Two characters (Ironhand Rime Coldspray, Frostheart Grueburn) from Fatal Revenant
/Against All Things Ending
. Physique and looks as canon as possible. Everyone in their culture's a bit eccentric and crazy, but not lack-witted.
I'm still in the middle of a huge fangasm over Stephen R. Donaldson's works; people should seriously read them more, instead of some of that other tripe that gets dumped under the label of 'dark fantasy' these days. The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
definitely belongs among the best fantasy series I've ever read, right on par with LOTR and Discworld. Granted, TCTC feels and sounds LOTR-ish on first touch, but that's largely because SRD and Tolkien used the same materials for inspiration (Norse mythology, the Völsunga saga, etc.). Be as it may, I've never read anything so psychologically intense and with such believable characters (not necessarily likable at first, but that's anti-heroes for you), save perhaps for A Song of Ice and Fire
. Now some of my favorite characters ever emerge from these novels: Saltheart Foamfollower, Linden Avery, TC himself, Pitchwife, the First, Grimmand Honninscrave, and so on.
I have mixed sentiments about the 3rd chronicles, however (these were started some 20 years after White Gold Wielder, which in itself possesses a completely satisfactory ending). Runes of the Earth was, simply put, horrible. Almost ceased reading right there, but some folks over at KW urged me on, and to my delight, the story gained much more substance and pace in Fatal Revenant and onwards.
Now, before the Last Dark comes out, I have time to elbow aside some of that teenage sparklepire muck publishers call dark fantasy and take a look at Malazan: Book of the Fallen (not by SRD). I made an attempt at the first tome right after finishing A Dance with Dragons
, but turned out my brain couldn't filter such complexity right after GRRM's gigazillion characters. XD As lighter reading, I rushed through Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn
series, which was excellent (egads, I loved Sazed to bits) despite some Mary Sue-ish vibes. If you're not up to the grittiness of Thomas Covenant, try that one.
Ah, what a wall of tl;dr.