[DWJ] short complete quest fantasies

el.buchanan at btinternet.com el.buchanan at btinternet.com
Sat Jun 20 18:25:17 EDT 2009

Hi... longtime luker delurking to suggest The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. Its a pretty complete quest fantasy in a single book with a dragon, riddles, an empress and a very scary big bad.

--- On Sat, 20/6/09, deborah.dwj at suberic.net <deborah.dwj at suberic.net> wrote:

From: deborah.dwj at suberic.net <deborah.dwj at suberic.net>
Subject: [DWJ] short complete quest fantasies
To: dwj at suberic.net
Date: Saturday, 20 June, 2009, 2:50 PM

I'm calling on the brilliant list hive mind for help with my
fantasy syllabus. I'd really like to assign my students one
entire epic quest fantasy from beginning to end, in which a Boy
(who is potentially a girl) leaves his humble beginnings, gathers
together a troop of Companions, hits every place on the Map, and
defeats the Dark Lord. I'd like to assign that entire thing in
one week, and realistically I can't ask them to read more than
three books in one week unless they are very brief (i.e.
picturebooks, easy readers, or early chapter books). But I'm
finding that most of the complete quest fantasy series I can
think of are pretty long. Can you folks come up with any decent
quests that are three books or less? One book would be even
better. :-)

Here's what I've come up with and rejected so far:

* Prydain: five books
* Pellinor: four very long books
* Eragon: actually, this is perfect, but it's bad, and I don't
  want to make them read it
* Dark Lord of Derkholm: I do assign this one, but one of the
  reasons I would like them to read an entire quest fantasy is so
  they understand what Dark Lord is parodying
* The Hobbit: I assign this one as well, but it's not really the
  same thing. It's a precursor, really.

There are lots of fantasy trilogies that aren't high fantasy
quests (e.g. Abhorsen, His Dark Materials, Borribles, any Tamora
Pierce). And there are some single books which come close to
getting across some of the ideas. I've thought of Wizard of
Earthsea, but that book is already a response to the classic
quest fantasy, so it doesn't work as an introduction. The Hero
and the Crown kind of works, I suppose, but it's too much a solo

*sigh* I know what I want them to have read before they ever come
into the class: the Belgariad or at any rate the Lord of the
Rings. It's surprising how little decent straightforward quest
fantasy there is in children's lit.

Any ideas?


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