Tomorrow sees my annual migration northwards, home, to see the family for Christmas. It will involve a hike across the dangerous wastes of urban Berkshire, a cramped and nervous passage through the subterranean catacombs of the capital, before finally giving myself over to an arduous 4 hours of train based conveyance. I hate trains. I’ll admit I like the idea of trains, I just don’t like using them. I’ve loathed them ever since, at the start of 2005, I was forced to stand for 5 hours from Newcastle to Birmingham. That was pretty awful. The price is brain meltingly extortionate too. Even though I could in theory fly home, the very fact I’d need to spend about £80 to take anything larger than a small back-pack with me is something of a turn-off.
So I’m heading north. However, unlike many tales of high fantasy there won’t be any magical adventures or feats of daring do. There’ll just be a lot of boredom, interspersed with the frustration of being completely incapable of getting anything even resembling a signal, never mind about mobile internet, on the east-coast mainline. It will be a tough journey.
But the prospect of this mighty and arduous journey got me thinking; “Why, in fantasy, do all the terrifying horrors of war, banditry, barbarism, or appearance of gribblies from the beyond and general wholesale evil, always happen in the North?”