From Zelda to Epic Tales: Tracing Hyrule’s Footprints in Contemporary Fantas

Dive into how The Legend of Zelda’s Hyrule influences modern fantasy literature. From time-bending tales to silent heroes, Zelda’s essence lives on in today’s epics.

The Legend of Zelda, with its green-clad hero and captivating world of Hyrule, has been more than just a digital escape for many.

Beyond the pixels, heart containers, and haunting ocarina melodies, it seems Hyrule’s winds have whispered inspiration to the realms of modern fantasy literature.

Let’s dive into that Deku Tree of influence, shall we?

A Link to the Past (and Future):

Time is but a playground in Zelda, particularly in “Ocarina of Time.”

This playful approach to chronology is mirrored in novels like Mark Lawrence’s “Red Queen’s War” series.

Just as Link jumps between timelines, some protagonists grapple with a fluidity of past, present, and potential futures.

Silent Protagonists with Loud Legacies:

Link, the hero of few words, lets his actions speak.

This archetype is echoed in characters like Fitz from Robin Hobb’s “Farseer Trilogy,” whose quiet demeanour masks his true heroism, proving you don’t need words when you’ve got courage (and a Master Sword).

Landscape as Character:

From the fiery depths of Death Mountain to the serene Zora’s Domain, Hyrule is diverse and alive.

Similarly, authors like George R.R. Martin give settings such as the Wall in “A Song of Ice and Fire” a heartbeat, making locales as vital as any character with a speaking role.

Enigmatic Mentors:

Zelda games abound with wise, enigmatic figures, like the owl Kaepora Gaebora.

In literature, the mysterious mentor figure has roots in characters like Gandalf, but newer figures, like Jasnah from Brandon Sanderson’s “Stormlight Archive,” carry that torch (or staff) forward.

Puzzling Plots:

Much as Link often faces intricate puzzles to proceed, readers find similar brain-teasers in books like Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus,” where deciphering the plot feels like unlocking a complex Zelda dungeon.

The Eternal Triangle: Power, Wisdom, Courage:

The Triforce’s triad has found its way into modern tales, symbolising the balance of strengths needed in a hero (or anti-hero).

Patrick Rothfuss’s “Kingkiller Chronicle” displays this balance, with Kvothe seeking power, wisdom, and courage in his tumultuous journey.

Benevolent Royalty and the Weight of Duty:

Princess Zelda is no mere damsel; she’s a beacon of hope, often bearing burdens beyond her royal title.

This theme resonates in characters like Maia from Katherine Addison’s “The Goblin Emperor,” where royalty is both a privilege and a heavy chain of duty.

Linking (pun completely intended) it all together, The Legend of Zelda hasn’t just been a game series.

It’s been a rich tapestry from which contemporary fantasy authors have, perhaps unknowingly, snipped threads to weave into their own sagas.

As the lines between Hyrule and the written page blur, one truth stands tall: in every heart piece of fantasy, a bit of Zelda’s legend lives on.

How Final Fantasy Has Shaped Modern Fantasy Literature

Explore the influence of the iconic ‘Final Fantasy’ video game series on contemporary fantasy literature, from world-building to character complexity. Dive into the parallel universes!

Final Fantasy, the video game series that’s been anything but ‘final’, has made a considerable impact not just on the gaming world, but also on the pages of contemporary fantasy literature.

So, how exactly did a bunch of pixelated characters hopping across our screens wield such influence over authors and their hefty tomes?

Chocobos to Giant Hawks?

The first, and possibly most important, aspect is the sheer scope of the worlds Square Enix created.

If you’ve read any of Patrick Rothfuss’s “Kingkiller Chronicle”, you may have noticed his world’s depth, from the currency system to the layout of the University.

Much like the intricate maps and city layouts of Final Fantasy, it seems Rothfuss might’ve spent a wee bit too much time in virtual taverns.

Eco-Crisis Alert!

