Fantasy is just one genre of many that I enjoy reading (or watching in the case of movies). There is no denying the huge popularity it has gained, particularly in recent years, with many of the world’s most well-known and renowned stories both in the form of literature and film being within the realms of fantasy. The wonder, the intrigue, the striking visual splendour and the ability to denounce the rules and restrictions of real life are undoubtedly reasons as to the increasingly powerful grip the genre has on us as an audience but I believe there is another important yet often overlooked reason, which I feel is best summed up in a quote by Lloyd Alexander:
“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.”
I challenge you to find any fantasy story, be it one that is brought to us on the page or the big screen, which fails to take inspiration from or attempt to teach us something about matters that are far closer to our real lives than we would perhaps first think. Be it a detailed analysis of a specific human characteristic or as broad a moral concept as good vs evil; our own culture and emotions are the common threads that link our world with those we could otherwise only dream of.
There are so many bad things in this world that however painful, need to be addressed and fantasy is an embracing and comforting crutch we have created in order to cushion the blow and help ourselves cope and learn. For that, I am truly grateful.