What are the most frequently asked questions about the fantasy genre?
Newcomers to the fantasy genre always have a bounty of questions coursing through their brain. The problem is that sometimes these newcomers are unable to find a reliable resource to find the definitive answers they are looking for.
This unnecessary frustration discourages potential readers from pursuing their passion for fantasy.
I have taken it upon myself to construct a dependable resource to prevent this. This article is geared toward answering the fourteen most frequently asked questions about the fantasy genre. Enjoy!
I have provided concise, pointed answers to the fourteen fantasy queries below. For your benefit, I have also included links to lengthier articles on my site that analyze the specific question in even more excruciating detail.
1.) What is the Fantasy Genre?
The fantasy genre is defined as a genre of theoretical fiction that incorporates magical, otherworldly components into the narrative.
The setting is entirely fictional but still contains elements that resemble the real world.
*For a more detailed look at the general fantasy genre, check out my article: What is the Fantasy Genre? – Definition & Examples
2.) What are the Signature Characteristics of the Fantasy Genre?
The primary elements that comprise fantasy books include the following: a signature magic system, a unique world and a complex cast of characters.
There is more to fantasy than these elements alone, however, these characteristics are universally considered to be fundamental to fantasy.
*For a more detailed look at the signature characteristics of the fantasy genre, check out my article: 11 Archetypical Elements of Fantasy Genre
3.) Who Founded the Fantasy Genre?
Over the years, many names have been thrown into the mix of who should officially claim the illustrious title of the “founder of fantasy.” After scourging the Internet, the forerunners in this race were Homer and George MacDonald.
It is evident that both of these individuals brought something new and innovative to literature that led to the inception of fantasy.
After analyzing all of the facts, it appears to me that Homer is a founder of the broader subject of fantasy in literature. George MacDonald, on the other hand, more befits the image of the founder of modern fantasy.
*For a more detailed look at who founded the fantasy genre, check out my article: The Fascinating History Behind the Fantasy Genre
4.) When was the Fantasy Genre Founded?
Many fantasy enthusiasts go back and forth as to what literary work gave birth to the fantasy genre.
The Odyssey by Homer and Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women by George MacDonald are the most common literary stories that fantasy enthusiasts propose as the first fantasy work.
Thus, this answer depends on what you view as the first fantasy work. The Odyssey by Homer was written in the 8th Century BC.
On the contrary, Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women by George MacDonald was published in 1858.
*For a more detailed look at when the fantasy genre was founded, check out my article: The Fascinating History Behind the Fantasy Genre
5.) Why Should I Read Fantasy?
The biggest appeal of the fantasy genre is that it grants freedom from reality and fuel for your imagination.
Few other reading genres can offer these unique privileges because their narratives are confined to reality.
The fantasy genre has no such bounds.
*For even more reasons to read fantasy novels, check out my article: Why Read Fantasy? – 12 Reasons to Get Started
6.) What are Some Examples of the Fantasy Genre?
The following list encompasses some renowned fantasy works that are still considered staples of the fantasy genre to this day:
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
- A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
- The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
*For a more detailed look at these examples of the fantasy genre, check out my article: What is the Fantasy Genre? – Definition & Examples
7.) What are the Fantasy Sub-Genres?
The following list encompasses what are universally considered as the major sub-genres of fantasy:
- Children’s Fantasy
- Dark Fantasy
- Fantasy Romance
- High Fantasy
- Low Fantasy
- Urban Fantasy
- Young Adult Fantasy
*For a more detailed look at fantasy sub-genres, check out my article: What is the Fantasy Genre? – Definition & Examples
8.) What is a Magic System?
A magic system is a set of laws that govern how supernatural powers are utilized and created within a fantasy novel.
*For a more detailed look at magic systems, check out my article: What is a Magic System? – Definition & Examples
9.) What is World Building?
World building is defined as the manner in which an author constructs a completely new, fictional setting for their novel. World building demands excruciating detail.
The history, geography, and unique beings of the fictional universe must be explicitly described since the setting is made from scratch.
*For a more detailed look at world building, check out my article: What is World Building in Literature?
10.) What are Some Famous Fantasy Quotes?
Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope.-Dr. Seuss
There is a rule for fantasy writers: The more truth you mix in with a lie, the stronger it gets.-Diane Duane
Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.-Albert Einstein
*For more thought provoking fantasy quotes, check out my article: 47 Fantasy Quotes That You Need to Hear!
11.) Is the Fantasy Genre Popular?
The fantasy genre is extraordinarily popular because of its iconic characters and beautifully crafted worlds.
Fantasy writers are famous for their remarkable ability to handcraft stories that make the characters and setting larger than life.
*For a more detailed look at why the fantasy genre is popular, check out my article: Why is the Fantasy Genre So Popular?
12.) What is the Purpose of the Fantasy Genre?
The purpose of the fantasy genre is to provide an indirect means of confronting the harsh realities of everyday life.
Fantasy is not intended to be a way for people to run away from their problems.
Fantasy is intended to be a way for people to grow and evolve to overcome their problems.
*For a more detailed look at the real purpose behind the fantasy genre, check out my article: The Actual Purpose of the Fantasy Genre Exposed
13.) What Can I Learn From Fantasy?
Being thrust into the fantasy realm compels a reader to think beyond their own world.
The most significant pieces of knowledge that the fantasy genre can provide are a broader perspective and a spike in creative skill.
The fantasy genre is able to most efficiently convey these teachings due to the exclusive advantages of its story structure.
*For a more detailed look at the lessons that can be learned from the fantasy genre, check out my article: What Can I Learn from Fantasy? – 8 Lessons
14.) What are Some Common Themes in the Fantasy Genre?
The following list encompasses what are universally considered as the most common themes in fantasy:
- Coming of Age
- Good versus Evil
- Individual versus Society
- Individual versus Self
- Love and Sacrifice
- Overcoming Weakness
- Quest for Discovery
*For a more detailed look at the common themes of the fantasy genre, check out my article: 25 Common Themes Outlined in Literature