0 October 27, 2022 12:29
Fantasy is a genre where the reader is thrown into a completely new world of unlimited imagination, of faeries and goblins, of supernatural wars and celestial magic. It allows us to explore the depths of our untethered minds; we visualise alien kings and mermaid queens and pretend that this is our new reality. Fantasy creates ultimate escapism from the real world. Rather than face real-life issues, many readers prefer to delve into the worlds of Westeros or Narnia. Join Bethan as she explores this escapist genre.
The genre has typically been associated with escapism, and is even defined by many as a form of diversion from unpleasant realities: fantasy offers the chance to exist in a realm of make-believe. I would like to focus on specifically the worlds in fantasy novels, for these worlds are at the roots of escapism.
An example of such an escapist world is the world of Westeros and its other regions. Westeros appears in the Game of Thrones series and is one of the four known continents in the world. It is where the majority of the narrating characters live in the books, and where a lot of the plots take place. Westeros, in my opinion, is an extraordinary land of such detail and culture that it is hard to believe that it is not a real place.
There is the Wall, an area situated in the icy, freezing north where men battle with the untamed ‘Wildlings’ who live in the Land of Always Winter. There is Dorne, a scorching desert brimming with spices and scorpions. There is King’s Landing, the capital city that is dotted with both sewer streets and gleaming buildings. Such a world cannot be fake!
It is tempting as a reader to remain in such places as Westeros, and not face the reality of our own Earth
I find that Westeros also makes a link with our own lives; we find relatability in the underlying meaning of the story. Yes, I’m sure medieval-like wars against frozen, supernatural beings are not relatable, yet the battles highlight the need for humans to preserve their livelihoods. As readers, we also battle against things that seek to destroy us: we battle mental illness, we battle poverty, and we even battle the urge to buy that expensive top or designer lipstick.
Game of Thrones also exposes the imperfections of humans, as we read how the characters’ greed ruins their morals and overall lives. It teaches us a lesson to not act like them. So, whilst reading such books detach us from life, it still prompts us to reflect on our own imperfections and troubles.
It is tempting as a reader to remain in such places as Westeros, and not face the reality of our own Earth. Whilst I recommend fantasy due to its magical beauty, it is important to not use it as a coping mechanism. We must face the real world in the end.
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