Environmental issues, from the lifeforce-sapping Mako Reactors in FFVII to the Sin-tainted oceans of FFX, run deep.

N.K. Jemisin, in her “Broken Earth” series, paints a world under ecological collapse.


Well, maybe. But who wouldn’t fancy a ride on the Highwind while navigating through a post-apocalyptic Earth?

Character Complexity

You thought Cloud’s and Squall’s angst was reserved for teenagers with oversized swords?

Think again.

The nuanced character development we see, especially in later FF titles, mirrors the emotional depth and complexity found in characters like Kaladin from Brandon Sanderson’s “Stormlight Archive.”

Moody hero with hidden depth? Check.

 Not-so-Side Quests

Just as in the games, where a side quest could lead to acquiring that elusive ultimate weapon, authors like Sarah J. Maas in her “Throne of Glass” series often indulge in side plots that are just as compelling as the main narrative.

Sometimes, they even steal the show.

 Mixing Technology and Magic

FF has always toyed with the balance between the mystical and the mechanical.

A theme picked up by authors like Brian McClellan in his “Powder Mage” trilogy where gunpowder sits alongside sorcery, lending the stories a similar charm to FF’s technological landscapes brimming with magic.

In the end, while it’s a playful stretch to claim that every modern fantasy author has a hidden stash of FF games under their bed, there’s no denying the influence of this legendary series.

It’s as if the literary realm looked at Final Fantasy and thought, “Well, why should video games have all the fun?”

Blade of Wolfsbane audiobook is now free on YouTube!

Embark on an epic journey with ‘Blades of Wolfsbane,’ a high-stakes prequel to Jon Cronshaw’s Ravenglass Legends. Dive into a world of honor, secret fighting styles, and family legacies, now available as a free audiobook.

Welcome to the immersive world of Blade of Wolfsbane, a high fantasy novella prequel to Jon Cronshaw’s Ravenglass Legends.

This captivating tale, now available as a free full audiobook, is an unforgettable journey into a vibrant universe filled with courageous heroes and electrifying sword fights.

In the heart of the story, we meet Ragnar—a chieftain’s son yearning for his father’s respect. Secretly honing an unorthodox fighting style, he grapples with a choice: reveal his prowess in the imminent boys’ tournament and risk family disgrace, or submit to defeat. This epic tournament, a secret to safeguard, and a legacy at stake, sets the stage for a story that will ensnare your imagination.

Fans of rich world-building and high-stakes fantasy will feel right at home in the expansive Ravenglass Universe.

Embark on Ragnar’s epic journey today. Dive into the world of chieftains, warriors, and ancient traditions. Experience the thrill of the tournament, the weight of a secret, and the struggle for respect.

Don’t miss out on this exciting journey! Listen to the full audiobook of Blades of Wolfsbane for free right here on YouTube.

Remember to like, share, and subscribe for more immersive audiobooks. Enjoy the adventure!

he Echoes of The Belgariad: Eddings’ Influence on Modern Fantasy

Exploring David Eddings’ ‘The Belgariad’ and its undeniable influence on modern fantasy, from ‘Game of Thrones’ to ‘Harry Potter’.

Once upon a time, as all good stories start, in the small town of Spokane, Washington, a man by the name of David Eddings put pen to paper and began to weave a tale of prophecy, magic and, most importantly, a farm boy named Garion.

A tale that, unbeknownst to him, would shape the course of modern fantasy literature.

This tale?

“The Belgariad.”

The Chosen One

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Oh, not another Chosen One narrative.”

 Yes, I hear you, and I can only offer a shrug and a sheepish grin in response.

But if one were to dismiss Eddings’ work as just another predictable riff on the same old trope, they’d be missing out on an influential cornerstone of the genre.

“The Belgariad,” with its magical orbs, prophecies, and a cast of characters so colourful they make a bag of Skittles look positively monochrome, has had a reach far greater than it’s given credit for.

Its influence can be seen in the works of authors from across the globe, like a whisper of Spokane in every fantasy bookshop.

