troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Bazaar of the Bizarre
aka: Bizarre Bazaar
Hawkers in the market offered to sell me ambrosia-on-a-stick, and a new shield, and a genuine glitter-weave replica of the Golden Fleece, as seen on Hephaestus-TV.
Percy Jackson, The Lightning Thief

An exotic street bazaar from Arabian Nights Days, juiced up on nonsensteroids. All manner of strange, unearthly, forbidden and fantastic items can be found in a Bazaar of the Bizarre. Usually, the rules of a Truce Zone are in effect, and sworn enemies can meet safely there (though arriving and leaving can be tricky). This may just be sacred custom, or may be enforced by Functional Magic or other Applied Phlebotinum.

Often encountered by the heroes early on, to drive home the otherworldliness of a place and establish that anything can happen. If the characters are traveled enough, they may own a small version themselves as a Trophy Room. Modern day fairy tales set in cities often feature a fairy market appearing as the Bazaar.

Compare with the The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday (when the bazaar vanishes), Museum of the Strange and Unusual, Secret Government Warehouse, Kitsch Collection, Inn Between the Worlds, and Heroes R Us. The Trope Namer is Fritz Leiber's short story "Bazaar of the Bizarre," although the 'bazaar' of that story is actually The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday with a sinister twist.

Contrast with Grail in the Garbage (which might be found in the bazaar's trash heap).


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Moroccan Street in Cowboy Bebop: The Movie.
  • The abandoned amusement park shops in Spirited Away, which becomes filled with gods and other creatures when the evening and the spirit world comes in.
  • Kamisama Kiss features a demonic marketplace where all manner of goods are sold.

    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
  • The market in Fairyland from The Books of Magic.
  • There's a rather dangerous one in Marvel Star Wars, a large space station called Bazarre whose main function is to serve as a black market hub safe from the prying eyes of the Galactic Empire. As such the big attractions, at least to the protagonists, are the TIE fighter parts. Immediately after arrival, Luke, Lando, and Chewie are looked over by a being who would like to buy them as meat, and the administrator who dismisses them, when he sells them intact TIE fighters at an external location, booby trapped the thing and sabotaged their shuttle. Fortunately, they left Chewbacca with him, and the Wookiee was strong and smart enough that his relatively hasty efforts to kill him and escape came to nothing.

    Fan Fiction 

    Films — Animated 
  • The Marketplace from Aladdin. In the movie, it seems to be selling mostly normal things, such as necklaces, fruit, and fresh fish. In Aladdin: The Series however, there's a shop run by a witch that definitely makes the marketplace a little stranger.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Portobello Road in Bedknobs and Broomsticks. It's the one place to go if you need a magic book. "Anything and everything a chap can unload/ Is sold off the barrow in Portobello Road." Based on the real-life Portobello Road Market in London.
  • The Troll Market in Hellboy II: The Golden Army. Quite similar to the market in The Books of Magic listed above, it's a secret place for The Fair Folk to trade all sorts of knick-knacks.
  • Mos Eisley Cantina, from the original Star Wars film, is the bar in which Luke and Obi Wan first meet with Han Solo to hire transport for themselves on his ship. Though not a market in the strictest sense, it is a place of business where drink and food is purchased, and the ambiance is undoubtedly "bizarre," what with the exotic music and clientele and all their fantastic accouterments. It is also dangerous and violent, thus operating under the rules of a Truce Zone, i.e. no blasters allowed on premises, so as to cultivate a business-as-usual atmosphere in spite of the diverse races and species which converge there from all across the galaxy; however, the letter of the law is not entirely followed.

