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Fantasy Genres

It can be 'hard to know' what fantasy genre that book your reading 'falls into', or what fantasy genre that film you're watching 'falls into', or what fantasy genre that game you're playing 'falls into'. This list of fantasy genres aims to help you answer that question - so that you can get back to your fantasy realm 'as quickly as possible' (aka daydreaming!).

Adventure Fantasy - a warrior ready for adventure, with his battle-axe, sword and shield.

Adventure

This is fantasy that involves a character (or characters) undertaking a specific quest/journey.

  • A knight 'could be on his way' to rescue a princess - whilst becoming lost in a maze.
  • A group of knights 'could be on their way' to find a lost treasure - exploring a wood, then a mine.

Alternate

This is fantasy that's based on history - but featuring a different ending/outcome.

  • A famous battle could be retold 'in a different way' - with a 'totally different' ending.
  • A historic character could have an 'alter ego' - that sees events 'in a different way'.

Arthurian

This is fantasy that revolves around 'King Arthur' and his realm of Camelot.

  • Arthur 'charged' with his knights into the ranks of the enemy commander - who fell back before him!
  • Merlin 'called forth' the power of the lady of the lake - a 'torrent of water' cascaded in Arthur's name.
Comical Fantasy - a stone age caveman kicking a stone wheel along, whilst grinning.

Comical

This is fantasy that involves comedy in its storyline and characters.

  • A knight could be on a quest 'exploring some countryside' - but keeps 'falling off his horse'.
  • A pirate could have a 'fluffy parrot' that keeps 'nipping him on the ear' and telling parrot jokes!

Contemporary

This is fantasy that features both the real 'modern world' and a fantasy 'hidden world'.

  • The man was 'planting his plants' whilst unbeknown to him, the 'little people' were clinging onto the petals.
  • When the boy 'closed the door' his toys came alive, and started to 'chat amongst themselves'.

Crossover

This is fantasy that involves characters travelling between worlds (via a portal of some kind).

  • A magician could 'live at home' in the real world, but 'go to school' through his wardrobe - to wizards castle.
  • When the girl 'started reading from the book' a shimmering light appeared, which led to Atlantis.
Dark Fantasy - a brown haired werewolf growling, whist tearing at the remnants of his clothing.

Dark

This is fantasy that involves 'creatures of the night' (such as vampires and werewolves).

  • A vampire could be hunting the werewolves 'that wounded his mistress', when they'd 'stood in front' of the clock tower.
  • A werewolf could be hunting the vampire 'that had found his den', even though 'he'd hidden there' for a hundred years.

Epic

This is fantasy that involves a large geographical world and/or vast battles between good and evil.

  • An entire army 'of millions' could be 'on the move' marching towards the east of their continent, barring the way.
  • An entire planet could be 'moving through space' in an interstellar war, that would see the stars 'of everywhere'.

Erotic

This is fantasy that involves 'steamy scenes' between its main characters.

  • A witch could have a 'crush on someone' and tell you all about it - keeping those pages turning.
  • A vampire may have a 'night of passion' with their human mistress 'recounting in detail'.
Fairy Tale Fantasy - a fairy godmother, dressed in beige, enchanting an orange pumpkin with her wand.

Fairy Tale

This is fantasy that involves fairies and/or stories/knowledge that are (mostly) suitable for children.

  • The Garden Fairies looked after the flowers in the Fairy Garden, with the blue and red flowers 'being their favourite'.
  • The Princess galloped into town upon her Fairy Horse, looking forward to her Fairy's Masquerade Ball.

Folklore

This is fantasy that revolves around the traditional songs/stories of a particular people/race.

  • The Lock Ness Monster swims around the lake 'peeping his head' above the water - from 'time to time'.
  • The totem poles 'came alive' when the American Indians started to sing their songs - of 'drum-drum-drum'.

Gothic

This is fantasy that relates to barbaric tribes and/or seeks to emphasise the extravagant/mysterious.

  • The Viking warriors came 'crashing forth' with all manner of 'blackened armour' - being covered in animal skins.
  • The marauders from the boat wore 'Spiked Mohicans' as they charged upon the town's folk 'unsuspecting'.
Heroic Fantasy - a king of old, with his long grey hair, but still with strength in his armour.

Heroic

This is fantasy that revolves around the development/story of one particular character.

  • The Prince worked hard to improve his swordsmanship, so that he could face 'the monster in the woods' as a knight.
  • The Princess worked hard to improve her assassins' skills, so that she could enter the castle's dungeon 'undetected'.

High

This is fantasy that involves intelligent/magical beings (such as Dragons, Elves and Wizards).

