Why we can’t get enough of fantasy worlds—according to me.
Let’s face it. Humans are lame. We can’t fly or hold fire in the palm of our hands or wave a magic wand to thwart our enemies. But I, for one, wish I could. I think this is one reason that we love the fantasy genre and always will. There is something inside of us that longs to be more than creatures subject to gravity and the laws of physics; something that hopes mystical creatures existed at one point and may again; something that wonders if there are worlds beyond our own and if we would just reach a little further...
Don’t get me wrong; there are wonderful things we can do as humans, and sometimes they may even seem like magic (like when my kids cleaned the toy room last night by themselves in record time). But I think for the most part, we live typical, repetitive, often mundane lives. Perhaps this is enough for some, but many of us crave a little more adventure, and that’s why we read and write those fantasy novels. They act like the fire escape outside our windows, but instead of leading to the street below, they sweep us off to some unexpected and usually charming—though at times fearsome— place. We get to leave our world behind for a time and enter a world with trolls, magic trees, or evil witches that we have to destroy. And when one book is over, we grab another, and the world is new again; there are more friends to meet, different obstacles to overcome, fresh heroes and heroines to fall in love with.
But maybe we have more in common with fantasy characters than we realize. With all of the fantasy books I’ve read, not one character has been so good at what they do that they didn’t have to practice. Sounds a little human, doesn’t it? Usually they have families, problems, certain abilities or talents, and people who are trying to bring them down. Don’t we all have a little bit of each of those things? With fantasy, these elements of life are taken to a whole new level, but while on the journey, we learn how to deal with all of these things a little better. We breathe easier because it is nice to believe that someone is going through the same things (or worse). We don’t feel so alone. We can climb back up that fire escape, crawl through the window and face our lives again. It is a thing of beauty.
Sometimes I wonder if we came from a place where things were a little more magical, and if part of us somehow remembers that and longs to have it again. Who knows? Anything’s possible, especially in a fantasy novel.
(As I was typing this, my kids came running in the room, one pretending she was flying and the other riding a magic Pegasus. I rest my case.)
What superhuman ability would you have if you could choose?