    Literature 
  • Goblin Market, a lengthy 19th century poem by Christina Rossetti (sister of Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti, who illustrated the poem), is the Trope Maker for this trope, at least for all of these fantasy examples given. In it, there is a literal "goblin market" wherein little goblin beast-men of diverse appearance hawk their wares to innocent passers-by, tempting them with all kinds of exotic and luscious fruits.
  • In On A Pale Horse, there are "cloud malls" which apparently sell a wide variety of magical items. Some of them are Black Magic (i.e. powered by Satan) and hence are illegal. But the mall will merely pull up moorings and float away if there's trouble.
  • The classic Fritz Leiber story of the same name starring Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. Gave its name to magic item section in Dragon magazine.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Diagon Alley
    • Nearby Knockturn Alley is even moreso. While Diagon Alley would be a Bazaar Of The Bizarre to a Muggle, Knockturn Alley is basically one by wizard standards. Also, Darker and Edgier.
  • A list of Neil Gaiman works that do NOT include this trope would probably be shorter than the ones that do:
  • The Bazaar on Deva in Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures. It sells "everything you can imagine, and a few things you can't." It's implied to cover the planet.
  • The Bazaar of the Bizarre in Mercedes Lackey's novel Ill Met by Moonlight, among several other of her works set in the same universe.
  • The Goblin Fair in the Twelve Treasures series by Rosemary Edgehill.
  • Discworld
    • Thaumatalogical Park, just outside Unseen University. Although, in keeping with the skewed Magitek of the setting, it's closer to Silicon Valley than a Goblin Market.
    • Ankh-Morpork itself is an example for the races of Discworld: it's a trade city that hasn't warred for years and years (until Jingo, that is) and is about the only place where dwarves, trolls, vampires, werewolfs and other living and unliving creatures would all trade rather than fight. Quite a few plots of the books of the Night Watch series are dedicated to keeping it that way.
  • Such a bazaar exists in Everworld.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the character Daenerys Targaryen explores a few bazaars filled with exotic people, strange merchandise, and of course danger at every turn.
    • The most notable of these is probably the one at Vaes Dothrak, where various Dothraki warlords (who are constantly trying to kill each other) can meet in relative safety. In fact, because of the strict rules against weapons and bloodshed, assassins and guards who prevent theft have to know how to bloodlessly strangle their victims
  • Little (Grrl) Lost, by Charles de Lint, has a Fairy Market like this. Wings and amazingly good pastries are the hot items of the season when the protagonist, Elizabeth, comes through.
  • The shop that the protagonist enters in Thomas Ligotti's "The Unfamiliar" is essentially a miniaturized version of one of these, played for Surreal Horror.
  • The nazareth (illegal London street market) in the Rivers of London novel Whispers Under Ground. According to Nightingale, the standard term for a magical nazareth is a goblin market.

    Live-Action TV 
  • There's one in Charmed. It's run by demons, and has power hawkers and offers fresh Eye of Newt among other things.
  • One cropped up on the planet Shan Shen the Doctor Who episode "Turn Left" - it was vaguely Chinese in flavour and led to Donna having a most peculiar encounter with a fortuneteller and a giant beetle which let her see her own alternate past.
    • The Doctor seems to like introducing new companions to the universe by way of these. Rose, Amy and Clara were all brought to one in their first TARDIS trips (In "The End of the World", "The Beast Below" and "The Rings of Akhaten", respectively). Martha also saw one in her second trip, the first off-planet, in "Gridlock".
  • The Farscape episode "That Old Black Magic" introduced the crew to one of these. Technically speaking, Crichton's the only one who finds any of it weird at first; then of course, it's revealed that the building at the end of the bazaar is owned by the Evil Sorcerer Maldis, and things only get stranger from there...
    • Then there was the commerce settlement in "Bringing Home The Beacon." Quite apart from being a dead Leviathan embedded in the side of a small planetoid, it's also home to a number of strange stalls and shops- not least of which is the massage parlour that has a sideline business in genetic transformations. It's also a meeting ground for Commandant Grayza and War Minister Ahkna.
  • The Firefly episode "The Message" features a winding marketplace filled with circus sideshows and exotic food, including an "ice planet" (presumably a flavored ice ball) dangling from a stick, which River deems "problematic" when she can't figure out how to eat it.
  • The Obscura Antiquities shop featured on the Discovery show Oddities is all about this. Straightjackets, skulls, malformed foetuses in jars, bull testicle elixir, barber-surgeon equipment... if they don't have it, they probably know someone who does.