  • The Dragon spoke to the Prince, saying that 'he would go with him' on his Quest - to combat the dark warlord.
  • The Wizard looked upon the bridge, and 'cast his spell' to shatter it - assisting the armies of the elves 'as they retreated'.

Historical

This is fantasy that's based on history - but may be portrayed by different beings and/or worlds.

  • The North and the South 'did not like each other' - as one was Fire Warriors, and the other was Ice Maidens.
  • The 'Armies of Man' flew to defeat the Aliens - who had invaded 'right across the heart' of Europa.
Horror Fantasy - a green faced, brown eyed Frankenstein, with steel bolts through his neck.

Horror

This is fantasy that involves its characters in scary plots and/or aims to scare the reader.

  • He couldn't shake that feeling 'all day long' that something was watching him ...
  • She laid 'back in her bed', and 'as she did' she became aware of 'that shadow in the corner' ...

Hybrid

This is fantasy that merges two or more other genres together (such as High and Epic).

  • The 'entire planet of Wizards' flew towards the enemy - travelling along their 'web of rainbows in space'.
  • The army of Dragons 'fell from the skies' with only one thought on their minds - devouring of 'the tiny folk'.

Low

This is fantasy that seems more 'every day' and/or features few traditional elements (such as magic).

  • The girl moved the salt pot, and underneath she found some water - in the shape of a boot.
  • Her heart 'skipped a beat' when first she saw him 'across the crowded room' - at evening class.
Magical Fantasy - an old and powerful wizard, with his long white beard, blue robes and brown staff.

Magical

This is fantasy that focuses on magic and/or its portrayal through witches, wizards and warlocks.

  • The Warlocks charged into the ranks of the enemy, whilst the Witches and Wizards cast their spells from afar.
  • The witch knew that she'd started upon a long journey, and that it would test her and her familiar's magic 'to the limit'.

Medieval

This is fantasy that revolves around knights, castles and their merry jesters (but is not Arthurian).

  • The knights in 'not so shining armour' rode across the swamps of the Badlands, looking for the castle.
  • The jester started to 'sing his song' just as the king 'rode in from his hunt' for the evening.

Military

This is fantasy that revolves around a 'band of brothers' and/or how the military is portrayed.

  • Their squad of soldiers had snuck 'right through' the enemy's lines, under orders 'no chat, no fire - unless detected'.
  • The king's knight 'asked the names' of his men, then saluted them all - and 'happily lead them out' into the darkness.
Mythical Fantasy - a brown and golden centaur, standing tall and proud, with his hands on his hips.

Mythical

This is fantasy that revolves around classical beings (such as centaurs and titans).

  • The titan stood at the gates of the valley, guarding the way to the temple beyond, and the treasures that it held.
  • The knights rode deep into the woods, following the 'hoof prints' for hours, and then they saw him - a centaur!

Paranormal

This is fantasy that involves beings such as ghosts and/or happenings that 'can't be explained'.

  • The objects in the room started to move by themselves, as she 'looked through the window' of that quaint little shop.
  • The ghostly knight rode straight through the wall, on his way along 'where the road had been' to the castle before.

Realistic

This is fantasy that 'could actually happen' and/or has sensible limitations on its characters abilities.

  • The magician could only conjure one spell at a time - if spell be the word to describe 'sleight of hand' of an illusionist.
  • The warrior princess was no longer 'quite so strong' - as she pulled back the bow, her wounded arm 'bled even more'.
Romantic Fantasy - an attractive blond haired woman, wearing red lipstick, with a gentleman standing at her back.

Romantic

This is fantasy that concentrates on the 'love life' between various characters.

  • Her knight in shining dragon's armour was everything she'd dreamed he'd be - as he lent forward 'and kissed her'.
  • There was nothing 'quite like' a warlock and a witch being in love - their spells together 'made magic' more than dream.

Science Fiction

This is fantasy that's based on science and/or 'believed to be possible one day'.

  • The 'star ships' engines roared into action, as they started heading away from the planet, going 'deeper into space'.
  • The fleet of 'star ships' were under his command, but he took a minute to himself, just before 'the battle commenced'.

Superhero

This is fantasy that revolves around characters with superhuman strength and abilities.

  • He flew in front of the enemy army, and 'held them back' by using his breathe alone - his ice cold breath 'turned to ice'.
  • Running up the side of the building, she paused for a moment, before she jumped down 'to surprise her enemy'.
Sword and Planet Fantasy - a smaller spaceship heads for a planet's surface, after having emerged from within a larger spaceship.

Sword and Planet

This is fantasy that involves honourable sword fighting - together with interstellar travel.