A Game of Thrones

Take, for instance, George R.R. Martin of “A Song of Ice and Fire” fame.

Now, Martin’s work might be a bit grimmer (read: “Red Wedding”), but dig a bit deeper and you’ll see Eddings’ fingerprints all over it.

The intricate politics, the sprawling world-building, the stark contrast of good versus evil—all hallmarks of “The Belgariad.”

Even the character of Jon Snow, the broody, duty-bound hero, echoes Garion in more ways than one (though I’ll grant you, Jon’s direwolf beats Garion’s horse in a coolness contest).

The boy who lived…

Or what about J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series?

The boy who didn’t know he was a wizard until a giant man broke down his door one day?

Smells a bit like Garion’s own journey, doesn’t it?

The parallels go beyond the surface, though; they both grapple with destiny, they both have a dark lord to defeat, and they both have a wise old mentor guiding them (no points for guessing which one has a longer beard).

Into the Cosmere

Let’s not forget Brandon Sanderson, who seems to have taken a leaf or two out of Eddings’ book.

Sanderson’s “Mistborn” series, with its complex magic system, may seem far removed from “The Belgariad,” but look closer.

The deep, diverse world and the idea of prophecy as a central plot device?

That’s all very Eddings.

Plus, there’s also the whole “humble beginnings” thing.

Vin, the street urchin turned hero of “Mistborn,” could be Garion’s long-lost sister (or at least distant cousin twice removed).

A lasting legacy

So, whether you’re a fan of the “Game of Thrones” bloodbaths, the “Harry Potter” wizarding world, or the “Mistborn” metallic magic, you’ve got a bit of “The Belgariad” in your bookshelf.

Eddings may not have reinvented the wheel (or the magic orb, as it were), but he certainly gave it a good spin.

His work stands as a testament to the impact of a well-told story, and a reminder that even the most unassuming farm boy can end up saving the world.

In the end, the influence of “The Belgariad” is a bit like Garion’s magic—it’s there, bubbling under the surface, quietly shaping the course of things.

You just have to know where to look.

And don’t worry—unlike Garion, you won’t need a grumpy old sorcerer to help you out.

Just keep an eye out for any orbs.

Magic on the High Seas: Exploring the Genre of Nautical Fantasy

Dive into the depths of nautical fantasy novels; their rich world-building, maritime myths, and captivating seafaring adventures await exploration.

Fancy yourself an adventure? A swashbuckling escape from terra firma into a world of monsters, pirates, and unsolved mysteries of the uncharted deep?

Perhaps it’s time to dip your toes into the ocean of nautical fantasy novels, a genre that unites the thrill of the high seas with the enchantment of the fantastical.

Whether it’s a towering ship cresting a colossal wave or a haunted seafarer whispering tales of ghostly apparitions, there’s an undeniably magnetic pull to stories of the sea.

And when these tales are woven with elements of the fantastic, well, that’s when the magic really happens.

A Change of Scenery

Fantasy novels often have a reputation for taking place in a quasi-medieval setting—think rolling green fields, stony castles, and bustling village markets.

Nautical fantasy, however, tosses that familiarity overboard.

 Instead, we’re introduced to the vast and uncharted waters of the ocean, and a ship that serves not only as transport but as a character in itself.

The sea is an arena of the unknown, where anything can happen.

Variety in Lore and World-Building

Nautical fantasy taps into a rich seam of mythology and folklore.

From the Kraken of Scandinavian legends to the mermaids of global folk tales, the sea is a hotbed of mythical creatures.

Furthermore, different cultures around the world have unique relationships with the sea, leading to a vast array of seafaring tales and traditions.

This variety is reflected in nautical fantasy, leading to a wealth of world-building opportunities.

Life on the Edge

There’s a thrill to stories set in precarious environments.

And what’s more precarious than a wooden ship bobbing on the whims of the tempestuous sea?

