Fantasy books and our obsession with heroes – a discussion

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The fantasy genre has always had a loyal and devoted fanbase, but with more fantasy appearing in big budget films and television series, does the fantasy genre get the respect it deserves.?

Last week the Guardian published their list of the greatest novels written in english, and the fantasy genre was very underrepresented. The Lord of the Rings by Tolkien is largely consider one of the most epic reads of the twentieth century, yet the Guardian’s list shows that some in the literary world still view fantasy and something childish. However, fantasy books are arguably the best form of fiction to truly escape the confines of the fast-paced modern world.

My favourite fantasy books have all covered important issues that we cannot ignore. A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin deals with politics and corruption. The Lord of the Rings deals with temptation, idustrialisation, slavery and the importance of friendship. Hobbits resemble people as happy and friendly, which are attributes that are more important in a world dominated by a doom and gloom media machine. The most common plot in epic fantasy is a hero going on a quest to defeat evil. The origins of heroism in fantasy fiction can be traced to Greek mythology and the Arthurian legends.

I am not surprised that the popularity of fantasy books and films has coincided with a surge in popularity of comic book superheroes. The obsession with heroes, in my opinion, is healthy because it is healthier than becoming a addicted to dangerous drugs. It is true that following your geeky passions can cost a lot of money, but you arguably get more value for your money. Moreover, many people share the obsession of fantasy, science fiction and comic books, which bring people together and promotes a friendly community of people both in real life and on the internet. It is true that there are people who will try and ruin it by trolling, but those people can be ignored.

It is also worth mentioning that I, like many people, am hugely looking forward to reading Terry Pratchett’s last Discworld novel. The Discworld series is awesome and another example that there are no rules to writing good fantasy, the books only need to be fun to read.


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