  • He stood upon the bridge of his spaceship, knowing that he would soon 'draw his sword' and fight the enemy king.
  • Within the armoury of his 'space castle', were countless swords that his army would soon use, when landing planet side.

Sword and Sorcery

This is fantasy that involves honourable sword fighting - together with good/evil magic.

  • The two warriors fought each other to a standstill, whilst the two wizards cast their spells 'that split the mountain'.
  • Inside the castle's armoury, were swords of power 'that could change the tide' - so said the magician 'to his king'.

Urban

This is fantasy that is located within a town/city but also happens to have a fantasy 'hidden world'.

  • When he turned off his light, he had no idea 'what went on outside' - Vampires and Werewolves 'rule the night'.
  • Within the sewers, under the street of houses, the King snake was scheming 'on what to do next' to his enemy above.

Weird

This is fantasy that doesn't follow a linear/sensible storyline and/or is based in a totally alien world.

  • The orange path appeared in front of him, which he followed to the green path - and then the purple trees 'said hello'.
  • As he went to pick up the sword 'it curved' and he found that he could 'fight it around corners' whilst singing a song.

Favourite Fantasy Genre

Out of the (above) fantasy genres, the Victorian Hawk Dragon's favourite to read (and write about) is Sword and Sorcery. He just loves the idea of Heroes 'that are slightly different' within a Fantasy World, with a 'suitably matched' storyline of 'Good against Evil': the prince and his dragon 'charged the black knight' - fighting him 'sword for sword' ...

The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - Part Two

No indeed, the Elves do not! But what of Men, can they throw back the Darkness of Sauron, all by themselves? For a Time, does this Classic Fantasy Tale, appear to suggest (at least to me), that Men very well can! Or perhaps instead, I to (like Boromir), was under the Spell of Darkness, and the Power of the One Ring, to Rule them All:

The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - JRR Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings - The Fellowship of the Ring - JRR Tolkien