Stories of survival, endurance, and the battle against the elements are commonplace in nautical tales.

These scenarios crank up the tension and keep the reader turning pages.

The Promise of Discovery

The sea is a realm of discovery.

In real-world history, brave (or foolhardy) explorers crossed oceans in search of new lands, cultures, and riches.

In nautical fantasy, these voyages of discovery often have an extra layer of excitement, unveiling new magical systems, mythical creatures, or ancient civilisations.

Piracy, Freedom, and Rebellion

There’s a reason we’re captivated by the romantic image of the pirate.

 The figure of the buccaneer embodies a sense of freedom, rebellion, and non-conformity that’s hard to resist.

And with that comes the tantalising promise of treasure, adventure, and high-seas skulduggery.

Just try to ignore the reality of their brutal existence and it’s all fun and games.

 Themes of Deep Resonance

The sea is an excellent backdrop for themes of introspection and transformation.

Characters at sea have time to ponder their existence, wrestle with inner demons, or discover hidden depths to their personality.

The journey often becomes as much about inner change as it is about physical travel.

In short, nautical fantasy gives us a splash of the familiar and a hefty dose of the unknown.

It provides a stage for the fantastical to intermingle with historical influences, leading to stories that can be fun, introspective, terrifying, and always deeply captivating.

So, if you’re craving a change from the kingdoms and wizards of typical fantasy, grab a nautical fantasy novel.

Let the salty sea air fill your lungs, feel the sway of the deck beneath your feet, and set sail for adventure.

The Enduring Magic of Narnia: Unpacking Its Relevance Today

Dive back into the magical world of Narnia and explore its enduring appeal, timeless themes, and relevance in today’s modern world.

As you step into the wardrobe, pushing past the fur coats, you enter a world where talking animals, magical creatures, and epic battles are part of everyday life.

This is the universe of ‘The Chronicles of Narnia,’ the much-loved fantasy series by the British author, C.S. Lewis.

In this post, we are revisiting this fantasy classic to see whether it’s still relevant in the modern world.

Unparalleled Imagination and World-Building

The Chronicles of Narnia are universally recognised for their incredible imagination and world-building.

The fantasy land of Narnia, with its talking beasts and sprawling scenery, continues to capture the hearts of readers across the globe.

This timeless appeal, in part, stems from the depth and richness of the Narnian universe—a testament to Lewis’s remarkable imaginative prowess.

Timeless Themes

The Chronicles of Narnia weave a complex tapestry of themes, ranging from the universal struggle between good and evil, the exploration of faith and spirituality, to a profound commentary on the nature of power and authority.

Despite their age, these themes continue to resonate in the 21st century, making Narnia a relevant read even today.

A Guide to Moral Compass

The Chronicles of Narnia are more than a series of fantasy novels.

They also offer guidance and lessons on courage, honesty, and humility, with each character embodying specific virtues or vices.

Lewis cleverly uses these characters to guide readers, especially younger ones, in developing their moral compass.

A Reflection of Real-World Issues

Despite its fantastical setting, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ subtly reflects real-world issues.

Themes such as discrimination, war, and the abuse of power are cleverly woven into the narrative.

These parallels allow readers to engage with these challenging topics in an accessible and safe environment, thus opening up a dialogue on their importance.

Christian Allegory

One of the most compelling (and controversial) aspects of the Chronicles of Narnia is its Christian allegory.

While the series can be enjoyed as a simple fantasy, the exploration of Christian themes provides an added layer of depth.

Aslan, the majestic lion, serves as a Christ-like figure, and the stories themselves draw from biblical narratives.

However, this allegory is never intrusive and is often interpreted differently by readers based on their own beliefs and backgrounds.

So, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia,’ despite being written over seventy years ago, continues to hold a significant place in the literary world.

Its universal themes, moral guidance, and allegorical exploration make it a series that transcends time and continues to captivate audiences in the modern era.

This timeless classic serves as a reminder that the magic of Narnia is just a wardrobe away.

