Fantasy’s Best Pets, Familiars & Animal Companions

On a similar vein as Matthew’s post on fictional mentors, The Torch online has an article on the best pets, familiars, and animal companions in the fantasy genre.  The article, though, restricts itself to only those pets, familiars, and animals that have a real world counterpart.  But two Harry Potter pets make the list.  If you’d like to comment on this article, feel free to not restrict yourself to only real world animals but on any pet, familiar, or animal companion found in fantasy stories.  Enjoy!

31 thoughts on “Fantasy’s Best Pets, Familiars & Animal Companions

  1. Yep, Shadowfax should definitely have been on there.

    As long as we’re on Tolkien, there’s also Bill the Pony, Huan the great hound who aids Beren & Luthien, Gwaihir the Lord of the Eagles, & Fatty Lumpkin Tom Bombadil’s pony,

  2. Of course, the great eagles of Middle Earth would get a bit uppity if you called them a pet or animal companion.

    Here’s some more -though I haven’t read the other article yet.
    Nighteyes from the Assassin series
    Arod and Hasufel the Rohirrim horses and Stybba the pony.
    The Witch King’s fell beast.
    Karcharoth the wolf with the Silmaril in his gut.
    Aslan…
    Bree and Hwin from Horse and His Boy

  3. Caw from The Chronicles of Prydain. Not only does he provide some comic relief, he also smartly saves Taran and his companions by bringing Taran Morda’s horcurx.

  4. Appa: flying bison (or sky bison) ridden by Ang, the last Air Bender.

    Coolness factor: 4 (a bison is not a cool beast, but this one can not only fly but it can carry the hero and his best friends on his back for extended periods of time)
    Loyalty: 5 (undisputed)
    Importance to the plot: 4 (crucial for transportation; when he disappears, Ang and company have a very hard time getting to Ba Sing Se before the Fire Nation seige)

    Ramoth: gold dragon, ridden by Lessa of Pern

    Coolness factor: tres, tres cool, 5+
    Loyalty: given the symbiotic relationship between rider and dragon, about a 5+
    Importance to the plot: 5, pretty important

    Blammor and Liralen: forgotten beasts of Eld which Sybel flees from and seeks out.
    Coolness factor: beyond cool, but you have to read the story to understand why.
    Loyalty: 0 – show fear, and you are totally toast.
    Importance to the plot: they too are the plot: +5

  5. Does Captain Navarre’s hawk in Ladyhawke count ? Or Isabeau d’Anjou’s wolf in the same movie?

    Coolness factor: 5 (Rutger Hauer & Michelle Pfeiffer!)
    Loyalty: 5 (they love each other)
    Importance to the plot: 5 (they are the story)

  6. Proginoskes from “A Wind in the Door” by L’Engle
    If the book counts as fantasy, then Ralph S. Mouse of “The Mouse and the Motorcycle” by Cleary

  7. Hagrid should be a card-carrying member of the ASPCA, PETA and the Humane Society.

    Aragog
    Fluffy
    Fang
    Norbert(a)
    Buckbeak
    Mosag

    Friend of Unicorns and also weaned skrewts to adulthood. Those skrewts crack me up! Just saying “Blast-ended skrewt” out loud makes me smile. :-)

  8. Oh, oh, oh, oh – I’ve got some more!

    Donkey and Puss’n Boots of Shrek

    Coolness factor: 5 (Eddie Murphy and Antonio Banderas!)
    Loyalty: 3 (I think they’re loyal, but Shrek doesn’t really value either of them, so I don’t think the relationships would survive a true test)
    Importance to the plot: 3

  9. Little Figaro – the kitty that Gepetto owned in Pinocchio.

    Cuteness factor: 10!
    Loyalty: 5 (what do you expect, he’s a cat)
    Importance to plot: 0 (he’s just really cute eye-candy)

    Red Rocker – Antonia Banderas has some of his finest moments as an actor with Puss ‘n boots. Hilarious!

  10. Joivre, yeah, it’s amazing how everything an actor’s done, his personality, his whole persona as an actor and a man can be distilled into the voice of an animated character. Murphy’s good too, of course, but he’s squandered himself on so many ignoble projects that the impact is less.

  11. What about Kodo and Podo, the two ferrets from The Beastmaster? If they hadn’t saved Dar from the quicksand and stole Tanya Roberts’ clothes, who knows where we would be.