    Pinball 

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Goblin Markets in Changeling: The Lost. Buy magic swords, second-hand skills, supernatural powers that Fell Off the Back of a Truck, even slaves. All it's going to cost you is three whiskers from a housecat, a week of dreams, or your ability to cry...
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Dragon Magazine had a regular feature of unique (and often quite warped and twisted) magical items which it called "The Bazaar of the Bizarre". While not a physical location even in a fictional sense, the feature often served the same purpose for Game Masters and Players looking for something new and unusual.
    • Sigil from Planescape (regularly misappropriated for other settings and cosmologies, even the non-Great Wheel-using 4th edition). The whole city. Though any mercantile districts would probably have even stranger things you can buy or trade for than the rest of the city already does. A dagger of Baator steel? Behind that corner. Breath Radiance spell? Someone willing to sell a scroll or two can be found.
      • A more specific example is the shop of A'kin the Friendly Fiend. (exactly how friendly depends on the source), whilst another is "Vrischika's Curiousity Shoppe".
    • Merchant cities of Forgotten Realms. Waterdeep isn't called "City of Splendors" for nothing, it's a major trade center where they don't bat an eye at weird stuff and minor magic items. The Old Xoblob Shop has anything adventurers can pick up in forgotten ruins, from random weapons to treasure maps to weird curio like drow sculpture or lizard man boundary pole, and use an iron golem as candelabra/bouncer. Calimport actually has a bazaar in a pocket dimension known as the Dark Bazaar. "Invitations" are given out by shadowy figures, and it's a neutral ground for various fiends, celestials, monsters, and of course, people. Sshamath is a Drow magocracy rumored to have anything for sale, up to lesser artifacts. They may well do at Dark Weavings Bazaar, and services to get a few absent things too; The Genie's Wish is mostly a glittering version aimed at the visitors too clueless to get all implications of its name.
    • The 3rd edition Tome of Magic had Fark's Road, a bazaar hidden by shadow magic where shadowcasters, illusionists, and odd critters traded cross-planar goods. Since it wasn't tied to any particular city and was hidden by an illusion, it could pop up anywhere the GM wanted it to, even in established settings.
  • Don't Rest Your Head offers the Bizarre Bazaar, where dreams and memories, as well as other oddities can be exchanged for goods and services. Strangely, while those at the Bazaar tend to be at truce, the gathering is illegal, and therefore subject to raids by the terrifying Officer Tock. Worse, it only occurs at 13 o'clock, when the Mad City is at its most deadly.
  • Rifts has a whole world book about the Splynn Dimensional Market. Where both the merchants and customers tend to be demons, aliens, and dimensional travelers. With all the bizarre goods and services one would expect from such beings.
  • Exalted: you can buy all kinds of things in the bazaars of Malfeas or the "goblin markets" of The Fair Folk. Even among the former, however, the bazaars of Makarios, the Sigil's Dreamer, are unique.
  • The port of Footfall in RogueTrader, due to being the cloest thing the Kornus Expanse has to civilistaion (ie. not very close) and the meeting points of rogue traders, mercenaries (both human and xenos) and other unsavory characters, is an excellent place to find whatever it is you might be looking for. It's gotten to the point where in inquisitors stationed there don't even bother trying to stop the black market sale of alien artefacts, just limit the damage. One adventure there features an Auctionhouse of the Bizarre, but that is actually an inversion: the bidders are expected to offer unusual and valuable items to trade instead of bidding for money.

    Video Games 
  • Bookworm Adventures has a level called Crazy Murray's Bizzare Bazaar.
  • Gaia Online's Cash Shop seems to be either this, or The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: You can buy anything from, say, an ancient curse (Death Whisper) to an incredibly dangerous plant or egg.
    • There's also the Gaia Marketplace, which sells all items on the site, from clothes to food to said ancient curses to heartwarming orphans.
  • The Roguelike family of computer games (Rogue, Moria, NetHack, Angband, Ragnarok, etc.) feature these. On a shop level you'll tend to find a general store (food, drink and tools), a weapons and armaments shop, a shop that caters to the clergy (defensive and healing spells and potions, appropriate clothing, and blunt weapons), one for mages (attack spells, staves and rods, and such), and one may sell just anything, occasionally including seriously out-of-level artifacts. Particularly appropriate specific examples are the Black Market in Slash'Em and the Casino Gift Shop in ADOM - both enormous shops containing potent items at ridiculously high prices, guarded by creatures that make even the regular shopkeepers look like wimps.
  • Nobilia in Secret of Evermore houses one. Stocked goods range from bags of rice, to ceramic pots, to golden jackals, and even to priceless artifacts, all of it being traded and sold amongst each other. Ebon Keep in Gothica has a much smaller variation.
  • A less interactive game is Fallen London - formerly known as Echo Bazaar. Guess where you can go to buy things. You can buy souls (other people's, that is), combat veteran weasels, banned books, stolen letters, secrets that come in three flavors, guns made by blacksmith rats, the actual blacksmith rats themselves, brass from Hell which never cools, fungus hats, live hats (with teeth), live gloves (also with teeth), "ridiculous" hats (no teeth, but exceptionally silly), cats, bats, lizards, eyeball-stealing spiders, pet tigers, poisoned umbrellas, glowing beetles for decoration/lighting, an elixir of immortality (though no one has ever scraped together enough money), clothes made out of fabric that drinks light, clothes made out of fabric woven from nightmares, vaguely-Mongolian armor, coats covered in nothing but pockets full of helpful gadgets, and expired contracts for aforementioned souls. The characters in it are possibly weirder. Oh and the Bazaar itself is probably a Genius Loci. It covets love stories.
  • Planescape: Torment has one where you can buy lots of fantastical spices with impossible tastes, all sorts of exotic magical weapons, and... cloth? It also has Vrischika's Curiosity Shoppe, mentioned above, where you can buy Deva's Tears, a modron action figure, a Monster Jug (which is a jug that has a monster in it), Yevrah's Ring of Almost Invisibility, and Baby Oil.
    • In fact, a lot of quests require the strange items that can be bought here — a chocolate quasit, deva's tears and a fiend's tongue, a rune-inscribed ale stein, Gorgon Salve, and an Elixir of Horrific Seperation. Also, the modron action figure is the key to finding the Secret Character Nordom.
  • Dragon Age II has the Black Emporium, run by a creepy immortal mage and full of such things as a Box of Screaming, an invisible nude statue of the Prophetess Andraste, a vase full of tears, a portrait of the late King Cailan painted on black velvet Elvis-style, and sundry magical weapons, armor, and potions. The Box of Screaming (which mentions a "bronze sphere") makes it clear that it's an homage to Planescape: Torment.
  • Team Fortress 2 implies a few of these in the backstory. For example, weapons manufacturer Mann Co. is occasionally in the business of "collecting" and selling haunted swords, and the Sniper made the Bazaar Bargain weapon from a bunch of inexpensive junk at an unnamed Arabian bazaar.

