Unbeknownst to some, the fantastical world of modern literature has a secret benefactor.
Robin Hobb, with her Farseer Trilogy, has bestowed riches upon the genre that would make Smaug blush.
Kicking things off with “Assassin’s Apprentice,” Hobb didn’t just open a book—she flung open the gates to a new realm of character development.
Our protagonist, FitzChivalry Farseer, doesn’t merely grow, he unfolds, evolves, and occasionally unravels, like a well-kept tapestry being slowly unveiled.
His journey from royal bastard to skilled assassin shows us that heroes don’t always come in shining armour or with a penchant for loquacious speeches about destiny.
Sometimes, they come with a complex past and an uncertainty about the future that feels remarkably human.
Before we knew it, “Royal Assassin” and “Assassin’s Quest” followed suit, guiding us through Fitz’s adventures and growth in an intricate world with more twists and turns than a hedge maze after a few sherries.
This focus on personal evolution and the realities of the human condition amidst high fantasy turned the genre on its head, and we’ve been doing headstands ever since.
While traditional fantasy was busy grappling with trolls and casting arcane spells, Hobb was subtly changing the game.
Her potent mix of complex characters, political intrigue, and emotional depth offered readers a fresh perspective.
Suddenly, a dragon wasn’t merely a fire-breathing lizard, but a symbol of our deepest desires and fears.
The once clear-cut lines between good and evil began to blur, just like in our everyday life, showing that the realm of fantasy isn’t so removed from reality after all.
It was this depth, this infusion of reality into a fantastical world that had a seismic impact on modern fantasy.
Today, you can see Hobb’s influence strewn across the genre like breadcrumbs in the Grimm’s tales.
Authors have started focusing on characters who feel real, not just because of their witty dialogue or mysterious pasts, but due to their relatability, their flaws, their triumphs, and their growth.
They have started weaving worlds where magic and politics dance in harmony, and where morality is more nuanced than simple black and white.
Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy, an understated game-changer, has left a mark on the sand of fantasy literature that’s as enduring as a dragon’s footprint.
After all, who needs a knight in shining armour when you can have a complex, evolving hero with a knack for assassination?
If you enjoy reading about flawed characters, you might enjoy my Dawn of Assassins series.
You can read the prequel novel Birth of Assassins for free as part of the Ravengass Universe starter library.