  12. What–no Crookshanks???? The article mentioned Scabbers, of course, as Ron’s pet that turns out to be Peter Pettigrew, but Crookshanks should have gotten at least an honorable mention for figuring out that Scabbers was a phony, AND for helping Sirius!
    I’d also put Fawkes the Phoenix on the list, as he is one awesome companion to Dumbledore.
    I do agree that Shadowfax deserved to be on the list as well. Come to think of it, it’s funny that there are no horse companions in the HP books. Unicorns, yes, but they aren’t pets or companions–just roaming free in the Forest. (Maybe JKR doesn’t like horsies?)
    While I’m on the horse trail, I have to mention Pie, the horse in National Velvet, “The Black” in the Black Stallion series by Walter Farley and the film, and two of my all time favorite horse companions, Roy Rogers’ Trigger, and Mr. Ed, both of whom happened to be Palominos. Roy famously said of Trigger, “He could stop on a dime and give you change.” Would Wilbur have been fun to watch without his horsey friend? I don’t think so! “Wilburrrrr!” heh, heh. A horse laugh every time!:-)

    1. If we’re going down that track then Mr Peabody has to be there.

      If you kept your eyes down then Firenze serves as a horse in HP.

  13. Right, Joivre. Remember how the other centaurs got upset with Firenze for letting Harry ride on his back, that first year, when Harry was doing detention in the forest? “Are you a common mule???” So they are not precisely companions in the way we usually would think of them.
    I’ve just thought of a few more fantasy animal companions–In The Song of the Lioness series, Tamora Pierce has Faithful, the black cat with the purple eyes becoming an enigmatic companion to Alanna of Trebold, and a similar cat, Pounce, is companion to Beka Cooper in Terrier.

  14. Hey what about Aberforth’s goats? Are they his pets? Or his harem? :-) (I’ve always been a little bit in denial with regards to Aberforth’s “problem” – as well as when Hogwarts girls become infatuated with Firenze. Something’s just not right about it. Ms. Rowling has one whacky sense of humor!)

    Thanks Lily Luna – man, I must be losing it – I totally forgot Scorpio’s middle name, I now remember I knew that. Hyperion. How ungrateful to Snape, Dumbledore and Harry. Oh well – some people never change.

    Yes Fricka – Faithful! Such a gorgeous cat and such an ironic name for a cat! I had a friend who had two cats – one named Faithful and one named Fickle.

  15. You can always count on Robin McKinley to include several wonderful animal characters in each of her books. There’s Ash the sighthound in Deerskin, Narknon the great cat in The Blue Sword, Talat the gallant horse in The Hero and the Crown, and an entire menagerie in Spindle’s End, including a most delightful fox named Zel and a “not-a-house-cat” called Flinx.

  16. What about the dragons and werecats in Eragon? (not sure if they would qualify as pets, but yeah).
    And I agree they should have mentioned Crooshanks… I mean, hello, Scabbers is a traitor!

  17. So do I Korg. It’s much more pleasant to think of Aberforth as a doting brother than a wizard who has “unnatural” affection for goats. Which reminds me of another pet – has anyone seen Everything You Wanted to Know about Sex But Were Afraid to Ask by Woody Allen? Here’s a cute pet….her name is Daisy…..

    *caution*

  18. Nooooo! Not that scene in EYWTKASBWTATA! Joivre, you are just tooo naughty there! Poor Daisy! Did anyone ever think to ask if SHE was a willing partner? Likewise that goat with whom Aberforth was involved in the “inappropriate charm” actions. Bet it would just as soon have had some nice Timothy hat(although with goats, it’s hard to tell, as they will eat anything–now, what’s that joke about the goat who flagged a train??–I’m trying to remember).

  19. Sorry Fricka – the devil made me do it. I had to – if just to show the greatest “reaction-shot” in the history of film. Gene Wilder’s reaction to his patient declaring that he is in love with a sheep lasts a masterly impressive full 24 seconds! The longest reaction-shot ever. I have to admit – when I read the book the first time and came to “inappropraite charm” with goats – I too had a long reaction. I wonder if Ms. Rowling was thinking of that Armenian shepherd when she wrote about Aberforth. ;-)

    PS – I did have the decency though not to show Doug and Daisy ordering green grass from Room Service when they were at the Plaza Hotel.

  20. Thank goodness for small favors!:-)
    BTW, that should be hay, not hat, although knowing goats, perhaps they would just as soon it be a hat as hay for lunch???

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