
Finally another voice said, in far more ordinary tones: “Well, I can do next Tuesday.”‘


Do you like these? What are your favourite beginningsย of fantasy novels? Please link in the comments below if you have taken part in this month’s topic too.


12 thoughts on “Tough Travels: Beginnings

  1. Jessica – I’m sure you’ll be aware that I’m going to love your list. So happy you’ve joined in too. Wyrd Sisters – I’ll have to add that one.
    Lynn ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Fantasy novels do have a certain ring to their beginnings. I will give you:
    The Magicians by Lev Grossman. “Quentin did a magic trick. No one noticed.”
    Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke: “Some years ago there was in the city of York a society of magicians. They met upon the third Wednesday of every month and read each other long, dull papers upon the history of English magic.”
    Cool meme!

    1. Judy, thank you for sharing your favourite fantasy beginnings ๐Ÿ˜€ I haven’t read either but I loved the BBC’s adaptation of Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, so I definitely think I need to read it at some point.

  3. I’m so happy to see another former traveller back on board! Great list, Jessica, and kudos for including Wyrd Sisters – that first scene makes me laugh out loud every single time I read it. ;D

    P.S. Don’t forget to add your link to the linky-linky at the bottom of the FF page!

    1. Hello Laura, thank you for stopping by and an even bigger thank you for bringing this great meme back! As soon as I saw the topic, I knew I would have to include Wyrd Sisters ๐Ÿ˜€

      p.s. I’m afraid the InLinkz at the bottom of the FF page won’t load for me.

      1. Oh b*****ks. Perhaps it’s expired. Will hopefully work for you next time. Hope to see more Discworld on next month’s list! I’ve got one assassin in particular in mind for mine…

        1. Not to worry Laura, my post did send a pingback to your original post anyway and as you said hopefully it will work next time. I look forward to more Discworld next month too and finding out what particular assassin you have in mind already ๐Ÿ˜€

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