I have decided that this week I will write about my favorite genre, fantasy. I think most people have two thoughts that come when they hear fantasy. The first thought is likely the nerds that dress up and are obsessed with pretending magic is real. The second thought may be about fairies or dragons.
The definition of the genre of fantasy can be summed up as any story that requires a suspension of belief, or trusting what you are told. Ghost stories, talking animals, and most space stories would fall under fantasy, in addition to magic powers and mythical creatures.
I think fantasy is what made me enjoy reading. I can’t say for sure when the transition actually occurred. But I do know that I loved the idea of a far off place. In my teen years I struggled with depression and especially found relief in immersing myself in fantasy novels. Something about all fiction allows the reader to escape and manage their lives at the same time.
The reason this is my favorite genre is because of the complexity. Taking imaginary creatures, abilities and rules, to make an enthralling story. While also expressing concepts that are real and applicable in our world and lives. Despite the mystical and very different characteristics, we are still able to relate to the characters.
Fantasy is different enough to be enjoyed and escape to, but familiar enough that we learn from the struggles and development of the characters. This, of course, only works if written well. Novels aren’t meant to teach lessons, but they are meant to be learned from, through the themes.
When I write, I want to explore possibilities. Which is why fantasy is so perfect. Every rule can be challenged and altered. When magic is introduced into a story, gravity isn’t so much of a hard fast law. Dragons, unicorns, mermaids and fairies can be friends or foe. The rules are whatever the writer decides. However, the concepts that apply to being human, such as friendship, family, mortality, finding courage, and thousands more, are all true to life. These themes are explored, just framed in different ways.
The concepts we know are unchanging can be altered a little bit to be understood differently. For example, the truth that we will all die is something we have to come to understand and accept at some point. In fantasy, there may be some creatures and characters that have long lives or are even immortal, but death will still be something they have to deal with.
The ability to fly and cast spells doesn’t change the fact that you need friends and people in your life. Fantasy is a way to better understand what is most important about life. The things we often need to learn about the most aren’t facts, but how to be human. Fantasy is all about being human, even with characters that are far different than ourselves in appearance.
Fantasy in Your Life
I hope that you add a bit of fantasy in your life. This may be in reading a fantasy novel, watching a magical movie, or building a blanket fort. Fantasy can be evident in thousands of ways. Playing make believe with kids, writing a short story, drawing a fairy, any of the fantastic ways can help you better understand yourself and the world.
What have you learned from fantasy?