    Western Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 

    Real Life 
  • Yellow Springs is a small town a little north of Cincinnati that holds several annual festivals and art faires. Because the town is very eccentric already, you can find everything from homemade clothing and jewelry to artwork, carved stone, foreign clothing, zombie hunting gear (no, seriously), exotic stones and gems, comic books, african instruments, and occult and witchcraft tools and supplies.
  • The Mumbai Chor Bazaar: common saying goes that "If you lose anything in Mumbai, you can buy it back at Chor Bazaar". Incidentally, the word "Chor" means "Thief", which makes the place, (in name and also slightly in nature) "Thieves' Market".
  • Renaissance Faires
  • Comic-Con
  • The Bazaar Bizarre craft fair
  • Bob Berdella, a serial killer from Kansas City, MO had a booth at the flea market actually called "The Bizarre Bazaar." It specialized in occult items including skulls.
  • Every comic book, anime, sci-fi related or collectibles convention ever held has as many bootleg video booths as it can reasonably support, economically. They deal in unreleased shows and movies, recent shows not yet on DVD burned from DVR's, copies of DVD's not yet available in America (or wherever you are), underground horror movies (don't ever look at the back cover unless you're sure, August Underground's Mordum is some strong stuff) and, umm, porn (yeah, sure, Britney Spears and Anna Kournikova made a sex tape together). Pay in cash.
    • Not every convention. Many of them now screen for that kind of stuff to avoid legal troubles (conventions have been shut down and sued over that sort of thing)
    • Even completely legal sale areas in cons often end up with a huge variety of different kinds of products. For example, the role playing con I go to every year typically has for sale artwork, board games, weapon replicas, military surpluss gear, new age books, and of course RPG books both new and old.
  • Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington. At the fish stand, they will literally throw the fish to you when you order.
    • The fish may have the noteriety, but Pike Place really is a massive four-block, multi-building, multi-story sprawl. It's home to at least four fish markets, dozens of restaurants, a half-dozen bakeries, ethnic groceries of all stripes, a cheesemaker (yes, they make it on-site), the "original" Starbucks coffee, a dentist, a day care, a senior center, at least two fortune-tellers, a matchmaker, a burlesque caberet, and a life-sized piggy bank. Several of the shops inside the Market, like Tenzing Momo and the curio shops in Down Below, are this in their own right. Tourists, save at least a full day, a gig on the camera's memory card, and an empty stomach.
  • Northwest Folklife (Memorial Day Weekend) in Seattle, Washington, at the Uncommon Market.
  • Saturday market in Portland, Oregon. the largest regularly held outdoor crafts sale in the world
  • eBay: Possibly the world's largest (non-physical) example, since (almost) anyone can sell (almost) anything. Of course, you can't sell certain things like living things, illegal items, or intangible things, though people have tried.
  • Those who have been to the middle east may find the real life version somewhat disappointing by comparison. Still, many bazaars or suqs are really fascinating (like the Spice Bazaar in Istanbul or any street market in the Old City of Jerusalem).
  • Pretty much any of the souqs in Marrakesh, especially those lining Djeema El Fna. It leans more on the fantastical than most other markets - you can buy spices, glass lamps, mirrors, and so forth.
  • The internet in general, really. If you look hard enough, you can find anything.
  • Camden Market in London. It's kind of like that market scene in Hellboy II, but less fictional. Especially the Locke Market, which is a kind of sub-market. It's as if someone transplanted Morocco into inner-city London. Well, it was...until it burned down. It was rebuilt but it does not retain the same charm.
  • The 10th-Anniversary Stadium in Warsaw was, well, a stadium converted into a huge market, dealing in pirated software and clothes and practically everything else. It got to the point where people were just going there for a walk or to eat the best Vietnamese food in the city, and allegedly, foreign tourists were having guided tours of it. It was recently closed, though. On a smaller note, if a bazaar in Poland attracts "the Ruskies" (in general people from the former USSR), it automatically gains this kind of reputation, and not without a reason — you can jokingly ask if they've got a Geiger counter and they reply that you need to wait a week or two.