For the forth point, on why this is one of the best, Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novels, that you can ever read - is it's range of Dark Fantasy Creatures ... At the Head is Sauron, a Dark Sorcerer, whose Magnificence of Old, is only hinted at (within this Tale). Even so, did I quite enjoy, the Chapter called The Council of Elrond, as it lays the seeds, for the Character of Sauron, in the Later Days of Middle-Earth. He wants the Ring, the One Ring that he made, the One Ring, that he placed much of his Sorcerers Powers in! For me, the One Ring, goes hand-in-hand, with Sauron's most prominent, Dark Fantasy Creatures - his nine Black Riders. Who are akin to Phantoms, with no physical form, other than Dark Visage in a Cloak. They wield Blades, that are both Cruel and Evil. I shuddered when Frodo was wounded (by such a Blade), at the thought of what he could become - a Wraith of some-kind! I feel that Frodo was right, when he chooses to avoid the Black Riders, even though doing so, meant entering the Old Forest (the lesser of two Evils). I found myself sitting, on the edge of my seat, when Frodo was racing for Rivendell (the Elven home of Elrond), with Black Riders chasing him! Added to this, are Sauron's Black Dragons (although here in this Tale, is it just the briefest of glimpses - with a bow shot from Legolas, downing the Dragon). And yet, are there also, other Dark Fantasy Creatures, at work within Middle-Earth - although I feel, that they have no direct knowledge, of the One Ring itself (and thus, do not directly, answer to Sauron). For example, I liked the Orcs and Goblins of Moria, together with the concept of the Balrog (a large Fire Breathing Western Dragon of a Daemon) - who to me, is one of the Oldest of the Old. An Elemental Dragon/Daemon, that lives in the Hottest Fires of the Earth. Yet do I find, that both the Balrog, and the One Ring, have a connection (at least in a saying): Delve Too Deep in Greed, and Pay the Price! The Black Riders delved too deep - what once was King, now Phantom of the Night (and Day!). The Dwarves delved too deep - what once was Moria, was lost to Dark (Durin's Bane - a Balrog!). And of the Wraiths? The Barrow-wights, sent a shiver down my spine! As there's something Unnatural, about former Kings, and Warriors of Old, that feel that they, still have a Hold, on the Living. Wake up Frodo! Fifth: is it's range of Fantasy Swords ... I've always liked the idea of Magical Swords, and the background build-up, to the Sword of Elendil, is no exception: a Sword that was shattered, upon an enemy of Old (Sauron), that is reforged, and renamed Anduril (Flame of the West), the Weapon of Kings (borne by Aragorn) - made me want one :) Added to this, is Gandalf's sword, Glamdring - which I for one, have long desired, to look upon! Yet, do I like the fact that Glamdring (borne by the mighty), is also matched by Frodo's short-sword Sting (borne by the lesser/Little People), as both gleam/glow blue, when in the presence of Orcs - which if you think about it, would be slightly scary, whilst deep in the Mines of Moria! Sixth: is it's range of Fantasy Castles ... For me, there's four that immediately spring to mind: i) Rivendell. The Fantasy Realm of the Elves, with it's Last Homely Gardens, and it's Waterfalls of Sea in Dream, and it's Ford of Guardian Horses (in Force of Water - commanded by Elrond). I liked the idea, of Powerful Elf Lords in Rivendell, that could resist the Darkness, at least for a Time :) ii) Minas Tirith. The City of Men, the City of Kings, that is foremost in the Defence, against Sauron's Armies. I to (like Frodo), found Hope growing in me, at the description of Minas Tirith (within this Tale) - especially at the mention, of it's Towering Battlements :) iii) Minas Morgul. Is perhaps the clearest indication to me, of the One Rings power to Corrupt, as what once was Good, fell into Ruin (owing to the neglectfulness of Men), and became a Fortress of Darkness! I did not like the thought, of both Fear and Dread, to be found there - in the plenty. iv) Lothlorien - not a Castle as such, more a Stronghold in the Trees of the Elves. I liked the idea, that the Elves of Lothlorien, climb upwards, and live in a Kingdom amongst the Treetops :) As to me, a City in the Trees, feels like a strong connection, to the Roots of the Earth, and Nature. Seventh: is the Hobbits themselves ... I found myself, constantly amazed in this Tale, that the Affairs of the Mighty (such as Wizards, Kings and Sorcerers), are at the Mercy, of the Little People: Frodo Baggins, and his trusty companion - Sam Gamgee :) For even with all of Sauron's Might, he can't find a Hobbit! But Gandalf can, yet bows to Frodo - for Frodo is the Ring Bearer :) As chosen by - the One Ring. And what of Merry and Pippin? I find these two Hobbits, to be of less importance (especially in the second half of the Tale), but Gandalf holds them in High Respect. I like this, because the Good Deeds of the Tiny, can unravel the Dark Deeds, of the Mighty :) Overall: An amazing, Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novel, that took me longer to read, than I had expected - as I reread several parts (especially the Mines of Moria). I also feel, that there's a deliberate shift, in the concept of the Main Fantasy Character (as you read this Tale). It's always Frodo, but at the beginning, I thought for a while, that it was Gandalf - until he met his match! I especially like the fact, that this Fantasy Tale, is a David verses Goliath, that's played out on a bigger scale - with Powerful Elements, on both sides :) Finally: The One Ring, is a Ring of Power, is a Quest of Power, between Good and Evil - whose Fate is most directly, in the Smallest Hands of the Land, the Underdog: Frodo Baggins :)

The Hobbit - Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novel

This Classic Fantasy Tale, sees a Quest for Treasure, in the Lost Kingdoms of the Dwarves, with a Guardian Fire Drake of the North, who goes by the name of Smaug. It's The Hobbit:

The Hobbit - Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novel
The Hobbit - Sword and Sorcery Fantasy Novel

