Friday, July 19, 2013

Many Blends in Epic Fantasy

Genre blending and epic fantasy are sisters in combat. Epic fantasy can include any number of elements borrowed from other genres. Yet the good versus evil and the quest is always there for readers to enjoy. The Lord of the Rings and The Wheel of Time series include ghosts, foretelling and romance. While called different names, they are in essence the same thing.

And that is the beauty of epic fantasy. Ghosts are called spirits and any random word for foretelling can be used for the person who foretells. Of course, romance will always be romance. The number of possibilities for each element is left up to the imagination of the writer. The creative choice assimilates the different genres into good versus bad with the bumps to save the world or obtain the quest item.

The Ringwraiths in The Lord of the Rings are like ghosts. They are turned into apparition by the dark power of the rings. On the other hand (no pun intended), the other wraiths were nothing more than common men who dishonored their peers. Also necromancy caused the dead to rise again. Ghosts and people returning back to the dead are seen in many paranormal novels.

The ghosts in The Wheel of Time series foretold the last battle of Tarmon Gai'don. In this case, they are called ghosts and not spirits. The ability to foretell the future is considered a talent by the Aes Sedai. Those who have the talent are far in between, but they have always existed from the beginning. Foretelling is accepted universally in any genre, just more so in others.

Both fantasy series include romance. Aragon and Arwen are your traditional couple in the Lord of the Rings. They want nothing more to be together, but first, the world needs to be saved. In The Wheel of Time series, Rand is in love with three women - Min Farshaw, Elayne Trakand, and Aviendha. They accept he is in love with all of them. While never in the same bed all at once, this is normally seen in erotic novels.

In a nutshell, epic fantasy can have it all and still let you include a unicorn, or any other outrageous thing, without anyone blinking an eye. If it fits the world the character exists in, then there's nothing that cannot be done. That’s music to my ears.

Now, what other genre blending or bending are seen in epic fantasy? And is there an epic fantasy series that includes so many you can’t keep count?

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