A Trip to Braavos and King’s Landing

I recently spent a week in Spain and made sure to fit in a day in Girona into my schedule. It’s a beautiful, ancient city with an impressive medieval wall, and it’s also got an airport with cheap flights to the rest of Europe… but I’d be lying if I pretended it was anything other than pure nerdy Game of Thrones fandom that peaked my interest. Continue reading

The Ultimate Game of Thrones Tag

I haven’t done a tag before but one of my favourite bloggers, the Orang-utan Librarian, sent this one my way and it looked like fun, so I decided I’d give it a go! Season 6 of Game of Thrones will be premiering very soon so this should help prepare me to  dive into Westeros again 🙂 Continue reading

Are They Really Dead? 5 Kinds of False Deaths in Fantasy

When a favourite character dies in a fantasy novel, movie or TV show, our sense of sadness or shock is often tempered by that niggling question that immediately presents itself… are they really dead?

And we can’t be blamed for asking it. Continue reading

Learning a Fantasy Language? Apparently There’s an App for That

I work part time at an institute that runs classes in a whole range of foreign languages. Real-world languages, that is – like French and Arabic and Japanese. On our feedback forms at the end of each course, we ask students to suggest any new languages that they would like us to offer in the following year. One day a colleague came to me, confused, with a feedback form in hand, and asked:

Continue reading

The ‘Ye Olde’ in Epic Fantasy: 6 More Archaisms and Why Authors Use Them

Last week I listed some English archaic forms often seen in epic fantasy novels: things like “here be dragons” and “unsavoury louts they were” and “prithee”. This week I’m continuing with a few more ‘ye olde’ words fantasy authors like to throw into the mix, as well as having a look at why they do it.

So without further ado, and again with the help of Susan Mandala’s Language in Science Fiction and Fantasy: The Question of Style, here are the remaining 6: Continue reading

The Book Was Better: Watching vs Reading Fantasy

It’s not uncommon to hear people complain that a film didn’t do justice to the book it was based on. Maybe you’ve even been the person doing the complaining. I know I have.

Sometimes a film version of a book just flat-out disappoints. Sometimes it highlights all the wrong parts, or cuts out your favourite bits, or is badly acted, or poorly shot, or presents the climactic moments in a way that drains them of all tension. Of course on the flip side, some film renditions can be great, and there are several out there that have delighted fans.

However, my intention here is not to bemoan the flaws and strengths of various film adaptations. Rather, I’d like to acknowledge something that I think will always affect our reception of book-to-film adaptations: Continue reading

Does Loving Epic Fantasy Make You a Monarchist?

Okay, admittedly that seems like an odd question. But if you’ve ever stopped to think about the attitudes to royalty presented in fantasy stories, particularly epic high fantasies, it’s not so absurd. There is a very obvious bias toward royalty, and the idea that a person born into a role is the most rightful and qualified person to perform that role. Continue reading

Talking Trees… and Other Sentient Vegetation

I have a friend who cannot stand talking trees in fiction.

Talking animals are fine, and she’s happy to accept a whole range of other incongruous fantasy logic (for example, werewolves that turn back into humans and still have their clothes on). But trees that talk, or walk, or are in any way sentient? She finds them stupid. And a bit creepy.  Continue reading

The Taboo on Killing the Villain

I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but every time the hero spares the life of the dastardly, evil villain, I roll my eyes. Even when I was a kid this annoyed me.

Don’t get me wrong, in the real world I’m no fan of vigilantly justice, or the death penalty. I don’t think random good Samaritans should be offing people because they decided it was the right thing to do.

But in the fictional world, when the ass-kicking, world-saving, all-round nice guy or gal battles the evil villain, and finally gets the chance to end their reign of terror once and for all… and they let them live??  Continue reading