The Appeal of Fantasy
The most enduring type of story in history is the fantasy genre. It has been around for thousands of years, starting with epics such as Homer’s The Iliad and The Odyssey and Vigril’s The Aeneid. They consisted of gods, goddesses, and thousands of mythical creatures. The audience for fantasy stories has not dwindled; instead, it only kept growing with the emergence of authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien (and Peter Jackson’s film adaptations), C.S. Lewis, Robert Jordan, George R.R. Martin (and the HBO adaptation), Brandon Sanderson, and many more.
Why the fantasy genre has become so popular? What causes millions of people to read dozens of novels and watch hours upon hours of movies and television shows based on these worlds? Here are some reasons I, as an avid consumer of the fantasy genre, believe this is the case.
Escapism. Let’s admit it, the real world can be pretty dull. I find it all quite drab, at times, with the gaseous smells, the smog, and the constant immersion of noise. Sometimes I just wish all of the mundane went away, leaving us with something beautiful and alluring. This is not to say that the real world isn’t also beautiful — it most can be, but the times that I actually realize the beauty are fewer and far in between — especially when I am constantly busy with my daily routine. Reading or watching a movie about a fantastical world allows us to, even just for a moment, spend a few hours, or even a couple of minutes, in another world.
Good vs. Evil. The idea of two forces — one good and the other evil — in a constant struggle against each other has been around for a very long time. Such a struggle actually exists, of course, but it is mostly unseen. In the world of fantasy, we see it happening before our eyes — even what is supposed to be unseen in the fantasy world eventually presents itself visually and makes itself known to everyone, and there is something incredibly enticing about it.
Need for a Hero. The most important aspect of a story is the protagonist. In fantasy, the protagonist is considered the hero of the story. They are the one who rises to the challenge of overcoming a dark force or some kind of disaster, even against all odds. They are usually someone of a lowly status such as a farmer or someone who just likes to keep to himself/herself. Seeing such a character triumph against evil empowers us and makes us aspire to do something great that can change the world around us.
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A 21-year-old native of Michigan, Evan Morgan is an aspiring author and screenwriter. Coming to the video production school, Center for Creative Media in 2014, he now lives in East Texas amongst a dangerous number of books.