How The Lord of the Rings Shaped Modern Fantasy

Explore Tolkien’s lasting impact on fantasy, from Middle-earth’s intricate lore to its ripple effect in pop culture. Dive into the legacy of a mastermind.

Ah, Middle-earth. A place where hobbits, elves, dwarves, and men coexist, and where one tiny gold ring can cause a ruckus that would put a Black Friday sale to shame.

This world has been etched into our collective consciousness ever since J.R.R. Tolkien first introduced it in “The Lord of the Rings.”

Published in the 1950s, the epic tale not only transformed how we view fantasy, but it has left an indelible mark on, well, almost everything else.

Now, Tolkien didn’t just wake up one morning and think, “Hmm, I fancy writing about an overambitious piece of jewellery today.”

His motivations were as profound as Gandalf’s wisdom (and that’s saying something!).

He desired to craft an epic mythology for England, driven by his dismay at the lack of native legends that weren’t tampered with by the French (Norman conquest, anyone?).

Fuelled by his love for ancient texts, philology, and probably a pint or two from The Eagle and Child pub, Tolkien gave us a world that is astonishingly detailed and breathtakingly vast.

When it comes to the release of the series, it was no less than a literary event.

Starting with “The Fellowship of the Ring” in 1954, followed by “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King”, the trilogy took readers by storm.

It’s worth noting that the term “trilogy” here is a bit of a misnomer—Tolkien saw his creation as a single novel but owing to practical reasons (like the sheer weight of the manuscript!), publishers divided it into three.

And while we’ll be diving deeper into the nitty-gritty of Middle-earth’s influence on world-building, the art of crafting languages, and the allure of epic quests that make our Monday mornings seem pretty mundane in comparison, this introduction is just to get your feet wet.

So, whether you’re an old fan who considers the Shire your second home, or a newbie just wondering what the fuss is all about, tighten your bootstraps, grab a lembas bread, and let’s embark on this enlightening journey together.

And remember, it’s the journey, not the destination, that matters—unless your destination is Mount Doom, in which case, you might want to reconsider.

Crafting Middle-earth

If you’ve ever tried to create a sandcastle without any plans, tools, or, frankly, a clue, you’ll know it usually ends up looking more like a misshapen potato than a regal fortress.

World-building in fantasy is somewhat similar, albeit on a slightly more, let’s say, epic scale.

It’s one thing to say, “Here be dragons”, and another to elucidate the lineage, favourite snack, and probable Tinder profiles of said dragons. And that, dear reader, is the genius of Tolkien.

Middle-earth isn’t just any old land plucked from the depths of imagination—it’s a grand tapestry woven with millennia of history, songs that are probably older than your granny’s china, and cultures so rich and varied they make our annual village fêtes look like a tepid cup of tea.

Now, Tolkien didn’t merely give us a map with some catchy names and say, “Here you go, have fun”.

No, no. He gave us genealogies (who knew hobbits were such avid record keepers?), intricate languages that would flummox even the most dedicated Duolingo user, and a calendar system which would make even the most ardent timekeeper’s head spin.

And then there’s the vast, sweeping landscapes—from the cosy confines of the Shire, to the ethereal beauty of Rivendell, to the doom and gloom (mostly doom) of Mordor.

His world-building was, in every sense, a game-changer.

Before Tolkien, we had fairy tales and fables, but post-Middle-earth, fantasy authors everywhere probably felt the weight of expectation.

A few elves and a magic sword wouldn’t cut it anymore.

They had to think about ecosystems, geopolitics, and the socioeconomic implications of dragon hoarding.

Thanks to Tolkien’s meticulous attention to detail, the bar was set sky-high (somewhere around the level of the Eagles, I’d wager).

This is not just world-building—it’s world-crafting.

It’s the equivalent of meticulously painting the Sistine Chapel and then deciding it needs just a tad more gold leaf.

The sheer expansiveness of Middle-earth has since become the gold standard (pun very much intended) in the realm of fantasy.

