Five Fantasy Novels Inspired by Tarot: Magic in the Cards

Explore the mystical allure of Tarot cards as we delve into five captivating fantasy novels. Discover worlds where Tarot symbolism weaves through tales of power, love, mystery, and destiny.

Tarot cards, with their rich symbolism and mysterious allure, have fascinated people for centuries.

They’ve also inspired a wealth of creativity in the world of fantasy literature.

Here, we delve into ten enchanting fantasy novels where the tarot’s mystical themes are woven into the fabric of the story.

“The Castle of Crossed Destinies” by Italo Calvino

This literary gem uses tarot cards to tell stories within stories. The narrative sees a group of travellers at a castle who’ve lost their ability to speak and must use tarot cards to communicate their tales. Calvino’s deft handling of the tarot’s symbolism makes this novel a captivating read.

“The Greater Trumps” by Charles Williams

This novel takes its name from the 22 Major Arcana cards, also known as the Greater Trumps in tarot. The story revolves around a unique tarot deck that possesses the ability to control the forces of nature and the universe. A classic tale of power, love, and mysticism.

“Last Call” by Tim Powers

Powers’ ‘Last Call’ merges the world of poker with the symbolism of the tarot deck in an exciting, unconventional narrative. The protagonist must face his past, destiny, and a dangerous antagonist who uses the tarot to manipulate reality. A thrilling combination of Las Vegas, mythology, and tarot.

“The Tarot Sequence” by K.D. Edwards

This series takes the tarot to a whole new level by creating a society where each tarot card represents a ruling family. The protagonist, Rune Saint John, belongs to the fallen Sun Throne and is tasked with unraveling a mystery that ties into the very heart of this tarot-based society.

“The Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness

In ‘The Discovery of Witches’, a bewitched manuscript propels a young scholar into a world of witches, vampires, and daemons. The series often references the tarot, using it as a tool for guidance and prediction, tying it into the overarching narrative.

Honourable mention: “The Raven’s Prophecy Tarot” by Maggie Stiefvater

While not a novel, this tarot deck and accompanying guide book created by the renowned fantasy author Maggie Stiefvater deserve a mention. The guide book weaves a narrative around each card, providing insights into the tarot and the symbolism that Stiefvater incorporates into her own novels.

These books offer a unique fusion of fantasy and tarot, creating captivating worlds where the cards and their meanings come to life.

 Whether you’re a seasoned tarot reader or a newcomer to the cards, these tales will take you on a journey through mystical landscapes where the magic of the tarot permeates every page.

Tarot in the Tropes: The Influence of Tarot on Fantasy

Explore the mystical influence of tarot cards on fantasy fiction, from cryptic symbolism to plot devices in novels and films. Always beware the reversed Tower!

Today, we’re braving the arcane, treading the path of mystics, and charting a course through the enigmatic world of tarot cards.

We’re going to explore their fascinating influence on the realm of fantasy fiction.

Tarot, Tea Leaves, and Telling Tales

Tarot cards, for those as yet uninitiated, are a pack of 78 playing cards, dating back to the mid-15th century in various parts of Europe.

They were initially used for games like Italian tarocchini and French tarot (a bit like bridge, but with more capes and incense).

By the 18th century, they had adopted a new mantle as tools of divination.

Fast forward to the modern day, and their mystical symbolism has been picked up and played with by many an imaginative author (including myself).

Mysterious Meanings

Each tarot card carries a wealth of symbolism, from the Fool (a happy-go-lucky chap with a penchant for cliff edges) to the Lovers (no prizes for guessing what they’re about) and Death (not as gloomy as you might think).

They’re a bit like cryptic crossword clues, but with more pictures and fewer anagrams.

Tarot in the Pages

Fantasy fiction has always been a melting pot of myth, folklore, and symbolism, so it’s no wonder tarot has found its way into this genre.

In fact, it’s as at home in fantasy as a hobbit in a hole or a dragon in a dungeon.

Take, for instance, Roger Zelazny’s “Chronicles of Amber.”

Here, tarot cards are not used merely for forecasting futures over a cuppa.

Instead, they are a means of communication and even transportation between different worlds.

In Piers Anthony’s “Tarot” trilogy, a whole planet is shaped according to the principles of the tarot, with each life form and geographical feature corresponding to a card.

It’s like someone took a pack of tarot cards, flung them into space, and said, “Let’s make this a place to live.”

 It’s as bonkers as it sounds, and it’s a cracking good read.

Then there’s “The Greater Trumps” by Charles Williams, where the tarot deck takes centre stage, possessing powers over life, death, and the weather.

It’s like your weather app, but with higher stakes and more dramatic flair.

Cards on Screen

It’s not just the written word that has been seduced by the allure of tarot.

The silver screen has also embraced these enigmatic emblems.

Remember, “Now You See Me?”

The Four Horsemen, a group of illusionists, use tarot cards as a plot device to add mystery and a splash of the occult. It’s like a magic show with a side of prophecy.

So, there you have it. From a humble pack of playing cards to a powerful plot device, tarot cards have certainly made their mark on fantasy fiction.

Intriguing, mysterious, and brimming with symbolism, they’re a gift to any writer looking to add depth and intrigue to their work.

Next time you pick up a fantasy novel or watch a fantasy film, keep a keen eye out for the tarot’s influence.

You’ll be surprised how often they pop up, usually at the most dramatic of moments.

And if you’re considering a bit of fortune telling yourself, just remember—always beware the reversed Tower.

It’s never a good sign, especially if you’re planning any DIY…

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