Whilst it had been quite some time, since I'd last read The Hobbit, I was amazed with the amount of humour, that's found within it's opening chapters (particularly the very first - An Unexpected Party). I especially found it funny, when the leader of the Dwarves (Thorin Oakenshield), ended up with several of his fellow Dwarves, right on top of him - when The Hobbit (aka Bilbo Baggins), abruptly opened his front door :) I also liked the fact, that Bilbo initially has no idea, as to what is going on - why are all these Dwarves here? But soon finds himself, pouring over a Treasure Map, wondering where the Secret Door is! Which in-turn, leads to Bilbo and the start of his Adventures - having just been recruited by the Dwarves (based upon the recommendation, of Gandalf the Wizard). And it is this recommendation, that I feel captures the Heart and Soul, of this Fantasy Tale ... As The Hobbit does not at first, appear to be the best companion, for Thorin and his Dwarves - let alone their Quest! For one simple reason: The Hobbit / Bilbo Baggins, has only ever read about Adventures in books - preferring instead, to put his feet up, and have his second breakfast :) Indeed, is this low opinion of Bilbo, held by Thorin Oakenshield, and several of his Dwarves - which plays right into, Bilbo's desire to prove them all wrong :) And as such, did I enjoy the irony (that is experienced), as Bilbo's character, becomes central to the Tale - even gaining a Strength of Character, that supersedes the Dwarves (as eventually, he is more of an advisor to them). I found this particularly true, in three specific places: i) When Bilbo rescues the Dwarves - from the Darker Fantasy Spiders (otherwise the Dwarves would have been a juicy meal). ii) When Bilbo rescues the Dwarves - from the Not So Friendly Elves (otherwise the Dwarves would have been captive, in the Dungeons of the Elves for quite sometime). iii) When Bilbo is asked by the Dwarves, to tackle the Dragon Smaug (the Guardian Fire Drake of the North) - as Thorin and his Dwarves, dared not to enter, their own Underground Kingdom ... Yet in all three, do I feel that Bilbo's character, has come a long way - but still remains the same, as that first cheeky Hobbit, who dared to pick the pocket of a Mountain Troll, and land them all in a Stew! What of the Tale's other Fantasy Characters? Well ... There's three, that I quite like ... First: is Beorn (the shape-shifter). I liked the idea of a Man, that could take the form of a Bear - whilst also being able to talk, to an entire variety of animals (from Bees to Horses). I also liked the idea, of Beorn's Gardens and Lands - as he uses his shape-shifting powers, to guard his Domain, against the creatures of Darker Fantasy (such as Goblins and Wargs). I especially enjoyed, the comedy that surrounds the introduction of the Dwarves to Beorn (which is again contrived by Gandalf) - enter two by two, a minute or so after each other, OH! you may as well all come in then! Second: is Smaug (the Fire Drake). Being a Western Dragon, he meets this definition in every sense of his Being - large, powerful, clever (enjoying Riddles), breathing Fire, rows and rows of Teeth, armour as strong as Steel, hoarding Treasure, rending walls and eating all (especially Men and Dwarves). Yet does Smaug, still have a twist of an Eastern Dragon - the ability to speak :) And as such, did I enjoy Bilbo's conversations with him, especially when Bilbo thought, that he could outwit a Dragon! Bilbo dares to steal a Golden Cup - yet Dragons know, every ounce of their Treasure :) For Smaug's personality, is the Darkest of the Dark - it's HIS Mountain, and it's HIS Treasure, that HE stole from the Dwarves, a Long Time Ago. Third: is Thorin Oakenshield. I found that his character, tended to fluctuate somewhat. On the one hand, he will take charge (such as when planning a Quest for Treasure, or meeting a Great Goblin in Battle) - but on the other hand, can Thorin tend to give up in a huff (such as when the Dwarves, are unable to find the Mountain's Secret Door). An interesting character then - as we have to remember, that it was Thorin's Quest in the first place! And of that Quest, does Thorin also wish to retake, his Lost Dwarven Kingdom - of the Mountain. It's a Dwarven Kingdom, where I enjoyed imagining - what it would once have been like, at the height of it's powers: Countless Dwarves - mining Crystals and Gems, Endless Dwarves - Forging Swords and Armour, Robust Dwarves - hewn by the Harshness of the Rocks, Timeless Dwarves - hewn by the Ages of Old, and the Timelessness of Bonds :) And it is these Bonds, that Thorin's most Treasured Treasure (the Arkenstone), is most directly - at conflict with! For the Arkenstone (to me), seems to represent Greed (both Bilbo Baggins, and Thorin's). Thus, was I not too surprised - by the disagreement that arises, between Thorin and Bilbo! Although I was surprised, when Thorin pulls it back, and makes amends with Bilbo, just in the nick of time :) Overall: I feel that The Hobbit, is an enjoyable Fantasy Tale, that successfully incorporates, the important features, from the Sword and Sorcery Fantasy genre. The Swords are the Dwarves, Elves and Men - with the twist of a Hobbit, who could not hope to lift a Sword! But a Knife/Dagger - Bilbo can do that :) The Sorcery is directly from Gandalf, and indirectly from the Dragon's Hoard, and the Dwarves Arkenstone (their Achilles Heel). The Darker Elements, come from the Dragon and the Goblins, together with the Fantasy Character called Gollum (who Bilbo meets beneath the Mountains). Whose Gollum you say? For me, he's a key ingredient, to the popularity of Bilbo - as after Bilbo meets Gollum, does Bilbo's character, seem to tend towards an advisor (for the Dwarves). Thus do I feel, that it seems to be Fate, that Bilbo was destined for Adventure - in the first place :) Finally: an important question arises - is it still worth reading The Hobbit book, after you have watched the three Hobbit Fantasy Films? Yes is the answer to that! The Hobbit book, I found to be much simpler (less extravagant), and as such did it seem - much more magical :) Just one thing remains, where is that Treasure Map? And thank goodness for the Adventurous side - of the Took in Baggins :)

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