Towers in Fantasy Books

Tough Traveling

Each Thursday, The Fantasy Review Barn uses Diana Wynne Jones’s The Tough Guide to Fantasyland, and tours the mystical countryside looking for adventure and fun (and tropes) from all over fantasy.

This week’s tour topic is Towers. These towers can be tricky places to visit, since a lot of them are either hidden or in ruins. All the links for the books take you to GoodReads. The picture of Barad-dûr is from Tolkien

1. The Tower of Joy
From A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin
The tower where Ned Stark’s sister, Lyanna, died under mysterious circumstances. Eddard had the tower torn down, though, so you can’t actually visit it on your tour of fantasylands nowadays.

2. The Tower of the Hand
From A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin
A bit more recently important tower from the ASoIaF universe is, of course, the Tower of the Hand. It is very pleasant and richly furnished, but must not be a very cheery place, considering that most of the King’s Hands seem to have met a bad end.

3. The Tower of High Sorcery of Wayreth
From the Dragonlance universe
The Tower of Wayreth makes another appearance on these lists. This is where the Test of High Sorcery takes place. The tower can be quite tricky to visit, since it changes location, and only shows itself to the people it chooses.

4. The Tower of High Sorcery at Nightlund
From the Dragonlance universe
Another tower from the Dragonlance universe, this is where Raistlin Majere sets up shop with his apprentice, Dalamar, in Dragonlance: Legends. This one used to be The Tower of High Sorcery at Palanthas, but bad things happened. The tower is still standing, but it is an empty shell, and I would not encourage you to tread inside.

5. Barad-Dûr
From The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Dark Tower is a fortress in Mordor. From its highest tower the Eye of Sauron kept watch over Middle-earth. Again, a historically important tower, now only ruins.

None of these towers are very happy places – I think being, at the least, a bit gloomy is a prerequisite to being a tower in fantasy books. Can you think of a cheery tower from a fantasy book?


15 thoughts on “Towers in Fantasy Books

  1. I am kicking myself – I had Game of Thrones – the first book – where the boy falls from the tower (and I can’t remember his name!!!) and then I forgot all about it!
    Great list and I love the picture.
    Lynn :D

    • Thanks! Lisa at the was hardcore, though, she had the whole list made solely of Westeros towers. Towers are just inherently creepy, I guess! :D

  2. I am the only one who didn’t think of any of GRRM’s towers this week. I feel so left out.

    I have never read a Dragonlance book either, making me a rarity among fantasy readers I feel.

    Tangent: Just followed you on bloglovin, thought I already was. Any thoughts to adding follow buttons to your sidebar?

    • I started reading fantasy with Dragonlance, so they have a special place in my heart. And great idea about the follow buttons, I should get to it! I’ve been bad and haven’t really looked into Bloglovin’, but it’s high time.

  3. Maybe I was already dizzy while I was reading A Game of Thrones but I didn’t notice that there’s actually a Tower of Joy there. All I know is that Lyanna died and Robert Barratheon was still so hung up about it. I really need to be more observant next time. And is the Tower of the Hand is the one where Bran fell from? Err~ sorry. Sometimes, I can have a bad case of book amnesia. Hahaha.

    Still on the process of picking up a Clash of Kings. Some of your books are really new to me. :D

    • The Tower of Joy was mentioned only a couple of times by name in Ned’s memories, so you might have well missed it. The Tower of the Hand is the tower in the capital, King’s Landing, where Ned and the girls lived while he was working as the King’s Hand.

      The Dragonlance books are the ones that I started my fantasy reading from in my teens, so they are close to my heart, even though I wouldn’t perhaps love the writing if I read them now for the first time. Who knows? Definitely a nostalgic read for me.

  4. Hahah towers, funny, in Tolkien’s Middle Earth there is more towers that could be interesting places to visit, let’s start with the least known ones: the elven White Towers on Emyn Beraid said to be shining beautifully in the light of moon and sun (in the tallest called Elostirion there was set one of the palantiri Stone of Elendil that looks only to the West), Tirith Aear-Seaward Tower in Dol Amroth, then of course the White Tower of Ecthelion in Minas Tirith (which itself might be considered huge tower haha :), tower of Cirith Ungol, Towers of the Teeth: Carchost and Narchost at Morannon the Black Gate, the Tower of Orthanc (which name is actually clever linguistic joke in the very meaning) and of course Minas Ithil/Morgul Tower of the Moon/Tower of Dark Sorcery that became cursed place which shone with ghastly light originally city of Isildur which held the White Tree in the beginning of the numenorean Realms-in-Exile (I really like when Gollum talks about it in book:

    ”The old fortress, very old, very horrible now. We used to hear tales from the South, when Sméagol was young, long ago. O yes, we used to tell lots of tales in the evening, sitting by the banks of the Great River, in the willow-lands, when the River was younger too, gollum, gollum.’ He began to weep and mutter. The hobbits waited patiently.
    ‘Tales out of the South,’ Gollum went on again, ‘about the tall Men with the shining eyes, and their houses like hills of stone, and the silver crown of their King and his White Tree: wonderful tales. They built very tall towers and one they raised was silver-white, and in it there was a stone like the Moon, and round it were great white walls. O yes, there were many tales about the Tower of the Moon.’
    ‘That would be Minas Ithil that Isildur the son of Elendil built,’ said Frodo, ‘It was Isildur who cut off the finger of the Enemy.’
    ‘Yes, He has only four on the Black Hand, but they are enough,’ said Gollum shuddering. ‘And He hated Isildur’s city.’”).

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