Author Lev Grossman's hilarious to-do list for fantasy characters

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Dec 17, 2012, 3:27 PM EST

The author of The Magicians—which has been described, rightly or wrongly, as "Harry Potter with alcohol and sex"—is a little tired of the way some, even most characters in fantasy novels carry themselves. They never seem to exhibit the same weaknesses as average folks. So here's a bit of a course correction from him.

As Grossman put in the introduction for this piece: "F. Scott Fitzgerald once wrote that the rich are different from you and me. That may or may not be true. But fantasy characters are definitely different from you and me. They don't seem to have quite the same ... travails as we do. This has always bothered me—I've always thought they should act more like people in real life. With that in mind, I've made a list of things they should do more often."

So here's his writerly advice:

  • Forget things, for no reason. ["Jesus, I told you we were gonna need the Netherhelm of Binding to seal the Fellgate." "I know, that's what's so weird! I put it on this morning. I could swear it. Or did I? Now I don't even know." "Well I guess we'll just have to seal the Fellgate tomorrow." "Well I guess so."]
  • Meet a non-white person and not subsequently discover they're from the Burning Lands Far to the South or something like that.
  • Suffer chafing issues.
  • Meet an orphan whose parents just turn out to be just as random and ordinary as his or her adoptive parents.
  • Drink non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Meet an orc who actually isn't an asshole.
  • Hear ominous noises that then turn out to be nothing. ["That totally sounded like the howling of a lost soul trapped for all eternity inside a massive cursed ruby. Turned out it was just Dan's lost-soul-in-ruby ringtone! We gotta make him change that."]
  • Make accurate change at a bar rather than just fling down a handful of gold coins and walk away.
  • Have guard duty and not bicker with the other person who has guard duty.
  • Discover a magic portal to a world that is pretty much the same deal as the world they came from.

There are 10 more winners over at Lytherus ... go take a gander.