Ways of Measuring Time in High Fantasy

There’s no rule that says Fantasy authors have to avoid clocks and calendars when writing their fictional worlds. Many authors simply stick with seconds, minutes, hours, days, months and years.

After all, the 24-hour clock and the Gregorian Calendar pre-date the Middle Ages, so if a fantasy is set on a medieval earth-like world and characters refer to hours and months, it won’t feel immediately anachronistic (though admittedly these measurements wouldn’t have been available in handy wristwatch or smart phone format). Continue reading

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Why the World is Never Round in Fantasyland

I’ve just returned from a round-the-world trip, and all that globe-encircling got me to thinking about the shape of worlds in epic fantasy novels. This isn’t the first time I’ve noticed it, but there’s a rather bizarre and archaic trait almost all fantasy worlds have in common: Continue reading

Exotic Names: 7 Languages That Inspire Fantasy Authors

You open a book and come across an unusual place or character name. Maybe it’s got some strange consonants packed in. Maybe it even has an apostrophe or two. You’ve got no idea how to pronounce it… but if you’re used to reading fantasy this probably hasn’t fazed you. Exotic invented names are commonplace in this realm.

Some fantasy names might stand out in your memory: perhaps famous ones like Isengard and MordorAzkaban and Quidditch, Targaryen and Dothraki. Others might not. Regardless, the majority of them are not as made-up as they seem. Continue reading

History in the Potterverse and Other Magical Worlds

If you’ve read the Harry Potter series, the name Bathilda Bagshot might be familiar to you. You may even recognise her as the author of Hogwarts, a History, a book to which Harry’s friend Hermione regularly refers in the series. Whenever the characters need to know something about the ancient castle they go to school in, Hermione is there, spouting “historical” facts from Bagshot’s work to help them solve their problems.

Continue reading