Tough Travels: Apprentices

Tough Travels is a monthly meme hosted by The Fantasy Hive, which, inspired by The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones, spotlights each month a different fantasy trope for us to compile lists and have fun with. Last month we discussed SHAPESHIFTERS. This month’s topic is:


‘Apprentices are people who are training for a trade or skill, which means they are usually quite young and bad at what they do. Most of the time they are like nurses during an operation, being there only to hand the master his tool. They seem to have to do this for a good many years before they get to do anything more interesting, and it is therefore not surprising that some of them get restless and either try to do the interesting stuff themselves or simply run away. The Rules state that if an Apprentice tries to do the interesting stuff on their own it will blow up in their face. If they run away, they will learn all sorts of things very quickly and also probably prove to be the MISSING HEIR to a Kingdom.’

Diana Wynne Jones, The Tough Guide to Fantasyland

You would think with apprentices being many a fantasy story’s bread and butter this would an easy topic, but clearly I am not reading the right fantasy books! However after a good, hard think I thought of these (a cheeky science-fiction choice may have been snuck in too… ):

  • Mort – First up from Terry Pratchett’s fourth fantastical Discworld novel we have the titular character Mort. A thin, lanky, uncoordinated teenager, who is taken by his exasperated father to a hiring fair. When who should turn up… but Death – offering an apprenticeship in ushering souls into the next world!
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – Disney’s magical animated short, that was included in the classic Fantasia collection, sees Mickey Mouse making his come back as the lazy, hapless titular ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’. Who, when sick of doing his chores, decides to bewitch a broom, which has disastrous consequences!
  • Septimus Heap – Next we have Septimus Heap who is the titular character from Angie Sage’s seven novel series (which I am yet to finish). As the seventh son of a seventh son, he has the potential for great magical powers, which he will have to study for seven years and a day (precisely) for with an ExtraOrdinary Wizard.
  • Arya Stark – Now from George R R Martin’s epic A Song of Ice and Fire series we have Arya, who is the spirited youngest daughter of Lord Eddard Stark. After the bitter loss of her family, the revenge-fuelled Arya travels to the city of Braavos to be initiated and trained by the Faceless Men: a religious group of assassins.
  • Anakin Skywalker – Last, but certainly not least, we have the young Anakin Skywalker from the Star Wars films. Believed to be the ‘Chosen One’ by Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn, Anakin is apprenticed to Obi Wan Kenobi to become a Jedi knight, against the wishes of some the Jedi Council. I think most of us know how this turns out… !!

Do you like my choices? Which apprentices would you have chosen? Please link in the comments below if you have taken part in this month’s topic too.

Come back next month for: MOTHERS.

14 thoughts on “Tough Travels: Apprentices

  1. I don’t read as much fantasy as you, but I do have an answer for this month’s topic: Fitz from Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb. 🙂

  2. I thought of Agnieszka in Uprooted by Naomi Novik (she broke rules, got in heaps of trouble but saved the day) and Percy Jackson in The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (ok, a student, not an apprentice but he also breaks rules, gets in trouble, but accomplishes his quest.)

    1. Judy, I have seen Agnieszka from Uprooted by Naomi Novik on other lists, but sadly I have yet to read it! However I can agree Percy Jackson is a great choice. 🙂

  3. Inspired, creative choices you got here. 😉 The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Arya, and Anakin are the quintessential apprentices. 🙂

  4. Have to echo Lynn here. Anakin is a great pick! And I’m still kicking myself for not thinking of Mort…

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