  • For a more mundane and narrow-interest version, the Comic Market (usually shortened Comiket). Things you won't ever see in the official Anime and Manga, you can get here... Caveat emptor: Sturgeon's Law is in full effect. There are many similar events in Japan.
  • Most Triumphant Real-Life example: The Sonora Witchcraft Market in Mexico City.
  • Sugnei Road Thieves' Market, in Singapore. On a good day you can find anything from really old money, to old typewriters and rotary-dial phones, to hard-to-find toys and plushes (albeit in terrible, unmint condition usually), to bootlegs of every imaginable kind, to military and school uniforms (though it's actually illegal to resell the former here in Singapore, but most people in there don't care it seems), to Communist China memorabilia, to old computers, to brand-new Apple MacBooks and Samsung Galaxy Tabs, to broken computer parts, to almost-obviously stolen bicycles (the local newspapers touched on this once), to watches, to amulets of every kind imaginable... the list goes on and on. Probably about the only thing you can't find are anything that might explode (since there are draconian laws on that), and food. Many of the things here are usually old unwanted items that rag-and-bone men have collected from all over the island. Occasionally you might find someone's pet bird having been brought along, but these are not for sale... usually.
  • The Big Applesauce is full of these. It's not a question of if you can find something in New York City, it's a question of where.
  • The Lost Horizon Night Market. They come in trucks and vans, show up in random places, stay for a few hours in the middle of the night, and leave as quickly as they came, leaving no trace behind. Seriously, it's actually like that. They've shown up in New York, California, and a ton of other places.
  • Akihabara, Tokyo.
  • Just about any flea market can be this, particularly the larger ones that are open only on weekends. Some, such as Treasure Aisles in Cincinnati, feel more like small malls packed with odd little stores selling just about anything from used VHS tapes to pet supplies to rugs to food.
  • Bazaar of All Nations was a shopping mall in suburban Philadelphia that was pretty much a more permanent version of the same. It was an actual mall (not a flea market) composed of esoteric boutiques that constantly came and went.
  • Las Vegas' Gold and Silver Pawn had this reputation long before Pawn Stars: All of the other pawn shops in Las Vegas are owned by a single corporation which uses a pricing catalog. If it isn't in the catalog, the only choice people have to sell their goods is this pawn shop, leading it to owning many unusual items.
  • Affleck's Palace in Manchester, an old Victorian warehouse now divided into little kiosks mainly selling alternative music and clothing.
  • The Hartville Flea Market is this, combined with The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday.
  • The Round Top Antiques Fair- This combined with The Ginormous Open Air Market That Wasn't There Yesterday, Mishmash Museum, and the Museum of the Strange and Unusual A twice-annual week-long open air market in a small rural town in Central Texas. What makes this one stand out from the thousands of other events like it? Over the last 50 years it has grown from a small collection of booths to one of the largest antiques festivals on the planet, stretching along 25 miles of highway, attracting buyers and sellers of collectibles and oddities from around the globe. Vendor offerings are wildly eclectic, ranging from typical kitsch, rusty antiques, and artisan crafts like one might find at any fair or flea market, to professional booths with bizzare specialties like art deco typewriters, vintage airplane parts, or victorian clothing. In recent years, the increasing notoriety of the festival among high-end collectors has lead to the opening of several auction houses, cataloguing high-dollar items from artwork to classic cars.

Bad-Guy BarTropes For SaleBig Store
Balkanize MeOtherworld TropesBeneath the Earth
Base on WheelsSettingsBBC Quarry

alternative title(s): Bizarre Bazaar
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
59623
0