If you've spent a good amount of time researching fantasy writing online then you have no doubt come across any number of posts about clichés in fantasy. One of the big no-no’s according to the various lists is having the characters on a road trip make stew. Yes, making stew seems to be quite popular in fantasy novels, and a good number of readers apparently take exception to this given how long it takes for a good stew to actually cook. Personally, I think they forget how hard it is to cook at all on the road (not to mention how sick and tired one would get of roasted rabbit), so tossing some things into a pot to boil for awhile is not exactly the end of the world.
Anyhow, I was reminded of this cliché by John Scalzi's review of The Name of the Wind. I love Scalzi and Rothfuss, so the review is worth checking out.
I had a point early in my fantasy novel where some characters needed to take a break early from their travels. I thought it would be a good point to poke fun at both the cliché and those who like to jump on it. Here is an excerpt:
Valgorn decided they’d camp early, just where the road left the woods. When Geldrath asked why they were stopping so early, Valgorn responded, “Do you know how long it takes to cook stew? Don’t get used to it."
Oddly enough, I have had a good number of readers actually try to tell me that I was doing something wrong here and didn't I know that having stew was wrong in a fantasy? Is it truly not apparent to these readers that I did this on purpose?