Ah, assassins. Those lovable rogues who kill people for money, political advantage, or, you know, just for the sheer artistic expression of it.
With more stealth than a cat burglar and more blades than a Swiss Army knife, they’ve been gracing the pages of Fantasy literature for years.
Much like that creepy guy at the pub who won’t stop talking about his knife collection, they’re hard to ignore.
So, as we venture into the labyrinthine corridors of fantasy literature, let’s look at the types of assassins you’re likely to bump into (and hopefully, survive to tell the tale).
The Old Timer
This geezer’s been around the block more times than a Deliveroo cyclist.
He’s a master of the game, knows every trick in the book, and makes youngsters look like mere novices wielding a butter knife.
Just because he might need a little WD-40 on those joints doesn’t mean he won’t cut you seven ways to Sunday.
Signature Move: The “I’ve seen it all” eye-roll followed by a swift knife throw.
The Brooding Anti-Hero
This one comes with a lifetime supply of angst and emotional baggage, conveniently stored in a dark leather cloak.
Typically a protagonist, he’s either out for revenge or running away from a past that includes more skeletons than a medical school’s supply closet.
He’ll reluctantly save the world, but only if he can do it while maintaining a sulky demeanour.
Signature Move: The monologue about how life has been unfair to him, just before slitting someone’s throat.
The Femme Fatale
She’s as deadly as she is beautiful, and often clad in impractical but jaw-dropping attire. (Really, how does one sprint across rooftops in stilettos?)
She doesn’t only have a dagger up her sleeve but also a cunning plan.
The Femme Fatale will kill you, steal the artifact, and break your heart—all before brunch.
Signature Move: Poisoned lipstick. Fatal and fabulous.
The Ethical Assassin
This character is the fantasy equivalent of the person who brings a reusable cup to a gunfight.
They’ve got a code, you see—no women, no children, and absolutely no killing of innocent unicorns.
They’re the vegans of the assassin world; they’ll still kill you, but they’ll feel guilty about it.
Signature Move: The apologetic letter left on your corpse, explaining that it was, regrettably, just business.
The Magical Menace
Why settle for mere mortal methods when you can warp time, control minds, or teleport behind your target with a whimsical flick of the wrist?
Yes, this assassin makes you question the fairness of the universe.
They’ve got magic to do their dirty work. Not content with just a blade, they’ve added pyrotechnics for good measure.
Signature Move: Turning you into a toad, then squishing you. Efficient, really.
The Comic Relief
This one’s less ‘cloak and dagger’ and more ‘joke and snigger.’
They’ll kill you, but they’ll make a pun while doing it.
Most often found in ensembles where their levity balances out the incessant brooding of the Anti-Hero.
Signature Move: Telling a “knock-knock” joke, then knocking you dead.
The ‘comic relief’s’ not-so-distant cousin.
This assassin’s bark is far worse than their bite, and they’re likely to trip on their cloak, fall on their own dagger, or mistakenly poison themselves.
They’re like the Mr. Bean of the assassin world, only far less endearing.
Signature Move: Accidentally killing themselves, thereby saving you the trouble.
So there we have it, a merry band of miscreants who’ll keep you looking over your shoulder in every imaginary realm.
Whether they’re old or young, magical or mirthful, they share a common purpose: to add a dash of deathly excitement to your next fantasy adventure.
Choose your favourite, but remember: being fond of an assassin is like cuddling a cactus—painful and ill-advised.
The post Assassin Archetypes: The Different Types of Assassins You’ll Encounter in Fantasy Novels first appeared on Jon Cronshaw.