The Fantasy Book Craze
Do you remember the first time you picked up a copy of Harry Potter? Do you remember the feeling of curiosity and wonder that followed? The fantasy book craze is an absolute phenomenon for millennials, stemming from when we first learned to read. This continued fascination with the unknown and supernatural has never really gone away, why is that? Harry Potter alone has sold almost 500 million copies worldwide. Clearly there is a uniquely compelling element to fantasy novels. They provide something different yet familiar.
Theories About The Fantasy Genre
In recent years, fueled by the popularity of books like Harry Potter, Game of Throne and Twilight, the fantasy book craze has taken the world by storm and has shared riveting and complex ideas with millions of millennials. What is it though? What makes these mythical (foreign) universes so appealing? They provide us with something both on a physical and emotional level. According to Rowena Cory Daniels of The Australian Literature Review, J.R.R. Tolkein, author of The Lord of the Rings series, coined the term “Eucatastrophe” to describe the feeling the reader gets from the fantasy genre. Tolkien explains, it produces this peculiar effect because it is a sudden glimpse of the truth. You feel a sudden relief as if a major limb out of joint had suddenly snapped back.” Getting in touch with the slightly abnormal helps make us feel more normal. In a way, connecting with the fantastical sets us right. Fantasy itself is truly a mysterious and a remarkable entity. Author and Editor Mark Newton informs The Telegraph that, “in these modern times, where most of us sit at computers or face a bland commute, fantasy books offer a chance to break out of mundane moments.” He continues by saying, “People like to explore greater themes. Anything is possible in fantasy, and the genre can exercise our ability to think, and to wonder.”
What Is It Specifically About The Books That Is Compelling?
What makes these books from the fantasy book craze resonate? For Harry Potter, the compelling factor is how easily accessible it is. One could say it is just “magic at school”. According to Cheryl Klein, a writer and editor at Arthur A. Levine Books, it all starts with the main character-do we like Harry? She tells us that, “She [J.K. Rowling] gets us readers to identify with her hero, because Harry is real and interesting to us.” She further states that though Harry possesses certain virtues such as courage and bravery, he and other characters are very imperfect and make several mistakes along the way. Harry Potter also has added appeal because the story as a whole reflects struggles and conflicts we experience daily. For example, battling the adversity faced with growing up in a school. At its core, the series has a degree of simplicity to it. For mature readers, The Game of Thrones series offers a dark, gritty, richly developed and intense read. In addition it provides a unique take on the fantasy genre and has an engrossing plot. It also has realistic characters such as John Snow and Tyrion Lannister. The book is an easily addictive read, a true page-turner. There is much madness and dystopia within the series, but it all comes together. Another special quality is its broad scope which contains a detailed universe and timeline. It is quite simply a powerful series that is chalk full of excitement. For younger readers, The Twilight Saga, acts as a great escape from everyday reality. It is a series that has tapped into the Vampire craze and put a contemporary romantic spin on it.
Broadening Your Horizons Beyond The Fantasy Book Craze?
How can we recreate this seductive sensation of the awe that these books provided? One way is by taking pleasure in exploring new worlds. Travel can be very helpful for this. Take advantage of opportunities to explore the world. Amanda Arnold of How Stuff Works reports that a recent study stated that “students who travel abroad in college tested higher for intercultural learning skills post-study abroad than students who had never studied abroad.” She also includes, that travel is an effective resource for people who are looking for transformative experiences, which could involve adventure challenges, volunteer trips, and studying abroad or spiritual pilgrimages. Life is full of new and innovative discoveries. As millennials, we have to take the initiative to make those discoveries No matter fact or fiction, the fantasy book craze has given us something special. Millennials have a thirst for knowledge and creativity. Fantasy allows us to explore expansive concepts with the turn of a page.
Andrew is a graduate of McDaniel College (’13). He is also an aspiring writer and stand-up comedian. He believes that if you are passionate about something, you should go for it! Life is too short for question marks, live life to the fullest while exploring your dreams and see what happens! Andrew presently lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania.