Top 5 Wednesday: Sci-Fi & Fantasy Creatures

Top Five Wednesday is a weekly book meme hosted on Goodreads.
To find out how to join in, visit the Goodreads discussion group.

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday is all about creatures from science fiction and fantasy books. I don’t read a huge amount of this genre so forgive me if I’ve taken a few liberties with this week’s top five!

#1 – Thestrals from the Harry Potter series

Luna They’re called Thestrals. They’re quite gentle really but people avoid them because, they’re a bit–
Harry: Different.

Of all the magical creatures featured in Harry Potter and by extension, Fantastic Beasts, thestrals are my absolute favourite. Not to be overly critical, but the best part of the new Fantastic Beasts film was the opening scene – A+ thestral content right there. The idea that only people who have witnessed death can see them is really interesting to me. There’s something fascinating about creatures that look menacing and creepy but are actually of a really gentle disposition. I think they make incredible looking tattoos, too!

Farder Coram and Lyra with their daemons in The Golden Compass

#2 – Daemons from the His Dark Materials series

A human being with no daemon was like someone without a face, or with their ribs laid open and their heart torn out; something unnatural and uncanny that belonged to the world of nightghasts, not the waking world of sense.

How amazing it would be to have a daemon! A constant animal companion that perfectly balances your own personality sounds lovely. The relationship between Lyra and Pantalaimon is so compelling. Some of the most interesting interactions of the series are between Lyra and Pan as they test their connection, physical and emotional. All of the intricate etiquette surrounding daemons is fascinating to observe, like how it’s very unusual for people to interact with others’ daemons, and that touching another person’s daemon is essentially forbidden. The fact that you can tell a lot about a person just based on the form their daemon settles on would be very useful in real life too! There are some obvious similarities with daemons and patronuses from the Harry Potter series in that sense, but I’d much prefer to have a daemon than a patronus.

Leader of the White Walkers, the Night King, in Game of Thrones

#3 – Wights and White Walkers from the A Song of Ice and Fire series

All around him, wights were rising from beneath the snow. Two, three, four. Bran lost count. They surged up violently amidst sudden clouds of snow. Some wore black cloaks, some ragged skins, some nothing. All of them had pale flesh and black hands. Their eyes glowed like pale blue stars.

The White Walkers in the A Song of Ice and Fire series are really intriguing because they’re mentioned so little. It’s always an underlying threat but not much is really said about them, which in a way makes them more terrifying! The wights are spoken of a lot more, as they’re the more common of the two. I like to think of them as ice zombies, basically! One thing I think the show does extremely well is SFX make-up and costumes, and I think the White Walkers are one of the best examples of this in the television series. They look amazing, powerful, and scary!

A Xenomorph from the Alien film franchise.

#4 – Xenomorphs from the Alien series

My mommy always said there were no such things as monsters. No real ones. But there are.

I admit that I’ve never read the Alien books but I’m a huge fan of the film franchise and the xenomorphs are one of my favourite villains ever, human or not. Again, the SFX are so great. The first film came out in 1979 (!) and they look amazing, you can hardly tell the difference between the first and most recent films in terms of how detailed the xenomorphs look.

Concept art for ‘The Bear’ by Jock for Annihilation

#5 – Whatever the hell kind of creature ‘The Bear’ is from Annihilation

I hesitated for just a moment. Some part of me wanted to see the creature, after having heard it for so many days. Was it the remnants of the scientist in me, trying to regroup, trying to apply logic when all that mattered was survival? If so, it was a very small part. I ran.

Annihilation is a brilliant read. It’s super weird and creepy, particularly because a lot of the horrors in the book you never really see. The film adaptation makes a lot of changes, and although this creature doesn’t actually appear in the original text, it’s too good to leave off this list. The Bear is one of the main things people talked about after seeing the film, and I’m still struck by how utterly terrifying and unbelievably clever it is. If you haven’t seen the film, the characters hear desperate screams for help from a fellow missing scientist, but later discover that it’s actually The Bear that is mimicking their cries, drawing the survivors to a similar fate. It’s absolutely haunting and of all the bizarre things that happens in that film, this is one that stuck with me the most.

What would you choose as your favourite creatures?

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