Literary Dinner Party – Wyrd and Wonder 23
Welcome! We’re so glad you could make it, it’s wonderful to see you again. We’re throwing another dinner party! The last one we held was way back in 2020, so we think it’s high time we should have another Come on in, we’re just waiting on a couple more guests…
So, in keeping with this year’s All Things Magical theme, here are the (mostly) magical guests we’d love to invite to dinner…
One character who can cook/likes to cook
Nils: Thimble from Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree.
He may be a rat, and so an unusual dinner party guest but he can make the most delicious sounding cinnamon buns, so of course we need him to invite him.
Theo: Excellent choice, Nils! Having just read Legends and Latte’s I can thoroughly endorse the nomination of the Ratkin who invented Chocolate Croissants! – sorry Chocolate Crescents! However, Nils – how could you miss out on Samwise Gamgee (Do I even have to specify Lord of the Rings?!) – and his love of the humble potato (or at least that’s how 3 films and a hundred memes have presented him).
Nils: Sorry Theo but I have a sweet tooth so Thimble would provide all the sweet treats I desire!
Hil: Holly Harker from Small Miracles by Olivia Atwater.
Her pastries bring all the slightly fallen Angels of Petty Temptations to the yard.
One character who has money to fund the party
Beth: Mr Norrell from Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.
He would most certainly be the funding or organisation behind a gathering of like-minded magic users so that he could prove himself the best amongst them all. Just don’t get stuck sitting next to him.
Nils: Bayaz from The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie.
This crafty little bald headed ‘wizard’ (he never calls himself that but we know he is!) has an endless amount of wealth so we’d definitely be able to use it to host an elaborate party. The only problem is he’d probably be planning to quietly kill off any of the other guests more magically powerful than him.
Theo: I’m going to suggest Locke Lamora from The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
(You didn’t specify it had to be the character’s own money right?! And large quantities of dosh do seem to gravitate towards Locke Lamora – like stars screaming in X-rays as they fall into a black hole)
Hil: Ailsa the barmaid from Priest of Bones by Peter McLean.
For a barmaid though, she has access to a lot of things – just don’t ask too many questions because you won’t like the answers.
One character who might cause a scene
Nils: Diantha Spark from A Witch’s Guide to Fake Dating a Demon by Sarah Hawley.
Diantha is eccentric and has absolutely zero filters on what she says. She’s a master of her teleportation craft, so she can actually teleport food from all across the world, handy for dinner party, right? Yet she causes plenty of scenes during her own weekly dinner parties, imagine what she’d be like at ours!
Theo: I’m going to suggest Jalan Kendeth from Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence since statistically speaking he is quite likely to owe a substantial sum of money to at least one guest, have slept with another guest, cheated on that guest with a third, which both their spouses are about to discover, and probably sold his soul to another – all of which is bound to come out well before dessert is served.
One character who is funny/amusing
Beth: Nanny Ogg from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld
I think Nanny would be great at making everyone feel at ease and she’d regale us with hilarious stories of Esme that she’d hate us knowing. She’d surreptitiously get us all drunk and have us singing questionable songs about mammals before dessert. (Theo: As well as answering some eternal questions about Wizards’ staffs, no doubt?!)
Nils: Aki from The Hunters by David Wragg.
Aki thinks he’s a master poet and storyteller not to mention he thinks he’s a reincarnated Protector sent by the Goddess! It’s rather ambiguous if he has abilities or not, but I’m still choosing him because his eccentric and dramatic ways never cease to annoy his sister Anashe, but I find him hilarious, so I’m sure he’d entertain us.
Theo: I’m going to pick the Rogue Sec-unit (aka Murderbot) from Martha Wells All Systems Red (and the rest of the Murderbot series).
Being a genderless non-human who is contractually obliged to protect humans from each other (and themselves) has gifted the sec-unit a particular and amusing take on the many absurdities in the human condition. It’s not so much that Murderbot would be spilling forth Wildean witticisms, as thinking them privately – we’d just need to set their thoughts to transmission mode.
One character who is super social/popular
Theo: I’ll pick Adrian Viedt (aka Ozymandias) from Watchmen by Alan Moore and David Gibbons.
I mean this guy is so perfect, he’s what Elon Musk would be if Elon Musk was who Elon Musk thought he was. That is to say technologically, physically and commercially brilliant, but also deliberately self-made (having discarded an inheritance large enough to have set him up for life in favour of making a success from scratch entirely on his own merits). He’s managed to retire from being a superhero and transition into a Tony Stark/Bruce Wayne kind of corporate super power (with a sideline in Ozymandias merchandising). I mean everybody loves him, he’s almost too good to be true!
Beth: Ash from Godblind by Anna Stephens
I struggled a little with this one because I’m a lot more familiar with morally-grey, brooding introverted anti-heroes. Odd there isn’t a prompt for one of those, but then I guess they’re not strictly party people. ANYWAY, someone I did think of as being someone people turned to, and everyone loved, and always saw the sword half-sheathed rather than half-drawn, was Ash. My sweet beautiful cinnamon roll Ash who didn’t deserve to be written by an author like Anna.
