Monday, 30 August 2010

Why I Love Fantasy: A Geek’s Defense

There are many things I love in life. I love my parents. I love my friends. I love playing online Tetris for free. I love a tall, ice-cold pint of beer. I love that the space bar will pause Youtube, Hulu, and Netflix Instant viewing. I love all of these things and never have to defend that. But one thing I occasionally do find myself defending is my love of fantasy. In a way, I get it. Fantasy is, on its surface, a genre packed to the gills with elves, dragons, and wizards — not exactly grown-up fair. How can a story with magic spells and dashing princes compare to the very realistic plays of Tennessee Williams, the written works of Jack Kerouac, or the films of Gus Van Sant? What makes fantasy so great?

In a word: metaphor.

This past year, the high fantasy television show Legend of the Seeker came into its own when episodes began appearing that were not necessarily part of the larger plot, but instead focused on characters by throwing them into fantastical situations that mirrored real life problems.
Kahlan, a young woman who was torn between her sense of duty and her love for her companion, Richard, was in one episode magically split into two people, and through this spell we came to learn much about her and how difficult her burden really was.
Another episode featured Cara, a woman who was abducted and brainwashed and turned into a killer. As she attempted to regain her humanity, she was turned into a Baneling (basically a sentient zombie), thus making her metaphorical fight to be a regular person quite literal.

Read the full story at


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