I am currently re-reading The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson, and I am am enjoying the epic story all over again. Sanderson’s writing makes me care about the fates of both Vin and Kelsier, who are the two main protagonists of this novel. Vin’s experiences living in the rough areas of Luthadel help shape her strong character and differs hugely from fantasy protagonists like Frodo Baggins, who left a life of easy living and luxury to embark on a dangerous adventure. The fantasy genre remains strong due to the amount of creativity it sparks.
For me the fantasy genre is about immersion, escaping the real world and jumping into a world created by our imagination. Magic to a certain point is key to a good fantasy novel or series, but good world-building and strong characters are arguably more important. For example, in George R.R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series the world of Westeros and Essos are built through the stories of various individual characters. Politics and intrigue are what makes The Song of Ice and Fire really interesting and it is no surprise that the books were adapted for television. My favourite character is Tyrion Lannister because he is both clever and funny at the same time.
Humour is something I enjoy in fantasy books, which is why Terry Pratchett is one of my other favourite authors. I read fantasy books for pleasure and Terry Pratchett’s book meet this criteria. The world of Discworld is brought to life by very good characters like the cynical Commander Vimes or the cowardly failed wizard Rincewind. There are many good quotes from the Discworld series that are either really funny, philosophical or both at the same time.
The future of fantasy is looking bright with the rise of urban fantasy and steampunk fantasy. I am, as a reader, really looking forward to the future direction of the fantasy genre and big budget fantasy films coming up like Doctor Strange may help inspire more authors to write fantasy and hopefully bring more readers to fantasy, the fantasy genre is not dead yet. There may be no more Lord of the Rings films in the pipeline, but there are many great fantasy book series old and new to discover.