Up this month is:
Ok, so I might just be starting out this year with my all-time favorite genre because, well, it’s the best.
As a kid I LOVED fantasy. I loved escaping into other worlds and in fact, I was pretty sure my closet could take me to Narnia. There was a fur coat in there after all. I bet you’re thinking, Ppffftt… fantasy. I got this genre. Well, can I blow your mind a minute? I bet when you think of fantasy you think of high fantasy like Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones or Harry Potter. I bet you don’t realize that fantasy has about a million different sub-genres and that, in fact, Sci-Fi and Dystopian stories are actually…. FANTASY! (Mind blown all you Trekkies—welcome to the world of fantastical nerdigans. But more on that next month….)
When it comes to the genre of fantasy, the definition I like the best is
Pretty much if it can’t happen in our everyday, then it’s completely made up and fantastical. The Handbook to Literature 10th edition by William Harmon states that fantasy “usually designates a conscious breaking free from reality…and it may be the medium for serious comment on reality.”
I have always loved the idea of escaping into something different than the world around me, and the fantasy genre is a medium for metaphor. Sure, there may be stories full of made up worlds, but if you look deep enough into the story, it’s saying something about what’s going on around us.
Fantasy also often has some typical elements such as
- archetypal characters like wizards, talking animals, & mythical creatures
- magic of some sort
- the hero’s quest or the female heroine journey
- archetypal plots like journeys, quests, or good vs evil
- settings that are medieval, involve time travel, are out-of-this-world, or created
- based on mythology or legend
As the month moves forward (check back on Thursdays!) I’ll talk more about the different sub-genres and qualities of fantasy, as well as recommend different MG and YA stories (via a Book Addict’s Guide inspired graphic <–check out for fantasy recommendations)
Until then, here’s what I’m reading (so far) this month if you’d like to follow along:
Ok—so I might have chosen High Fantasy simply because it’s sort of what everyone thinks about when they think about fantasy. Elves, sword-fighting Kings, wizards, worlds that are completely different than our own… you know you’re a secret fantasy nerd too. It’s ok–I’ve learned to embrace it and I couldn’t be happier!
Hopefully, though, as the month moves forward I’ll find another type of fantasy to explore and maybe even a story I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise!
Until next week it’s time to stop judging fantasy–what did you used to think of when you thought of the fantasy genre? What’s your favorite story or your go-to? What one fantasy book have you been scared to try but might just pick up now?