I think the name says it all. Fantasy. Even the word conjures up beautiful and exotic images. We all love a bit of fantasy, although not all of us admit it. While some people are more than happy to admit to reading fantasy novels and imagining themselves inhabiting fictional worlds full of fascinating characters, others are more reticent. Yet, even those who would strongly deny their fixation with all things fantastical probably have some kind of fantasy in their mind.
I think, in the past, we needed fantasy as a way of replacing all that was terrible in our lives. In olden days, times were hard, and many people had very little to look forward to. Fantasy takes us away from the real world and takes us to a place where we can be anyone and have anything we want. Who wouldn’t love that? Although these days we all have a lot more, and even the most deprived people in the developed world still have the basic essentials that we need to survive, we still want a little fantasy in our lives so that we can find a morning burst of energy to escape to somewhere completely different.
Fantasy is the most exciting genre of all, and some of my favorite work of all has been being involved in fantasy events. The more of these events I participate in, the more I realize that we all need a little escapism, and that’s what fantasy is, really, isn’t it?
Even people who love their real-life sometimes want to try something a little different and experience something new, and fantasy is a great way to do that. We can see a world that is beyond our everyday life, and we can meet people that are totally different from anything we could ever possibly encounter.
Magic is another key element in fantasy. Whether it be in the form of spaceships, superpowers, or just good old-fashioned spells and wands, magic is the reason for fairytales existing in the first place. Magic is a primitive instinct and although we’re told we should grow out of it when we become adults, the truth is that none of us really want to. Fantasy gives us the chance to be children again, albeit for a short time.
Fantasy stories may be larger than life, but they are still, at their heart, stories about human emotions, challenges, defeats, victories, courage and flaws, and that’s very reassuring. We see our own lives laid out before us, and we can relate to the emotions that these characters are facing. We all deal with human relationships, we all struggle with challenges, we all find it hard to walk the line of achieving balance on a daily basis, so watching superheroes do the same thing, and also struggle despite their superhuman skills, makes us feel comforted and reassured.
One last reason for enjoying fantasy – fantasy can truly bring us home, and hope is a great addiction for us humans. Although perfectionism may be coveted and mistakes may be considered to be sacrilegious, fantasy allows us to have the belief that even those who are the best of us, and who have better resources than we could ever hope to have, make mistakes sometimes. Even better, we see first hand that mistakes are not all-encompassing. Mistakes don’t mean the end of everything. Our heroes go on, despite their errors, and this shows us clearly that, no matter how bad the odds, no matter how crushed you may be by evil forces, it’s still possible to be a winner, or, at the very least, a survivor.
The most important thing we can learn from fantasy is that heroes are all flawed. All heroes will make awful mistakes, even though they have the benefits of powers, magic and strength. Yet, all heroes will overcome bad odds and will eventually emerge victorious from the quagmire. What more inspiration do we need in our lives?