General info: Fantasy is a genre of contemporary art based on the use of mythological and fairy-tale motifs in a modern form. The genre was formed around the beginning of the 15th century. In the middle of the 20th century, the most significant influence on the formation of modern fantasy were English writers John Ronald Ruel Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings, and Clive Staples Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia series. Unlike Science Fiction, Fantasy constructs a fantastic assumption on the basis of free fiction where it’s not limited by the requirements of science. Instead it takes its inspiration from ancient and classical tales of mysticism, magic and sorcery. This world itself exists hypothetically, often its location in relation to our reality is not stipulated in any way. It can be either a parallel world or another planet, and its physical laws may differ from earthly ones. In such a world, the existence of gods, magic, mythical creatures such as dragons, giants, fairies, etc. is more than permissible. At the same time, the fundamental difference between Fantasy and fairy tales is that miracles in fantasy are the norm of the described world and act in a kind of systematic way, like the laws of nature in the real world.
Cultural overview: John Ronald Ruel Tolkien, Clive Staples Lewis, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert Ervin Howard, Joanne Rowling, James Oliver Rigney Jr., George Raymond Richard Martin, Brandon Sanderson, Andrzej Sapkowski, Fritz Leiber, Michael Moorcock, Terry Patchett and Neil Gaiman. The first works of modern fantasy began to appear at the beginning of the 20th century. Changes in the world and departure from what was considered the “traditional society,” made it possible for authors to invent their own worlds, and readers to dive into them with zeal.
Meaning: Medieval epics and novels of chivalry had a strong influence on the Fantasy genre. Tales of King Arthur, along with creatures and heroes from Norse and Greek mythology, were heavily drawn upon for the original works of western Fantasy. Fantasy has also given rise to a separate cultural phenomenon — role-playing games, played with dice and people sitting around a table as well as on console or computer. Games have helped explode the popularity of Fantasy tropes, not only absorbing its derivatives among other types of arts, but also actively generating them.
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Distinctive traits of symbols: A significant part of fictional worlds and plots in Fantasy are built on archetypes: fantasy races (elves, gnomes, orcs, trolls, hobbits, ogres, and so on), the idea of the struggle between good and evil, and a grand quest that the main character(s) must go through to become true heroes. In a significant part of fantasy works, mainly of the epic subgenre, the plot is based on the battle between good and evil, often described as the sides of light and darkness. At the same time, the forces of darkness are often depicted in appropriate attributes: black cloaks, skulls, masks, occult symbols. The archetype of the forces of light often takes on Christian-like significance, i.e. shining armored knights on strong steeds, golden light, etc.