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Craze_b0i
07-09-2013, 17:48
It's the classic fantasy formula: party of heroes sets out on an epic quest to save the world from something or other. But which party is your favourite, which has the best ensemble of characters? What about the relationships between them and how this makes the group as a whole appeal to the reader?

I'll kick off with a few favourites....

I'll start with perhaps the most famous party of all: The Fellowship of the Ring. For a start it had Gandalf, arguably the most powerful wizard in Middle Earth and probably the most memorable in fantasy as a whole up alongside the likes of Merlin. Then you had Aragorn, the greatest huntsman of his age, a character who defined the ranger archetype for other fantasy work that followed, oh and he is also a future king in waiting. Then you had Frodo Sam et al. who defined the template for fantasy halflings. The one critique of the Fellowship would be that to a large extent Merry and Pippin are really just hangers on and not terribly useful, it is only in later books after the party splits up that they come into their own. Though in their defence they do in certain places add humour. Another would be that as a party they don't actually stay together all that long (half of one book in fact), in particular Gandalf makes an early disappearance. Meanwhile of the nine characters Legolas is probably the least interesting and least developed.

The Belgariad by David Eddings, also follows the party-quest format and contains some memorable characters such as Belgarath (a wizard-leader like Gandalf but slightly more of a rogue in terms of persona), and Silk (a thief and spy), plus half a dozen others who each represent one of the different human nations of the setting. There is a nice mix of skills and personalities, and each character gets at least one moment where they come into their own.

The party of Dragonlance Chronicles contains some great characters such as Tanis, Flint, Tas, Raistlin and nicely represents an archetypal mix of races/classes found in an archetypal D&D party. To me Raislin the mage is probably the most interesting due to his conflicting agenda and the fact he's only really helping the party while it suits his own interests. The party also includes several females, allowing for romances between the main characters.

cornonthecob
07-09-2013, 21:12
Final Fantasy 1, because you can mix the parties so you can have nothing but fighters or mages or healers etc

Lothlanathorian
08-09-2013, 07:01
The Companions of the Hall of the Legend of Drizzt series fame. Aside from Drizzt's apparent Mary Sue-ism, the characters have depth and you truly feel for them in the early books. And I'm not just talking about the books where they're all together, but, the members of the group and everything they go through, which includes poor Wulfgar and the novel Spine of the World.

Caiphas Cain
08-09-2013, 08:36
Final Fantasy 1, because you can mix the parties so you can have nothing but fighters or mages or healers etc

Ha! :D

Well, I'm going to have to go with either the fellowship or the Dragonlance group.

Drizzt himself was really interesting for the first two books, but after those there was no real development and I lost interest. Still. The first book in that series is one of my favorite pieces of fantasy.

MOMUS
08-09-2013, 08:53
Sonic and the chaotix crew

inq.serge
08-09-2013, 09:06
Any team containing Morrigan* and Zevran Arainai.


* I always get 100 approval from her. Before reaching lvl 7 too.

Lothlanathorian
08-09-2013, 10:21
Ha! :D

Well, I'm going to have to go with either the fellowship or the Dragonlance group.

Drizzt himself was really interesting for the first two books, but after those there was no real development and I lost interest. Still. The first book in that series is one of my favorite pieces of fantasy.

Could you elaborate? Do you mean first two books or first two trilogies? Also, if you mean books, do you mean first two as in the first two books in the Icewind Dale trilogy which would be the first two books or do you mean the first two of the Dark Elf trilogy which are actually the 4th and 5th, but, are part of a prequel trilogy that, in retrospect, did more harm to the character than good?

Also, after Entreri thinks he kills Drizzt, the series after that, he starts to get more development. The most recent two arcs have been rather interesting as he doesn't have the supporting cast due to the 100 year leap forward Forgotten Realms took, so, you get him dealing with loneliness and his strict morals in a world gone grey.

yabbadabba
08-09-2013, 10:30
I'll go for the Fellowship and the Dragonlance chaps. Also, because it is more Space Fantasy than Sci-fi, I could make an honourable mention for the Star Wars: New Hope band.

I'd also like to throw into the ring for perusal more than victory the D+D cartoon series group. I loved that series as a kid and was overjoyed when my son got the whole set on DVD for Christmas one year.

Foolish Mortal
09-09-2013, 08:49
I'll go for the Fellowship and the Dragonlance chaps. Also, because it is more Space Fantasy than Sci-fi, I could make an honourable mention for the Star Wars: New Hope band.

I'd also like to throw into the ring for perusal more than victory the D+D cartoon series group. I loved that series as a kid and was overjoyed when my son got the whole set on DVD for Christmas one year.

+1 to the D & D cartoon - I've got the set on DVD as well - love it.

