Today we are going to talk about our life companions, our beloved animals in literature. Some examples are famous, as in the case of Harry Potter, others are not known to the large audience, but that does not mean they are not also animals with whom we always dream of sharing thousands of adventures.
Argos, the dog of Ulysses in The Odyssey
Argos is the definition of loyalty in Homer’s work, The Odyssey. It was the dog of Odysseus, here known as Ulysses. This dog refused to die, despite his age, until he saw his owner return to Ithaca. He lived many more years than usual.
When Ulysses managed to return to Ithaca, he could not talk to his beloved dog Argos, because otherwise his plan to enter undercover in his palace would be in danger. But, the words were not necessary, seeing his image was enough for Argos, who could finally die happy, his master had returned home. When people began to doubt about the return of Ulysses, his dog was the only one that remained loyal until the end.
DireWolves from A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin
Dire Wolves are animals that existed in reality, were giant wolves of great strength now extinct. They looked like the American wolf but larger.
In fiction, Dire Wolves were very popular for thousands of years before the events we read in the saga, but human intervention made each time its sighting was rarer. The savages believed that Dire Wolves still lived in the enchanted forest north of the Wall.
Before the Dire Wolves appeared in the land of the family Stark in the first book of the saga, Game of Thrones, no one had seen one of them, below the wall, for 200 years.
Here comes the symbolism. The Stark family finds 6 wolf puppies, one for each child. Each wolf is also associated with the character of each member of the family. They are also a symbol of loyalty and highly intelligent animals that reach the size of a pony in adulthood. The Shield of Arms of the house Stark has a Dire Wolf.
The Dire Wolves of all the children of the Stark family are:
Ghost adopted by Jon Snow
Nymeria adopted by Arya Stark
Lady adopted by Sansa Stark
Grey Wind adopted by Robb Stark Hairy
Shaggydog adopted by Rickon Stark Summer
Summer adopted by Bran Stark
Wolves are very important in the story of A Song of Ice and Fire, but we will not say more to avoid spoilers. Who among us has never dreamed of having as a life partner a magnificent Dire Wolf?
Rocinante, the loyal companion of Don Quixote
The Ingenious Nobleman Sir Quixote of La Mancha is considered the first modern novel. And, as it could not be otherwise, an animal appears as the companion of adventures of the protagonist, Rocinante, the horse of Don Quixote.
Rocinante appears in the novel before Sancho, as an essential and necessary part of any horseman. There is no horseman without a horse. Although Rocinante is skinny and has little speed, on the other hand, he shares all the madness of Don Quixote, he has an infinite patience and a loyalty to his master worthy of admiration. In short, Don Quixote could not have existed without Rocinante, it is a fundamental part of the first modern novel.
Hedwig from Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Hedwig entered the life of Harry Potter only moments after entering this one in the magical world. It was a gift from Rubeus Hagrid for his eleventh birthday. In the magical world of Harry Potter, owls are usually used to deliver letters and small packages. Hedwig was very loyal to Harry Potter and one of his great friends throughout his life. He sacrificed himself to save Harry in the ambush that the Death Eaters did to him in the Battle over Little Whinging or Battle of the Seven Potters.
Guenhwyvar from Forgotten Realms by R. A. Salvatore
R. A. Salvatore with his Forgotten Realms has sold more than 20 million books. Drizzt Do’Urden is a black elf that is not accepted anywhere in his world, since he belongs to a race of assassins who generally live underground. In all his adventures, of acceptance and survival, he has at his side his loyal companion Guenhwyvar. Guenhwyvar’s sex is not clear, but it is a great black panther. The two have appeared in more than 15 books and will appear in more, as the writer has not shown any sign of closing the saga soon. Many times, Guenhwyvar has put himself in danger to save his friend and has always been a clear example of loyalty. Drizzt Do’Urden needs a small onyx statue in the shape of a panther to be able to summon his friend, since he lives in the astral plane, not in the material.
Huan the Hound of Valinor from Silmarillion by J. R. R. Tolkien
Here we have a large dog, with human voice and sensitive heart. Its story comes from afar, from the early years of Middle-earth and I do not want to confuse you if you are not a follower of Tolkien as we are in BeeYou Travel. In simple words, it was a hunting dog, a gift to Celegorm the elf.
In Tolkien’s fiction, there is a couple who is the symbol of love (like the Romeo and Juliet of Middle Earth). This couple is Luthien (an elf) and Beren (a mortal). One day Beren, in his search for one of the Silmarils, some jewels that are the key to be able to marry Luthien, is captured by Sauron. Luthien goes to save him, but on the way Luthien is kidnapped by Celegorm thanks to the help of his dog Huan of Valinor. However, Huan loved Luthien’s heart and he decides to help her to escape and save Beren. Huan is not just a dog, but a powerful warrior that everyone wants in his side.
Huan fights several werewolves sent by Sauron and even the same werewolf-turned Sauron, which he defeats. Sauron becomes a snake to flee from Huan. Beren is released, but he still needs to get a Silmaril. The three fight to get it and it is here, where Huan, saving Beren, dies fighting against the lycanthrope Carcharoth. His last words were “Goodbye, Beren.”
In this article, we have reviewed some of the most noble and loyal animals in literature. And you, which is your favourite? Do you know another animal? At BeeYou we will be delighted to meet other great-hearted animals from our literature.