Companion animals in fantasy books is a fairly common trope I’d say. Animals, that are magical in some, that bond with a human (or other race of) character. Animals choose people for a purpose. So what are some books that feature companion animals?
The Heralds of Valdemar series by Mercedes Lackey (and other authors) is probably one of the best examples I can think of of companion animals in fantasy books. The Companions themselves are beautiful white horses with blue eyes that choose people to be Heralds. The Heralds then travel the land acting as judges and settling disputes. They also fight in wars when required.
Companions and Heralds also share a telepathic link, so they are in contact with one another even when not physically together.
In the vast world that is the Valdemar series, there are others types of companion animals as well, including birds and cats. These animals don’t “choose” their people to be anything more than just people. They simply exist together as companions.
This is a very long series, with well over 20 books published and more continuing to be released. If you have a hankering for companion animals in fantasy books, the Valdemar books are a great place to start!
Another great example of companion animals in fantasy is the Crossroads Trilogy by Kate Elliott. In this trilogy, giant eagles choose people to become Reeves. The Reeves, much like the Heralds of Valdemar mentioned above, travel the land acting as judges and settling disputes as needed.
Unlike the Valdemar series, the eagles and Reeves don’t share a telepathic connection. They are bonded though, because if an eagle dies it’s Reeve dies too. Though if a Reeve dies, the Eagle can survive and choose another Reeve.
If you’re looking for Urban Fantasy, I would highly recommend checking out The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. The main character, Atticus, has an Irish wolfhound that he has bonded to telepathically. As the books are told mostly from Atticus’s perspective, we are often treated to his conversations with Oberon, his dog, to much delight. Oberon is actually the best character in this series. He’s smart, funny, and sarcastic. What more could you want in your companion animal?
I’m going to include the Realm of the Elderlings by Robin Hobb here, though these books may not quite fit with what some might think of as companion animals. The Realm of the Elderlings is made of a few separate trilogies that extend off one another. In the first trilogy, the Farseer Trilogy, the main character, Fitz, has the ability to bond with animals and share a telepathic connection with them. This power isn’t common in this world and is actually considered to be taboo by most. People discovered to have this ability would be persecuted. Fitz is able to hide his ability while still having canine companions, most notably the wolf Nighteyes.
The Rain Wild Chronicles is a bit different. This part of the series is all about dragons coming back to the world. A group of people are recruited to help the dragons find a more suitable place to live as where they hatched can’t sustain them. Though the people do bond with the dragons, there is no telepathic connection and the dragons see the humans as servants more than actual friends.
I’m sure there are many more examples out there of fantasy books featuring companion animals that I have yet to read. Dragon Riders of Perne for instance or the Inheritance series ( I only read Eragon).
What are some fantasy series you’ve read with companion animals? Have you read any of the ones I’ve listed here? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!
Thank for reading!