Old words for old worlds

On the use of the past to explain the present

Tag: Fantasy

The fantasy of history in the history of fantasy

Everything I have written so far on this blog adds up to the suggestion that Fantasy is not really defined by elves, dragons or magic, but rather by the use of the ancient past as a vehicle for stories. At this point, however, it should be quite obvious that a further qualification is needed: if the past matters so much, then what is the difference between Fantasy and History? Are they any different? Of course they are. But in my view, a simple scale opposing fact to myth is a gross and insufficient measure of their demarcation.

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A long long time ago, in a Fantasyland far far away

The purpose of this blog is to put forth one vision of Fantasy as a broad literary choice, rather than a pigeonhole for predefined content. My point of view is that you are writing Fantasy as soon as your story takes you 1) far away 2) in the past. Here are my collected thoughts on this subject, although the very fine line between this particular view of Fantasy and History will be a matter for another post.

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My favorite English word is magical

My recent comments about magic on this blog are part of my own creative process for my fantasy novel (or perhaps more properly my fantasy romance). I have always favored what are called in gaming terms “low-magic” worlds, because the scarcity makes it extra meaningful and dangerous. Since I have now concluded that magic is a relative concept, my next step is to consider my own treatment of magic in my imaginary world.

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Magic? It’s complicated

Top hat as an icon for magic

Image via Wikipedia

Magic is probably one of the central elements of the Fantasy genre. However, magic in fiction seems to me much, much more complicated than what just calling it magic implies. This word is far too short for such a concept.

First of all, what I would call its mode of existence varies greatly from work to work. Magic may either be unnatural, supernatural, truly natural, etc. We’re not even talking about intrinsic goodness or evil here: magic in and of itself entails absolutely nothing metaphysically speaking. Its source will be anything one wants it to be, according to the narrative (and, possibly, the allegorical) needs of the author.

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Dragon Age vs Tolkien redux: words

As a follow-up to my post comparing Fantasy à la Bioware‘s Dragon Age with J. R. R. Tolkien‘s own imaginative world, I have the following to add. The one true aspect where Dragon Age is actually the most Tolkienesque is… linguistics. Dragon Age still remains rather unsophisticated for Tolkien-level standards, but it definitely represents a step in the right direction. I appreciate this franchise for this reason.

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Why Tolkien Fantasy needs no Elves nor Magic

For my personal project of writing a fantasy novel, I’ve decided to emulate my ultimate model, J. R. R. Tolkien. In this age of commercial fantasy and recognizable brands, thanks in large part to gaming, this automatically involves, in the eyes of many, a slew of predictable features. For example, Elves and magic. Case in point: in this interview of actress/writer/fantasy fan/geek Felicia Day, who authored the upcoming web series Dragon Age: Redemption set in the imaginary world of Bioware‘s Dragon Age series of videogames, she is asked the following question:

What is it about the Dragon Age world that makes you a fan? Was it the Tolkien-esque fantasy elements?

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