What is your favourite characteristic of the Fantasy genre?

Well, my life is so hectic, jet-setting and full of adventure that I like the normalcy, the nice quiet peacefulness of a good fantasy novel...

Wait. Strike that. Reverse it.

You know I've been thinking about it, and my first thought was to say, 'Escapism.' Then thirty others said it and stole my thunder, so I thought some more. Okay, escapism is part of it, and imagination and all that, but what I really come back for are the sweeping themes you just don't get in other genres. Courage, honour, duty, loyalty, valour, love, hate, life, death, sacrifice. Okay, so you get courage in To Kill A Mockingbird, but it's not the courage of a fantasy novel. You get love in a bodice-ripper, but it's not the love of a fantasy novel. These themes are transformed by their setting and by the imaginative gifts of their authors. They become so much bigger and - I guess this is the idealist in me coming out - are so much more than they are in most of our realities. A rousing speech before a battle will get your blood pumping. The dying words of a fallen hero will choke you up. The sacrifice of two lovers torn apart by duty will tear at your heart. That's what I love about fantasy. That's what keeps me coming back for more.

Granted it's done well, of course.
I enjoy the endless possibilitys fantasy has. There can never be anything truely unbelievable as the very title of the genre states it has no boundrys.
Also, Rosemary you are right once again my dear, the escapeism it has for me personally is like no other.
The primary things that do it for me though is the dragons and the magic. I have always beeen drawn to these two things and am completly intoxicated by both, a novel that has these two elements in it does it for me everytime. :)

Pure escapism for me,also the freedom for my imagination to run riot.I love the mythical creatures and the magic,but I've also enjoyed fantasy were there is little or no magic or mythical creatures,so I suppose it's the world building and characterizations that really draws me into the realms of fantasy
Honestly, I think the biggest draw for me is the idealism. How many fantasies don't end with a happy ending 'after all'? Plus, add in morality - this is something that is greatly lacking in today's society that is also pretty idealistic. People that endanger their lives, uproot themselves for the greater good...

Plus the magic, the creatures, the worlds are just so fun to explore.
dwndrgn said:
Honestly, I think the biggest draw for me is the idealism. How many fantasies don't end with a happy ending 'after all
Well actually there's a few but I agree that the majority probably still have the standard happy ending... :D

Personally I prefer stories that don''t always end happily because for me they're more realistic and interesting albiet being set within a fantasy context.
Escapism is the major factor for me too, but sci-fi and fantasy both give me an equal escape.

However, I do prefer to read a good fantasy novel with magic and dragons and what-not, but im finding that a lot of fantasy books these days are quite samey (although im probably reading the wrong books) so Iv drifted towards sci fi lately, especially Iain M. Banks Culture novels because they're so different
kyektulu said:
I also love writing fantasy 2, being able to create a charecter who is everything I want to be and live in a world where I would that I created and envision as perfect. This for me is the ultimate escapism that fantasy provides. :)

That would be my ultimate escapism too but i tend to get too detailed and technical when i write and end up getting no where :(
I am interested in what draws people to this genre. What I want to know is what outstanding characteristic of this genre really draws you back for more?

I like a world before guns and high tech politics existed. It seems simpler... fresher, more natural. It also tends to have made up creatures, fantastic beasts, and basically anything is possible - which feels very freeing.
It always amazed me how a great author can create such a detailed and rich new world.
It's one thing that has confounded and annoyed me with China Mielville's trilogy set in the world of "Bas-Lag"
He creates far more questions than he answers about the world, its structure, its governance and so on.

My favourite series, in terms of creating a detailed, rich fantasy world and using it to tell modern stories, politics, terrorism, genocide, genetic engineering and so on, is The Witcher series of books (& now games) by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski.
A Witcher is a human being who has been genetically modified by magic, and potions to make them faster, tougher, better than a normal human, in order to fight the "supernatural" monsters. The Monsters though are generally not actually supernatural, they are either perfectly natural creatures, such as Dragons, Bloodzuigs - there are things called Drowners which have something to do with people who drowned in rivers. But other things such as Ghouls are not part of Nature in the Witchers world, but neither are they supernatural - they enter the world from another dimension.

The Hero of the series, is the Witcher, Geralt of Rivia, and he comes to realise that just because something looks monstrous, does not mean it IS a monster, whilst some of the greatest monsters he has ever met, have been Men.
There is a trailer on Youtube for the 3rd Game, "Killing Monsters" which wonderfully and briefly explains how Geralt now views the world, and how he acts as a Witcher to protect the world from Monsters.

An important difference in AS's work, is unlike for example Lord of the Rings, the world is not stark black and white, good and evil, it is grey, blurred.
At 1 point in the 2nd game you have to chose which out of 2 characters you are going to go off with, which radically changes how the game then plays out.
Your choices are the human Vernon Roche, who has done many bad things in his job, protecting the Kingdom of Temeria from threats.
The other is Iorweth, an Elf, Commander of a Scoia'tel unit (Elf & Dwarven resistance fighting for non human rights, and to protect their peoples from Genocide, very much a good example of resistance fighter vs terrorist) but Iorveth too, has done bad things. He has almost certainly attacked and burnt human villages, with civilian populations.
Escaping to another world where other possibilities exist is the main reason. Having said that, I particularly like the type of story where a person from our world is transported elsewhere, either in time or to another world. Then I can take the journey of discovery with the character. I started a book list at Goodreads for this subgenre. For those of you who are members, the link is here:
Modern day character meets fantasyland (114 books)

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