Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Top 10 Traveling Parties in Fiction


In fiction, the most romantically thrilling stories are those involving journeys – such as quests and exploring or trekking through unknown lands.  Aside from being rich of mystery and adventure, what makes such stories of journeys exciting is the assortment of travelers that banded together to go on the journey, since, more often than not, the journey is more fascinating if it’s being undergone by a group rather than an individual. 

Here are my choices of the most interesting traveling parties that are involve in some form of adventurous journey – quest, exploration, voyage, expedition, and the like.

10.) KING ARTHUR & THE KNIGHTS OF THE ROUND TABLE (Monthy Python and the Holy Grail)

There are a few journeys in fiction that can rival the hilarious insanity of this satirizing of Arthurian legend.  The depiction of King Arthur and his knights in this movie had been extremely amusing.  This traveling party deserves a spot on this list for their hilarious “horse-riding” throughout their quest: they would mime as if they were galloping on a horse while their porters trotted behind them thumping coconut shells together to simulate hoof sounds.      

9.) LITTLEFOOT & FRIENDS (The Land Before Time)

Almost every Land Before Time movie involves Littlefoot, Cera, Ducky, Petrie, and Spike travelling somewhere.  But the most dramatic adventure that this group of juvenile dinosaurs had will always be their first.  It was a pretty moving journey (from a very touching movie); I was still a toddler when I’ve first seen the movie (in Betamax, I think), but up till now, I can still remember the emotional investment that the toddler me has put into it while watching them journeying towards their families. 

8.) A “PARTY” OF “PLAYER CHARACTERS” (Dungeons and Dragons)

I never get the chance to play the D&D board game (it would have been awesome if they made an epic PC game based on this premise and property), but from what I understand, the experience was pretty fun and engaging.  Players get to role-play “player characters” and form “parties” and complete “adventures” and “campaigns.”  Yep, that sounds fun and engaging indeed.

There was also a TV show based on the premise of the game.  The party consists of friends, aged between 8 to 15, that have been magically transported to the realm of D&D after taking a roller coaster ride.  Upon arrival, they were given “player character” weapons and identities – Ranger, Barbarian, Magician, Thief, Cavalier, and Acrobat – by the Dungeon Master.  Their main journey revolves around finding a way home, but at the same time, helping folks and fighting the evil they encounter along the way.   

7.) THE ARGONAUTS (Jason and the Argonauts)

One of the most enduring tales of journey is that of Jason and his Argonauts’ quest for the Golden Fleece.  This tale originates from Greek mythology, but my definite understanding of the story was from the 1963 movie.  This was my first encounter of the concept of warriors/sailors voyaging on a ship, having episodic adventures along their way, and it mightily appealed to me. 

I liked the Argonauts (being dubbed as such for their ship’s name was “Argo”, after its builder, Argus) for they were supposed to be a group of elite, badass heroes.  Even the strong-man Hercules was a member of the Argonauts.  They seek glory and adventure, and believe they will obtain them by accompanying Jason. 

6.) THE CREW OF USS ENTERPRISE (Star Trek)

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

That’s the original tagline of Star Trek.  As far as “star-faring” journeys are concerned, the original TV series could be the most well-known (as for the movie reboot, the journey has just started in Into Darkness).  That’s why it’s called Star Trek in the first place.  The characters of this show – the crew of the USS Enterprise – would turn out as one of the most beloved and iconic ensembles of characters in fiction. 

5.) THORIN’S EXPEDITION TO THE LONELY MOUNTAINS (The Hobbit)

The Hobbit, the prequel to the epic Lord of the Rings, depicted one of the most legendary fantasy journeys ever.  This journey was undertaken by an expedition composed of a wizard, a hobbit, and 13 dwarves, whose purpose is to reclaim the dwarves’ mountain kingdom and its immense treasury from the dragon Smaug.  It was during this journey that the hobbit Bilbo “re-discovered” the One Ring, which would be the central plot device in LOTR.   

4.) KA-TET OF 19 (The Dark Tower)

At first, Roland Deschain’s ka-tet (meaning a band bonded by “ka” or destiny or fate) has no formal name.  But along their journey, they observed that the number “19” was recurring everywhere.  They realized that the path they are on was under the “ka of 19”, and Jake (if I remembered right) suggested calling their ka-tet the “ka-tet of 19.”    

This band of travelers was assembled by Roland, the last Gunslinger, midway his journey towards the Dark Tower to accompany him.  They were individuals from different 20th century periods from our world, and were struggling from some form of misery (e.g. drug addiction, split personality disorder) and only found “relief” when they joined Roland.  Along the way, Roland would train them the gunslinger way and they would eventually become talented and capable gunslingers themselves.   

Deep inside, Roland is sadly aware that his companions will be mere “expendables” for his journey; that in the end, he will be the only one remaining standing before the Dark Tower.  In some ways, his companions know this, too, but are still willing to press on, for they, like Roland, are also compelled by ka and the Dark Tower to do so.    

3.) SANZO’S PARTY (Gensomaden Saiyuki)

Made up of the coolest foursome in fiction, Genjyo Sanzo, Son Goku, Cho Hakkai, and Sha Gojyo were tasked to journey westwards to retrieve the stolen Holy Sutra, which is a catalyst for reviving a powerful demon.   I really mean what I said about this four being the coolest foursome in fiction.  Not even the Fantastic Four, awesome superhero team they might be, can match the kickassery and charisma of these four.  No matter how disadvantageous or tough the battles they face during their travels, they always win in a cool and badass style.  Their mode of transportation is a mini dragon that can transform into a jeep; that’s another reason why they are an awesome travelling group. 

2.) THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE RING (Lord of the Rings)

The purpose of the fellowship is to accompany and protect the ring-bearer, Frodo, in his quest of disposing Sauron’s ring into Mt. Doom.   Though they failed in doing so – leaving Frodo and Sam to complete the mission – and disbanding just merely a third into Lord of the Rings, the Fellowship had made enough impact to become a favorite of mine. With sword, bow and arrow, axe, and magic – they were a collection of formidable warriors who were capable of taking on multitudes of enemies at one time.    

1.) STRAW HAT PIRATES (One Piece)

The Straw Hat Pirates are one of the most awesome ensembles or teams in fiction.  They are in constant adventuring, with the intention of finding the titular “One Piece” someday and of together accomplishing their dreams.   Each of them has different goals and dreams in life but essentially believe that by helping their captain, Monkey D. Luffy, achieve his own dream of becoming pirate king, they are set to achieve their own dreams along the way.  They are a diverse bunch with different skills and personalities, who are fantastic in their respective roles in the crew.  Most importantly, despite the petty comical arguments that sometimes erupt among them, they maintain a strong bond of belongingness and friendship with each other.


Honorable Mentions: The expedition to Atlantis (Atlantis: The Lost Empire); Phileas Fogg, Passepartout, and Aouda (Around the World in 80 days); the crew of the “Dawn Treader” (The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader); Dorothy and friends (The Wizard of Oz); Christiana, her sons, Mercy, and the other pilgrims (The Pilgrim’s Progress)

No comments: