Hey, all! Welcome to the first full week of Fantasy Month! If you’ve been following along on the blog of Jenelle Schmidt, the founder of this event, then you already know of the great posts we’ve had over the last few days. If not . . . what are you waiting for? There’s some neat stuff on worldbuilding, featuring Middle-Earth and Mistborn!
This week I’m tackling the game of tag, which is always fun and challenging, so I want to thank Schmidt for the tag and getting the ball rolling. And speaking of rolling, why don’t we get started?
1. In a strange twist of fate, you are transported into a fantasy realm of your choice. The catch? You have also been transformed into your least favorite fantasy creature. Where are you, and what are you?
What a strange twist of fate, indeed! And some might even say unfortunate . . .
I’ve been plunked down into The Realm from The Door Within, specifically somewhere near Yewland, if my eyes do not deceive me. And they just might be, for it would seem I’ve been transformed into an orc. This could be bad, sine I don’t think anyone here’s ever seen an orc before . . . Then again, maybe that’s a good thing ─ I might have a chance!
2. What fantasy creature do you wish featured in more stories? What is your favorite story that has that creature in it?
I’m not so sure about this one. I would have to say most of the lesser-mentioned creatures ─ which I guess is just about everything short of dragons? Maybe I’m just not as well versed in fantasy as I would like to think, but I don’t see much of griffons and hippogriffs and phoenixes. I’ll add unicorns, too. I loved unicorns before I met dragons, and I wish they featured as the more mysterious and dangerous creatures of legend than in the fluff and sparkles stories I see more often, where they’re basically just horses with narwhal horns.
And if I think about it, I can only come up with two or three stories that I can recall having them: The Last Unicorn ─ which I read so long ago, I honestly don’t remember anything about it, Harry Potter, and The Summoner trilogy; and the latter two only really in passing.
Got any suggestions?
3. As you are reading this, a voice rings in your ear proclaiming:
A hero true, a leader strong,
A quest is where you do belong,
So arm thyself, and take your stand
With an item to your left your fate is at hand.
Besides the fact that this prophetic voice is clearly incapable of sticking to a meter, what ordinary item do you now find yourself armed with? (And, for bonus points, what helpful magical properties does it now possess that will help you on your quest?)
Well, besides a napping cat, the next nearest item to my left is a ruler. By all accounts an unassuming thing, made of wood with its ends inexplicably covered in tape, but do not be fooled! With this ruler, I can measure anything that can be measured. Whether time, distance, mass, or even the mettle of my fellow man, with my trusty ruler I will know all the things! No army is too large, no kingdom too vast, no grudge too old, and no dark warrior too misleading for my ruler to get the true measure of!
Mwa ha ha ha ha ha!
4. You happen across an ad in a catalogue promising a magical fantasy cruise that will allow you to stop in any three realms of your choice and explore each for several days before returning you home (and the ad promises your safe return or your money back, guaranteed!) Assuming this is not a hoax and that the tour guides will actually be able to cater to your requests, what three realms will you tour and what do you hope to see/who would you like to meet along the way?
Not gonna lie, the Shire would be on the top of my list, and since it’s the Shire I don’t see how much danger there could actually be (other than letting the Sackvilles get too close to the luggage and tableware). I want to see the rolling hills and spend the night in a Hobbit hole, and dine in a tavern with singing and dancing.
Then I think I’d like to visit Roshar (and every time I try to type that I end up with Roscha). I want to see the place for myself, with its rocky landscape and crustacean creatures ─ and sprin! Left to my own devices I might end up trying to find all sorts of sprin. Just . . . maybe not in the Shattered Plains.
Lastly, why not stop at Market Chipping? I’m not one much for towns and cities, but I think I’d like to walk around that town and stop by the florist. I don’t think I’d mind meeting Sophie, but Howl might be safer from a distance ─ who knows what mischief one might get into with him around!
5. Congratulations! You are a fantasy hero/heroine about to start your adventure. You get to choose a small fantasy creature to accompany and assist you on your quest. Who/what do you choose?
Uh . . . That’s a hard one, because depending on which source you’re drawing from, your fantasy creatures are every size imaginable. But you know what? I’ll go with a sentient raven.
6. Elves or dwarves?
I like them both, for different reasons, but while I was first introduced to elves, I’m finding myself more and more in the camp of the dwarves.
7. Do you prefer your dragons (we had to have at least one question devoted solely to dragons!) good or evil or a mix of both?
I’ve met dragons that were by nature nasty creatures, those that are wise and kind, and those that have as much free will to chose their path as we humans do, and I guess it largely depends on how the dragon is portrayed. I suppose we can’t exactly hold them to the same standards of morality as humans, since they’re decidedly not, but if I think about it, I would have to say I prefer the approach of them having equal opportunity to being good, bad, or both, whether or not they are sentient.
I really appreciate how Cressida Cowell did her dragons in the How to Train Your Dragon series ─ which are dragons like I’d never seen before. They’re intelligent, speaking a language that Hiccup learned in order to communicate with them, but even though they can talk they’re still different in morals, motivations, and desires than their human counterparts, and capable of learning traits and habits from their caretakers.
8. World building is a complicated undertaking full of many details. As a reader, what is a small detail you really appreciate seeing when it comes to diving into a new realm? What is something that helps you lose yourself in a fantasy world?
The key here is ‘small details’. It’s rarely the big things that capture my attention, but the little, everyday type of things that are mentioned more in passing rather than those parts that’re given a lengthier explanation. I like it when the author trusts me to grasp something without having to tell me all about it, and when it’s done fairly gradually. I also really appreciate the research that goes into the details, too, because I still don’t see how you can have a field of sweet corn in the middle of winter without it having gone rotten or eaten by wild animals.
9. You have been transformed into your favorite fantasy creature. Problem is… you’re still in your own bedroom and your family is downstairs, completely unprepared for this shock. What creature are you, and how (if at all) do you break the news to your loved ones? (Or how do you get out of your room?)
My, this is a problem. I feel most people would say ‘dragon’, and I’m tempted to say the same ─ after all, dragons are pretty much the iconic image of the fantasy genre. The whole, ‘I say ‘fantasy’, you think ‘dragon” type of thing. But, because I might just be a wee bit rebellious at times, I think I’m going to shift to the side a little.
One moment I’m innocently sitting in my room in front of the heater reading a tutorial, and the next there sounds a thunderous clash, a roaring whoom! And lo and behold, I have become a phoenix! Now, my family might assume the horrific sound simply came from the water heater down in the basement, but sooner or later they’re going to find out the truth. Thankfully I haven’t set my room on fire ─ that would be disastrous ─ and I’m only about the size of my dresser, so I can hop down the stairs. Of course, I’ll have to be creative in explaining the situation to the family, unless I’ve kept the power of speech, and the folks will probably have trouble getting used to the change, but I’ve a feeling my elder brother might actually be jealous.
Wow! That was quite a set of questions, wasn’t it? What a fun and interesting way to explore the genre ─ and one’s own knowledge of it, too!
I’m going to tag Ed White for this challenge ─ but I’m also tagging you, dear reader! Which one of these questions stuck out to you? How would you answer? Let me know, I’m super curious! (And if you know any good, not-fluff-and-sparkles stories with unicorns, I’m all ears!)