Thursday, 26 May 2011

On why epic fantasy is epic...

I love my epic feel like I need to rephrase that but I'm too damn lazy. Anywho - I love the Belgariad, Lord of the Rings, Wheel of Time* and, just recently, someone told me to hurry up and read A Game of Thrones. This seemed to coincide with HBO in the States bringing out a television version of said book - coincidence? Meh who knows.

So, after scouring our local bookstores and library and not finding any trace I threw my hands up in the air and had a mild temper tantrum right there on the floor. It was rather attractive if you like women beating their fists on the ground and utterly idle threats about the children's children and curses and...well I think you get the point.

Well, needless to say, I ordered the book online for a hell of a lot cheaper than buying it in NZ. (Nearly 2/3 cheaper...I'm just saying.) And now I am slowly devouring it as one must devour books. Devour is my word of the day - slightly more appropriate than genitalia I feel. (And all those of you with dirty minds would you kindly remove said minds from the gutter...thank you.)

Anyway, I am thoroughly enjoying the book. More than I thought I would since I've been trying to limit the amount of epic fantasy books I read just because once I get into a series the world seems to disappear and I suddenly find myself running with wolves, learning how to sword fight and drinking tavern ale while singing bawdy songs about the pirate's mistress and such stuff. (Apparently I'm either Alanna from The Song of the Lioness or any number of tomboy females learning to wield a sword.)

All of this lead me to think on why I enjoy the epic fantasy. I mean, not to be nasty, but they all have the same plot, basically - there is normally a young boy/girl who slowly learns more about their past while becoming a great fighter/dancer/whatever. Also, there tends to be a wise mentor/wizard/Jedi knight who will sacrifice themselves for the hero and so on. But, regardless of this, I still love them. Maybe a little too much because, let's face it, there aren't too many chivalrous knights left in any kingdom I'm aware of - and maybe far too many lecherous ... well I'll leave that unsaid on the premise that I am a lady...when I need to be...

For me, it's the adventure, the story, the romance and the magic of it all. It is escapism in its best. My mother reads Mills and Boons** for the same reason that I read about knights, dragons, wizards and more. When I am reading these books I am part of the story. I am right there as Garion, Wolf, Polgara and Durnik flee the farm. I'm there when Bastion calls out his mother's name in the hopes of saving Fantasia. I'm there when Bran finds himself hearing and seeing something he shouldn't. And, through all of this, I'm not a silent witness. I will yell at the characters, telling them what to do (though they never seem to listen to me...).

Basically, what I am saying is that epic fantasy is epic because it encompasses me, giving flight to my imagination and so much more. It is my form of escapism. Plus, who doesn't like a little sword fight now and then...right?

*Though I have kind of stalled on the sixth book...I swear it seems like sometimes nothing happens and then I get a shiny new book and I'm all magpie like in that I get attracted by any little bit of shine...
**It is a sad fact in my life. I have been slowly weaning her off them but it is a hard process.


  1. "...there is normally a young boy/girl who slowly learns more about their past while becoming a great fighter/dancer/whatever."

    I always knew Billy Elliott was an epic fantasy.

  2. Glad I'm not the only one. Does that make Elton John the wise wizard person seeing as he brought it to the stage?

  3. Awesome post is awesome. :)

  4. It is all thanks to you making me read The Belgariad :o)