Nils: Nisong from The Drowning Empire trilogy by Andrea Stewart.
My reason for choosing Nisong is quite simple really, she’s quite adept at Bone Shard magic but she’s using it to kill people and cause havoc, so maybe if we distract her during the dinner party, Lin can use the time to find a way to beat her!
Theo: I’m going to pick Marith from Anna Smith-Spark’s Court of Broken Knives (and the rest of the Empires of Dust trilogy).
I mean I know that, technically, he is the protagonist and so the hero of the story. However, in his murderous quest for blood and revenge – promising more death than Theoden before the battle of the Pelennor Fields https://www.youtube.com/shorts/6LJZ0nt23xc – he is not so much anti-hero as outright villain. I mean decades after his fall, blood and destruction still cumber all the parts of
Italy Irlast (as documented in the standalone follow up – A Woman of the Sword) – which is a pretty villainous thing to do to a continent!
One couple – doesn’t have to be romantic
Beth: Brother and sister duo Merlin and Vivienne from Garth Nix’s The Left-Handed Booksellers of London
Ok so Merlin can’t strictly do magic in the same sense Vivienne can, but rather has magical attributes so I think they still count. They are also argumentative and entertaining as hell, and I bet would have fascinating conversation. Whether about the magical goings on in the country currently, or what books they’re currently reading. Either way, I’m there.
Nils: Wax and Wayne from Mistborn era Two by Brandon Sanderson.
These two are hands down one of my most favourite bromances. They both have excellently crafted Mistborn powers that would be fascinating to learn more about, but also the banter between them would be top-notch entertainment.
Theo: Thomas and Marya Senlin – from Senlin Ascends (and the rest of The Tower of Babel Quadrology) by Josiah Bancroft.
As a reader I was hideously tortured by Bancroft’s cruel separation of them on their honeymoon, and then teased with brief flickering passes of acquaintance through the remaining four books. So I would like to see them finally enjoy a relaxed and convivial evening in each other’s company … oh shit, maybe I should rethink some of my other invited guests!
Theo: I’m picking Stark Holborn’s eponymous hero Ten Low.
As a medic and ex-con, she is trying to find redemption for the many deaths she’s caused by tending the sick on the barren inhospitable Rock that is Factus. I think she deserves a decent night out in pleasant company with good food. Then again she does have those sometime companions, the swirling ephemeral Ifs, beings who feed off the myriad chances in volatile situations and manipulate them towards a scenario of barely predictable maximum chaos. Hmm… probs not the kind of ‘plus ones’ you’d want to bring to a gathering like this!
Beth: January from The Ten Thousand Doors of January
She’d have some fantastic stories to share at a dinner party, and she might even be able to take us somewhere special for an after-dinner stroll!
Nils: Joanna from Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs.
Joanna can bring spells to life from reading magical books and is able to set wards of protection. With the mix of dinner guests we’ll be having, we might need that protection!
One underappreciated character
Beth: Noon from Jen William’s Winnowing Flame trilogy.
Everyone always bangs on about how great Vintage and she is and all, but I think Noon deserves a night out and a bit of attention. She’s been through a lot and could do with a night off from Tor. (Nils: plus she could use her Winnowing fire to kill off any guests who start to become annoying 😂)
Nils: Dara from The Daevabad trilogy by Shannon Chakraborty.
Ahh my beloved, misunderstood Djinn. Ok, Dara has done some shady things, but he had reasons, and it makes me sad that most people don’t understand his psyche. So yeah, Dara needs a fun dinner party where he can have a night off from being the most hated Djinn in Daevabad.
Theo: I’m going with Maia the understated lead in Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor.
The poor fellow was the product of a loveless diplomatic marriage who was never intended to succeed to the throne. Once his mother died he was sent far away and subjected to the cruel tutelage of his cousin, on the understanding that nothing was expected of him and nothing would come of him. While he can appear to be a passenger in the events that followed, dodging the intrigues of a court that neither wanted nor expected him, there is in Maia, that rarely declared superpower of niceness. It is a gently expressed virtue that, like a constant trickle of water, gradually reshapes and reforms the court he reluctantly presides over.
One character of your own choosing
Nils: Tairn, a black Morningstar dragon from Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros.
I just need to have Tairn there because he’s a rather fiercely protective dragon and if the dinner party gets out of hand I can ride him and escape easily.
Theo: I’m picking Essun from N.K.Jemsin’s The Fifth Season (and the rest of the Broken Earth Trilogy).
Driven by a fierce maternal instinct, shaped by an upbringing that abused her in order to control and wield her power, yet with the capacity to shape and move the Earth itself. Who better to keep the potentially explosive mix of guests under control – or at least in their seats!
Thank you so much for attending our dinner party, we hope you enjoyed!
Who would you invite to yours?