Back in September, I wrote a post where I shared some of the roots of my fantasy writing. While I hope to share more regarding settings based on my past experiences when An Arrow Against the Wind comes out next Spring, I had a related thought for this month. The notion of my roots got me thinking about what the roots of the fantasy genre are.
I’ve recently been listening an interesting lecture series that hit on just this topic. So what are the real roots of fantasy? Is it Tolkien or someone else? Actually the roots of the fantasy genre run deep in our culture – and really that of much of the world – into ancient times.
So what are the roots? Epics from the ancient world such as the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer. Why is that? Well, to understand it all you have to think about what these stories were and why they are different. There are very old stories throughout all of the ancient cultures but most just fall short in terms of what the original epics really where – cultural touchstones that informed the larger population about their values.
Epics are not just stories since those tend to cover something much smaller in scope. Instead, they are large settings, covering big themes. Starting to understand the fantasy genre more? The genre is rife with such large-scale stories with broad themes. Now don’t get me wrong, fantasy – even The Lord of the Rings – likely fall short of the true epic tag but they are a branches from the same root-system.
Just a thought on a Friday that may stimulate you to consider why fantasy can be so engrossing and entertaining. Next week, I’ll share more of why fantasy has this relationship.
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