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23022Re: Modern Fantasy Genre - All seems lost?

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  • tuhonbillmcg
    Mar 22, 2012
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      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Foster" <mafoster@...> wrote:
      > The April issue of The Atlantic has a two-page spread on G.R.R. Martin The Game of Thrones, TV & book, that accuses GRRM of being “Tolkienesque” but with more sex and blood.

      Part of the problem is they are comparing apples with oranges. Martin's "Game of Thrones" falls more into the category of "Sword and Sorcery" (and therefore should be compared with Howard's "Conan the Barbarian") rather than the High Fantasy genre Tolkien is known for.

      A useful book to help understand the High Fantasy novels of Tolkien and his friend C. S. Lewis (and to a large extent modern works like the Harry Potter series), is C. S. Lewis' "The Discarded Image," in which he describes what he calls "The Medieval Model."


      This model is a worldview found in the literature of Western Europe during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. It is a worldview influenced by both the classical writings of pagan Greeks and Romans as much as the Bible and written works of the early church fathers. When I hear professors of medieval literature cite the novels of Lewis and Tolkien as excellent introductions to medieval literature for modern readers, it is this worldview, this "Medieval Model" that they are recognizing. When we use the term "knight" it is often tied to another word which defines the expected behavior of this type of warrior. Hence we often think of chivalrous knights as warriors who fought in a certain way and believed in certain things and were held to a higher ideal than merely being soldiers on horseback.

      I am writing a series of blog posts on the subject which can be found here:


      The series began in December with this post:

      I hope you will drop by, read a post or two and leave a comment.

      Bill McGrath
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