Our featured title this month in BarnesandNoble.com’s Fantasy/Science Fiction forum is The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – unarguably one of the best debut fantasy novels to be released in the last decade – and during my research of the singularly brilliant Mr. Rothfuss, I experienced an epiphany of sorts: some of the fantasy genre’s best authors have crazy, “I’ve been living in the woods for the last ten years” beards!

I took a tour of the thousands of genre fiction books I have in my house and sure enough, no other category has nearly as many wildly bearded authors as fantasy – except poetry and some of those bards do have jaw-droppingly impressive growths of facial hair (like one of my all-time favorite poets, William Everson).

Here is a short list of some fantasy authors who have beards to rival those with legendary chin warmers like Gandalf, Moses, Blackbeard the Pirate, ZZ Top, and Santa Claus (although some are much more noteworthy than others)…

• Patrick Rothfuss

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• Robert Jordan

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• Michael Moorcock

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• George R.R. Martin

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 • Terry Pratchett

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 • Raymond E. Feist

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 • Terry Goodkind

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• David Farland

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I don’t know why so many fantasy authors have beards while the majority of writers from other genres – mystery, romance, science fiction, etc. – do not but it makes sense to me in a weird kind of way. When reading good fantasy – and The Name of the Wind is a perfect example – I feel as though the narrative voice is oftentimes akin to the wizened, traveling storytellers that appear in many of these fantasy sagas.  Curling up on the couch with books like The Name of the Wind is like sitting down by a blazing fire in the middle of the night just off some remote wilderness path and listening to a wild bearded raconteur weave his tale.


(This blog has been faithfully submitted by Paul Goat Allen, a face carpet grower since 1985.)

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Message Edited by Jon_B on 08-13-2009 09:13 AM
by Moderator dhaupt on ‎08-12-2009 09:19 AM
Hmmm, Well I think it may have something to do with stroking said beard while they're whiling away the hours thinking up incredible stories. Or maybe it's because they're so busy thinking about all that fantasy creating that they simply um forget to shave. ;-)
by on ‎08-12-2009 10:11 AM
This article has me thinking. I'm not sure why they would have beards. I like your wizened, traveling storyteller. I also like dhaupt stroking the beard during the story process. One of my favorite pictures of my brother is on a book of his poems, he has a nice beard in that picture. But what really is on my mind, is ZZ Top and how they fit into this. Hmmm!
by on ‎08-12-2009 10:34 AM

I don't know why they grow beards but it would sure make it easier to dress up as a wizard if you didn't have to fake the beard.  Also on some people like a certain moderator I know makes then look very distinguished.



by Moderator dhaupt on ‎08-12-2009 10:42 AM

Hmm, distinguished. Do you really think that fit's Paul. Okay, just kidding I do to.

Now evil wizard I can see that! ;-)

by Moderator paulgoatallen on ‎08-12-2009 10:59 AM
Thanks, Deb – and Toni! Actually my beard is a whole lot grayer now so, on a good day, I do believe I can pull off "distinguished" – especially if I use the "beard stroke" technique!
by Kristine_S on ‎08-12-2009 12:06 PM
This is hilarious! My favorite English professor had a beard just like yours, only much whiter and even longer. It was part of what made him so endearing.
by carmen22 on ‎08-12-2009 02:34 PM

 This is awesome! I think Patrick Rothfuss'  wild, crazy, and untamed beard wins the contest for  "The Best Fantasy Beard and Novel" award, in my humble opinion! Heh, and maybe they just don't believe in pogonotomy! I've heard it takes a lot out of you...


By the way, great picture! I agree, I can see the "Evil Wizard with a Beard" award coming your way! 

by KekeJ on ‎08-12-2009 04:54 PM
Maybe so much of their time is spent weaving tales that there is no room for personal grooming!
by FindingLydia on ‎08-20-2009 01:34 PM
I think it's definitely a focus thing :smileywink: Who can think of shaving when you have great ideas to get down! I also agree that the "Evil Wizard with a Beard" award is all yours- a pretty intence look :smileywink:
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