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Terry Brooks Rovers vs RJ's Traveling People


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The very first fantasy book I ever read was The Elf Stones of Shannara more than 10 years ago when I was in my early teens.  Last night in a fit of sleepless pique (this blows I give up I'm gonna read dammmit!) I decided to pick that volume up.  It has always held a special place to me as it opened up a whole new world of imagination to me.  Anyway the Rovers play a significant role in this and other of the Shannara novels.  While they differ in many ways from the Traveling people they are also similiar in many ways.

I will of course touch on those in a moment.


I submit that since Elfstones was written in the late 70s, Terry Brooks' Rovers gave RJ an image to base his Traveling people on.


Here is my reasoning:


-[The Rovers/The Traveling People] This is virtually the same name just another way of saying it.


-The Rovers travel about in garishly colored wagons.  Need I state the similiarities.


-The Rovers wear brightly colored silks.  Again the comparison is obvious.


-The Rovers are accounted great thieves (albeit deservedly so in the World of Shannara) and mistrusted by outsiders.  On the flip side the Rovers feel the same way about outsiders and shun all but their own.  We all know of the Traveling peoples reputation.


-The Rovers are organized into seperate caravans called Families.  Each Family is led by a father figure who speaks for his people.  Again the likeness is obvious to all.


-Here we start to differ The Rovers follow the Way.  This Way is that women are subservient to the men who protect and provide for them.  They do not have a code of non violence, and will defend themselves.  However the Way is big part of what makes the Rovers what they are.


Any thoughts on my theory?

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Ever heard of gypsies?  Both Jordan's Tuatha'an and Brooks' Rovers take much of their culture/characteristics from various loosely historical stereotypes of the Romani (commonly or derogatorily known as Gypsies) found throughout Europe, western Asia, and the Middle East.  Both authors are educated enough to know that the stereotypes are only marginally accurate, but some of the details match fairly closely (as one example, the Irish Travellers, said by some to be a branch of the Romani, are sometimes known as Tinkers).


Gyspies stereotypically wander in garishly colored wagons and wear outlandish clothing.  They are often regarded with distrust by local populations (in fact, historically they have been treated quite harshly).


So, this isn't really a case of Jordan taking a page from Brooks, but rather, both men drawing on a real world stereotype.


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