The next time you dive into a book and find yourself immersed in the nuances of fictional trade agreements or the correct pronunciation of a witch queen’s third name, tip your hat to Tolkien.

The man didn’t just set the stage—he built the entire theatre.

Created Languages

Ah, language. It’s that nifty little thing we use to order a coffee, complain about the weather, or explain why we’re three hours late to a meeting (dragons on the motorway again, I swear).

But for Tolkien, language wasn’t just a tool—it was an art, a passion, and quite possibly, a bit of an obsession.

Just as Picasso had his Blue Period, Tolkien had his Elvish Phase.

Now, if you thought learning French was tricky, spare a thought for anyone diving into Quenya or Sindarin.

Tolkien, ever the overachiever, didn’t stop at creating a few fancy names or curse words.

No, he went the full monty, crafting fully-fledged languages with their own grammar, vocabulary, and scripts. This wasn’t just a hobby; it was philology on steroids.

Why, you ask? Well, Tolkien believed that language was intrinsic to culture and identity. You can’t have a millennia-old race of ethereal, long-haired beings without giving them a suitably poetic language to sing about moonlight and, erm, trees.

And, boy, did the Elves love trees.

But it wasn’t just about the Elves.

Dwarvish, the Black Speech of Mordor, the Westron Common Tongue—each was a testament to Tolkien’s belief in the power and beauty of language.

With his philological prowess, he demonstrated that fictional cultures feel significantly richer, more real, and more alive when their linguistic roots are deep and well-forged.

Aspiring authors everywhere surely threw up their hands in exasperation, realising that they now had to think about verb conjugations for their fictional species.

Gone were the days when a few ‘thees’ and ‘thous’ would suffice for creating linguistic depth.

Now, there was a new benchmark, and it came with its own alphabet.

Since Tolkien’s time, the importance of constructed languages (or ‘conlangs’ for those in the know) has blossomed.

Whether it’s George R.R. Martin’s Dothraki in Game of Thrones, or the Na’vi language in James Cameron’s Avatar, authors and creators have come to embrace the enriching depth that a well-crafted language can bring to a fictional universe.

Races and Creatures

Let’s turn our attention to the residents of Middle-earth.

Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits.

They might sound like the line-up for a particularly eclectic village talent show, but Tolkien’s depiction of these races transformed them from mere mythological footnotes to headline acts in the fantasy realm.

First up, the Elves.

Before Tolkien, if you mentioned elves, many would picture mischievous little sprites dancing in moonlit glades or cobbling shoes after hours.

Tolkien’s Elves, however, are a whole different kettle of fish. Tall, ethereal, and perpetually looking as if they’ve just stepped out of a Pre-Raphaelite painting, his Elves became the archetype for many a fantasy narrative. #

Laden with history, tragedy, and an elegance that would put any catwalk model to shame, Tolkien’s Elves transcended their previous roles in folklore.

Then we have the Dwarves, stout and sturdy, known not only for their impressive beards (a hipster’s dream) but also for their craftsmanship and love of all things glittery.

Under Tolkien’s touch, they became a fiercely proud race with a deep sense of honour and tradition.

Gone were the mere tunnel-digging stereotypes of Disney’s Snow White—these Dwarves had culture, history, and yes, a penchant for breaking into song every now and then.

And who could forget the Hobbits?

Tolkien’s unique creation, these unassuming little folk with their furry feet and insatiable appetite for second breakfasts, captured hearts worldwide.

They might not have the ethereal beauty of Elves or the might of Dwarves, but their courage, resilience, and love for the simple pleasures of life resonated deeply with readers.

Now, it’s true, Tolkien didn’t pluck these races out of thin air.

Mythology and folklore brim with references to elf-like creatures, dwarvish beings, and other fantastical species.

However, what he did was infuse them with a depth and richness previously unseen.

They weren’t just cardboard cut-outs used to further a plot; they had histories, legends, grievances, and dreams.

