Nathan, over at the Fantasy Review Barn, runs this weekly meme Tough Travelling, where readers are encouraged to tour the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy. Using The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones for inspiration.
This week’s topic is CREATIVE CURSING
New lands, new languages, new things to cuss out. Nobody in fantasyland cusses in quite the same way though; each world has its own way to yell at the world.
I was down-hearted when I saw this topic, as I prefer my fantasy on the lighter and fairy tale side which doesn’t tend to contain swearing. Or I had the opposite problem. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin and The Dark Tower by Stephen King are full of swearing, but it is just regular English swearing. I have dug deep though to think of a few:
Harry Potter by J K Rowling – This is a magical world existing secretly within the regular world. So regular swear and curse words exist, however it is, the magically inspired, utterance of shock “Merlin’s Beard!” that I love.
Discworld by Terry Pratchett – Words have a lot of power in this world, which when it comes to cursing the wizards learn the hard way. As their “hells”, “damns”, “buggers”, “blasts”, and even a “bloody hellfire!” magically make odd and dangerous bugs materialise! Reducing the wizards to lacklustre “poots”, “darns” and “drats”.
Lord of the Rings by J R R Tolkien – The language of the goblins and orcs is dark, violent and often insulting. For which reason in his novels Tolkien left much of their speech un-translated, however some translations have included the words “cesspool”, “dung-filth”, “torture”, “stinking”, and “pig-guts”.
Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009) – Okay this is neither fantasy or a book, but I couldn’t do a topic on creative cursing and not mention “frak!”. A cool series and the coolest fictional swear word ever!
What creative cursing can you think of? Please let me know if you’re taking part in this week’s topic too.