I'd also throw in Conan the Barbarian (1980's movie). Good mix of characters & James Earl Jones plays a great bad guy.

Caiphas Cain
09-09-2013, 16:48
Could you elaborate? Do you mean first two books or first two trilogies? Also, if you mean books, do you mean first two as in the first two books in the Icewind Dale trilogy which would be the first two books or do you mean the first two of the Dark Elf trilogy which are actually the 4th and 5th, but, are part of a prequel trilogy that, in retrospect, did more harm to the character than good?

Also, after Entreri thinks he kills Drizzt, the series after that, he starts to get more development. The most recent two arcs have been rather interesting as he doesn't have the supporting cast due to the 100 year leap forward Forgotten Realms took, so, you get him dealing with loneliness and his strict morals in a world gone grey.

I liked the books Homeland and Exile. I'm not familiar enough with the series to be sure which books they are chronologically. I just assumed that they were the first two books because they are the first two in the first Collector's edition Legend of Drizzt. I guess they would be the fourth and fifth based on your post?

Anyways, the first (fourth?) book I really liked simply because I knew nothing of the setting and it gave a fantastic character introduction in addition to a really cool story. Looking back, I don't really think that I enjoyed the second book that much. It was much slower and the 'wow, Drizzt is awesome' wore off and was replaced with an "Oh, ok then" sort of feeling. By the third book I found myself struggling to press on. I'm a fan of cool stories as much as the next guy, but I feel that that's all Salvatore was writing at that point. There was no further development and instead a Scottish woman and barbarian were introduced to make up for a seeming inability to continue shaping Drizzt's personality. And after those two are introduced the whole story just feels like someone's role playing session turned into a book. After reading two more books, hoping that the series would take a turn for the better, I gave up. I found out later that the books are set in the DnD universe and I wasn't too surprised.

Lothlanathorian
09-09-2013, 22:10
I liked the books Homeland and Exile. I'm not familiar enough with the series to be sure which books they are chronologically. I just assumed that they were the first two books because they are the first two in the first Collector's edition Legend of Drizzt. I guess they would be the fourth and fifth based on your post?

Anyways, the first (fourth?) book I really liked simply because I knew nothing of the setting and it gave a fantastic character introduction in addition to a really cool story. Looking back, I don't really think that I enjoyed the second book that much. It was much slower and the 'wow, Drizzt is awesome' wore off and was replaced with an "Oh, ok then" sort of feeling. By the third book I found myself struggling to press on. I'm a fan of cool stories as much as the next guy, but I feel that that's all Salvatore was writing at that point. There was no further development and instead a Scottish woman and barbarian were introduced to make up for a seeming inability to continue shaping Drizzt's personality. And after those two are introduced the whole story just feels like someone's role playing session turned into a book. After reading two more books, hoping that the series would take a turn for the better, I gave up. I found out later that the books are set in the DnD universe and I wasn't too surprised.


They were also the ones I read first and I enjoyed them muchly. It was later that I read the Icewind Dale Trilogy and found out that, publishing-wise, IDT came first and the Dark Elf Trilogy (Homeland/Exile/Sojourn) were written second and due to pressure from THR/the publisher/Salvatore's editor. The DET was written because they wanted a 'prequel' series for Drizzt because he was a very popular character.

After reading IWD as an adult and then reading DET second, I noticed a lot of style changes and things that had to be retconned and I enjoyed the DET less.

The books following The Companions up until the Transitions trilogy were fairly good fantasy and they are still one of my top favorite groups of characters. From Transitions on the writing feels very dictated by changes being made to the setting and the narrative feels more forced. I'm looking forward to the next books, though, as Drizzt is 'starting over' and the setting is stable again.


Also, the group from the First Law Trilogy is a damn good one. Jezal dan Luther, Bayaz, Sand dan Glokta, Logen Ninefingers and Ferro. Love them all. What a group of horrible examples of heroes who go on to, well, complete their adventure.

scavenseer
09-09-2013, 22:58
FTW the Crew in MAGICIAN By Fiest, the strongest Spell caster PUG, A living god Tomas and......................

ColShaw
12-09-2013, 16:41
I vote for the Fellowship. So archetypal, every other fantasy party seems to follow their lead.

I've always liked the companions of the Prydain Chronicles: Taran, Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam, Gurgi, Doli (and an extra or two per book, like Prince Rhun, Ellidyr, Adaon). Of them, only Doli is truly competent (Taran the would-be warrior tends to lose every fight he gets in, Eilonwy is a sorceress who never casts a single successful spell, Fflewddur is a bard who flunked bard training, Gurgi is... well, Gurgi), but they still hold together and get things done. I also like that they have a bard as a main character; it always was my favorite D&D class.

I always have personal fondness for my own characters, of course, both in my writing and my RPGs, but I won't relate those here.