Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Favorite Fictional Character: King Trent

Posted by Simcha 5:53 PM, under | 3 comments

Favorite Fictional Character

When I was thirteen years old a friend of mine introduced me to Piers Anthony's Xanth books, and I quickly fell in love with Anthony's wonderful world of magic and puns. I followed the series for many years, until it began to grow a bit stale, but I always think back fondly on these books. Xanth was was the first fantasy series that I religiously followed and it really helped kindle my love for the genre.

Xanth is a world of magic where most items grow on trees (including money) and every person has a unique magical talent. Bordering Xanth is Mundania, where the unfortunate population live magic-free lives, completely unaware of the existence of Xanth, just across the invisible barrier.

There are many fun and interesting characters in Xanth, but my favorite is King Trent, who was my first encounter in fantasy with a likable villain.

Trent is introduced in the first book of the series, A Spell for Chameleon, as The Evil Magician. He had been kicked out of Xanth for trying to usurp the throne, and was deported to Mundania where he spent the last 20 years building an army to invade Xanth. When Bink, the protagonist of A Spell for Chameleon, is forced to leave Xanth due to his lack of magical talent, he gets captured by Trent who tries to force his assistance in breaking through Xanth's magical shield. Trent eventually succeeds at manipulating Bink and breaking into Xanth, though he ends up getting captured by the Council of Elders, and in an interesting twist, is crowned king. Trent then goes on to become a wise, compassionate, and much loved ruler of Xanth who comes to love the woman that he was forced by the council to marry, if he wanted to be crowned king.

While Trent is first introduced as villainous character, you eventually come to like him due to his intelligence and engaging personality. In addition, Trent's mourning for his wife, who died of illness in Mundnia, also helps him gain the reader's sympathy. By the end of the book, readers will be rooting for Trent, eager to forgive his earlier transgressions. And although his character takes a backseat in the following books in the series, his is still present and his character continues to mature and develop. I particularly enjoyed watching him and his wife fall in love, despite their initial animosity for each other.

Even though it's been many years since I last picked up a Xanth book, King Trent still stands out in my mind and remains one of my favorite fantasy characters.

3 comments:

Xanth! I <3 Xanth! It's been SO long since I last read a Xanth novel - I barely even remember who King Trent is. I keep telling myself that someday I will go back and read them all. Maybe when I have a few less books to read (haha!), I will host a Xanth challenge. :-) I'd have to go back and find all of my old copies, though!

I have never read these books but your favorable opinion and great post makes me want to give them a try.

Brizmus: I used to love this series though when I recently picked up a copy of the first book I didn't enjoy it as much as I used to. But Xanth is still my favorite fantasy world.

Ryan: As I mentioned above, when I recently read the first book in the series I didn't enjoy it as much as I did when I was younger. I don't know if it's because my taste has changed or it was just that I already knew the plot line. But I definitely think it's worth getting out of the library to see if you like it because Anthony has created a wonderful world with some great characters.

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