And it’s this depth that has cemented Tolkien’s races as touchstones in the fantasy genre.

Many a writer has (shamelessly or otherwise) borrowed, adapted, or been ‘inspired by’ Tolkien’s interpretations.

When we think of Elves or Dwarves in modern fantasy settings, the image is often tinted with a shade of Tolkien.

Archetypal Characters

Step onto the stage of Middle-earth and you’ll be greeted by a cast of characters so iconic, they’ve practically stamped their faces (or in some cases, their precious rings) onto the very essence of fantasy storytelling.

While Tolkien didn’t invent all of these archetypes, he certainly gave them a fresh coat of paint, a new lease of life, and an unshakeable place in our collective imaginations.

First in the spotlight, we have Frodo Baggins, the poster child for the “reluctant hero”.

Here’s a chap who’d rather be munching on crumpets in Bag End than traipsing across Middle-earth with the weight of the world (and a particularly heavy ring) on his shoulders.

Frodo’s journey from the comfort of the Shire to the fiery depths of Mount Doom is the quintessential transformation from ordinary to extraordinary.

Tolkien shows us that heroes aren’t just made on battlefields; they’re made in the quiet moments, the hard choices, and the persistence to keep going even when the nearest tavern is miles away.

Then there’s Gandalf, embodying the “wise old mentor” trope.

With his pointy hat, majestic beard, and penchant for puffing on a pipe, he might seem like your typical wizard at first glance.

But Gandalf is so much more than a spell-slinger. He’s the guiding hand, the voice of wisdom, and occasionally, the bringer of fireworks.

He’s the mentor who knows when to lead, when to step back, and when to, quite literally, send you on an unexpected journey.

Thanks to Tolkien, a whole generation of fantasy authors saw the merits of having a seasoned character who’s seen it all, done it all, and still has a few tricks up their billowing sleeves.

And, of course, we can’t forget Gollum, the corrupted creature torn between his better nature and his overwhelming desire for the One Ring.

Gollum is the epitome of the “corrupted being”, a living, rasping testament to the corrupting nature of power and obsession.

While he might be a far cry from the typical villain with a dastardly plan, he’s a chilling reminder that sometimes, the greatest battles are fought within.

While characters like these can be traced back to ancient myths, legends, and folktales, Tolkien’s portrayal of them set a benchmark. His characters weren’t just archetypes; they were layered, complex beings who laughed, cried, struggled, and triumphed.

Their journeys have since become the yardstick against which many a fantasy character is measured.

Epic Quests

Once upon a time, in the heart of Middle-earth, there was a ring. Not just any ring, mind you, but the One Ring, the sort of jewellery piece that could make entire kingdoms fall and rise.

And at the centre of “The Lord of the Rings” is the monumental quest to bid this little trinket adieu in the fiery chasms of Mount Doom.

 Sounds simple enough, right? Ah, but as with anything Tolkien touched, there’s more to it than meets the eye.

The concept of the “quest” is as old as storytelling itself.

From ancient myths where heroes sought golden fleeces or fire-breathing foes, to legends of knights chasing after elusive grails, the idea of embarking on a journey, facing insurmountable odds, and returning transformed is a tale as old as time.

However, Tolkien didn’t merely dabble in this time-honoured narrative; he supercharged it.

The quest to destroy the One Ring is not just a trek across scenic landscapes (though there are plenty of those).

It’s a multi-layered journey—physically gruelling, emotionally harrowing, and spiritually awakening.

Every step taken by Frodo and the Fellowship is laden with peril, moral dilemmas, and the ever-present shadow of the enemy. It’s a marathon of endurance, courage, and resisting the urge to simply wear the darn thing.

Tolkien’s take on the epic quest wasn’t just about getting from Point A to Point B. It was about the transformation of its participants, the forging and breaking of alliances, and the understanding that even the most epic of quests is, at its heart, a deeply personal journey.

