Today’s theme for Top Five Wednesday is favorite teachers and mentors. Browsing through my books, I had fewer than I expected, probably because I read very little YA.
You probably think I’m riffing on Tolkien again in advance of my Tolkien 101 summer school series. No! Truth be told, Gandalf is utter rot as a mentor or teacher. A little vain, always rushing off at inconvenient times. I have better options.
The Wheel of Time – Lan
I bet you thought I was going to say Moiraine. But that would be the easy choice, and not the best one, I think. Moiraine’s interests never line up well enough with those of the Two Rivers crowd. And she really isn’t in a position to teach Rand very much. Lan, on the other hand… One of the more fascinating things going on in The Wheel of Time is Lan almost immediately starts pulling away from his loyalty to Moiraine. Obviously in favor of Nynaeve, but also in favor of Rand. He winds up being second only to Nynaeve and Min, in my opinion, among the characters that put helping Rand above their own interests.
Read all of my Wheel of Time posts here.
Uprooted – The Dragon
This is a very different sort of teaching/mentorship relationship, albeit still very much a teaching/mentorship relationship. And in my favorite book of the last several years. It’s a tribute to how great Uprooted is that I wrote a longish glowing review and didn’t mention Agnieska and Sarkan’s relationship. Uprooted also does a great job of handling Agnieska’s exposure to a magic that is much more mysterious than we are used to seeing in today’s fantasy.
Read my full review of Uprooted here.
Age of Assassins – Merela
The relationship between apprentice assassin Girton Club-Foot and master assassin Merela is more traditional, or at least as traditional as assassin apprenticeships can be. But it also manages to subtly subvert expectations. Merela’s mentorship of Girton is surprisingly gentle and caring, given their profession.
Read my full review of Age of Assassins here.
Mistborn Trilogy – Kelsier
Kelsier swings more on the mentor than teacher side of the scale, although he does teach Vin to use her mistborn powers. Like any good mentor/teacher figure, he looms large over things, even when he isn’t around.
No review of the Mistborn books yet, but check out my post comparing book 2 to The Last Jedi.
The Scar – The Wanderer
Lessons don’t always come cheap, and The Wanderer is the sort of teacher who hands them out whether you like it or not. A more controversial pick, perhaps, given that The Wanderer is barely in the book, barely interacts with the characters, and acts entirely without their leave. But his actions set the entire thing into motion, and he is very much teaching a lesson.
Read my Full Review of The Scar here.