Every Thursday, Nathan over at Fantasy Review Barn hosts a weekly party where blogs get to follow along with Diana Wynne Jones’ hilarious book The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: The Essential Guide to Fantasy Travel listing their favorite books with a particular fantasy trope. So sit back and enjoy the fun.
9th OF OCTOBER, 2014 – DARK LADY
There is never one of these – so see DARK LORD instead.
I hate to disagree with you there, Diana Wynne Jones, but actually, there are lots of really vile and cunning Dark Ladies, who could give any Dark Lord a run for their money. So sit back and take a look at my favorites.
MATRON MOTHER QUENTHEL BAERNE – LEGEND OF DRIZZT
Quenthel is the reigning Matron Mother of Menzoberranzan and Mistress of Arach-Tinilith, which means she pretty much is the ruler of the drow and has turned into one wicked Dark Lady. Once considered weak and stupid, her brother helped her infused herself with the wisdom and experience of her mother Yvonnel Baenre. Through this process, Quenthel became much more intelligent and manipulative, besides having a much greater understanding of the wishes of Lolth, the Queen of Spiders. Soon thereafter, she unleashes a war to destroy the Silver Marches and the legend of Drizzt Do’Urden forever.
Buy Homeland: The Legend of Drizzt, Book I: Bk. 1 at Amazon
MORATHI, HAG QUEEN OF NAGGAROTH – WARHAMMER UNIVERSE
Morathi was the second wife of Aenarion, First Phoenix King of the Elves of Ulthuan, and mother of his son, Malekith. Though saved by Aenarion from a warband of the Chaos gods, this powerful sorceress quickly turned to these same evil forces, making numerous daemonic pacts to further her own power and eventually introducing the pleasure cults to Ulthuan, which directly led to the Sundering. Afterwards Morathi went into exile with her son and his followers, creating the blood-soaked realm of Naggaroth, where she became the First Hag Queen of the Witch Elves. Constantly adding her son in his efforts to return to Ulthuan and destroy the elves who had rejected him, this beautiful, intelligent, cruel, and bloodthirsty elf has spent 5000 years perfecting her evil powers. She is definitely a Dark Lady to fear.
Buy Malekith (Time of Legends) at Amazon
SOULCATCHER – THE BLACK COMPANY
This member of the Ten Who Were Taken was among the most powerful servants of the Dominator and the elder sister to the Lady, though they are almost the same age. Soulcatcher is herself a remarkably powerful Sorceress, exceeded only by the Lady at the height of her power, and the buried Dominator. Her name comes from the fact that she often speaks in different voices — voices that supposedly belong to the souls of those people she has caught. In The Books of the South, she truly becomes a Dark Lady, who even Lady is wary of.
Buy Chronicles of the Black Company at Amazon
LANFEAR – WHEEL OF TIME
This stalker of the Dragon, Lews Therin Telamon, and the Dragon Reborn, Rand, is the second most powerful Forsaken after Ishamael, a lover of power above all things, one of the most beautiful women to ever live, and, in the Age of Legends, one of the discoverers of the Dark One’s prison. After turning to evil, she choose her name of Lanfear, which means “Daughter of the Night.” Though supposedly a servant of the Dark One, Lanfear’s ultimate plan was to use the power she gained to destroy both the Creator and the Dark One so that she could rule alone as god of the world. Whether she really had an overinflated opinion of her true powers or not, Lanfear was definitely a seriously powerful Dark Lady.
Buy The Eye of the World: Book One of ‘The Wheel of Time’ at Amazon
THE WHITE WITCH – NARNIA
In The Magician’s Nephew, C.S. Lewis introduced Jadis, the final queen of the world of Charn, who destroyed all living things there with a single word. Once this arrogant creature arrives in the newly created world of Narnia, she immediately begins trying to conquer it, going so far as to eat the Fruit of Everlasting Life, which immediately turns her skin pale. Hiding until an opportunity presents itself, Jadis later succeeds in taking over Narnia, freezing it for a hundred years before the story which takes place in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Evil, arrogant, cruel, and willing to hurt anyone who gets in her way, this White Witch is a fine addition to the Dark Lady list.
Buy The Magician’s Nephew: The Chronicles of Narnia at Amazon
MORGAN LE FEY – ARTHURIAN LEGENDS
An original Dark Lady, Morgan is more often than not portrayed as a villainess: a seductive, megalomaniacal sorceress who wishes to overthrow King Arthur, a fierce rival of the mage Merlin, and the mother of Arthur’s bastard son Mordred, the wicked knight. By her actions, the legends say that Camelot fell and the Arthurian age ended. For those and many other reasons, Morgan Le Fey is on the list.
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT MY BEST OF FANTASY LISTS.