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Epic fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy literature that is characterized by its large-scale stories, complex world-building, and richly-detailed characters. If you’re new to the world of fantasy literature, epic fantasy can be an intimidating place to start. With so many books, series, and worlds to choose from, it can be hard to know where to begin. In this article, we’ll provide a beginner’s guide to epic fantasy, including an introduction to the sub-genre, and recommendations for new readers.
So, what exactly is epic fantasy? At its core, epic fantasy is a type of fantasy literature that tells a large-scale story with a wide cast of characters and a richly-detailed world. The story often involves a quest or a journey, and the stakes are typically high – the fate of the world or the survival of a people may be at stake. The characters are complex, and their motivations and goals are often at odds with one another. The world-building is intricate, and the reader is transported to a fully-realized fantasy world that is complete with its own history, culture, and politics.
Another important aspect of epic fantasy is the presence of a powerful antagonist, often known as the Dark Lord, who threatens the fantasy world and must be defeated. The Dark Lord serves as the ultimate evil that the protagonist and his companions must overcome in order to save the world. This trope is often used to provide the story with a sense of danger and to give the protagonist a clear enemy to fight against. Examples of this trope can be found in books such as “The Lord of the Rings,” “Harry Potter,” “The Wheel of Time” and “A Song of Ice and Fire” series. The dark lord trope is often used to create a sense of urgency and danger in the story, making the stakes higher for the protagonist and the readers, it also gives the protagonist a clear goal and a sense of purpose. The Dark Lord trope is a classic element of epic fantasy and is often used to create a sense of high stakes and tension in the story.
One of the most well-known examples of epic fantasy is J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” series. This classic series tells the story of hobbit Frodo Baggins and his quest to destroy the One Ring, a powerful object that could bring about the downfall of the world. The series is known for its richly-detailed world, complex characters, and high stakes. Another example is George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, better known as “Game of Thrones”, this series tells the story of several noble houses in a medieval-inspired fantasy world, all vying for control of the Iron Throne. The series is known for its complex characters and political intrigues.
If you’re new to epic fantasy and looking for a place to start, here are a few recommendations:
- “The Lord of the Rings” series by J.R.R. Tolkien – This classic series is considered the foundation of modern epic fantasy.
- “The Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan – This 14-book series is a must-read for fans of epic fantasy.
- “The Kingkiller Chronicle” series by Patrick Rothfuss – This series tells the story of a musician and magician named Kvothe, and is known for its richly-detailed world and complex characters.
- “The Lies of Locke Lamora” by Scott Lynch – This book is a great entry point for readers who want to start with a stand-alone novel.
- “The First Law” trilogy by Joe Abercrombie – This series is known for its gritty and realistic depiction of a fantasy world.
In conclusion, epic fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy literature that is characterized by its large-scale stories, complex world-building, and richly-detailed characters. If you’re new to the world of fantasy literature, it can be an intimidating place to start. However, with the right guidance and recommendations, you can dive into this exciting and imaginative world. These are just a few examples of epic fantasy series that are worth checking out, but there are many more out there waiting to be discovered.
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