Face Carpets and Fantasy: Why Are Some of Fantasy’s Best Writers Rocking Wild Rip Van Winkle Beards?
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
• Robert Jordan
• Michael Moorcock
• George R.R. Martin
• Terry Pratchett
• Raymond E. Feist
• Terry Goodkind
• David Farland
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.)