Since the publication of “The Lord of the Rings”, the epic quest has become a cornerstone of fantasy literature.

Need to overthrow a dark lord? Quest! Misplaced a magical artefact? Quest! Got a prophecy about a chosen one? You guessed it, quest!

While the objectives vary, the essence remains the same: characters pushed to their limits, facing both external challenges and internal conflicts, all while navigating a world brimming with wonder and danger.

Moral Depth

Peel back the layers of orcs, elves, and a rather peculiar obsession with pipe-weed, and at the heart of Tolkien’s magnum opus lies a rich tapestry of moral themes.

These aren’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill dilemmas like whether to have a second helping of elevenses (though, that’s certainly a quandary many a hobbit has faced). No, these are the weighty, sit-up-straight-and-think-hard kind of themes, the sort that have been echoing down the corridors of fantasy literature ever since.

First and foremost, there’s the age-old tussle between good and evil. Middle-earth is rife with it.

From the lofty towers of Minas Tirith to the shadowy depths of Mordor, every nook and cranny seems to be choosing a side. But Tolkien, ever the maestro, doesn’t just paint this battle in broad strokes of black and white.

There’s nuance, ambiguity, and a fair bit of moral greyness (we’re looking at you, Boromir).

It’s a gentle reminder that even in a world bursting with magic, the lines between right and wrong can often be as blurry as a wizard’s vision after one too many ales.

Next up, we have the oh-so-seductive corrupting influence of power, best epitomised by that shiny bit of finger jewellery: the One Ring.

How many have been ensnared by its allure, whispering promises of grandeur and dominion?

From proud kings to a certain gangly creature who’s overly fond of referring to himself in third person, the One Ring’s grip shows that unchecked power can lead even the noblest souls astray.

In Tolkien’s world, the true measure of a hero isn’t their strength or cunning, but their ability to resist temptation and wield power responsibly.

And then, there’s perhaps the most heartwarming theme of all—the idea that even the tiniest individual, someone who might be overlooked in the bustling crowd of Middle-earth, can be the catalyst for monumental change.

You don’t need to be a seven-foot-tall warrior or a sorcerer with a flair for the dramatic. Sometimes, all it takes is a humble hobbit with a good heart (and possibly an appetite for adventure that matches his appetite for scones).

Since Tolkien laid down his pen, these moral threads have woven their way into the fabric of countless tales, sagas, and epics.

Authors across the globe have grappled with, expanded upon, and reimagined these themes in myriad ways.

Magic and Its Limitations

If you’ve ever dreamt of attending a school of witchcraft and wizardry in Middle-earth, best shelve those dreams.

Because magic in Tolkien’s world doesn’t come in handy, colour-coded textbooks or involve shouting Latin-ish phrases while brandishing a wand.

Middle-earth magic is a different beast altogether—subtle, ancient, and as elusive as a well-behaved oliphaunt.

In many fantasy tales, magic is the solution to all life’s little problems.

Need to light up a room? There’s a spell for that. Fancy turning your pesky neighbour into a toad? There’s probably a spell for that too (though, not endorsed for everyday use).

However, in Middle-earth, magic is less about dazzling displays of power and more about the intangible, the ineffable. It’s in the haunting songs of the Elves, the ancient wisdom of the Ents, or even in the resilience of a hobbit’s spirit.

And when overt magic does make an appearance – say, in the guise of a certain grey-clad wizard – it’s often shrouded in mystery and reverence.

But here’s the real kicker—magic in Tolkien’s realm often comes with strings attached. Or, to be more precise, consequences.

The One Ring grants invisibility, but wear it too often and you might just find yourself hosting a permanent Ringwraith party (spoiler: they’re not the fun kind).

Even mighty artefacts like the Palantíri or the Silmarils, for all their allure and power, are double-edged swords, bringing both great insight and potential doom.

This nuanced approach to magic—where it’s less about the spectacular and more about the significant, where every spell or magical act carries weight and consequence—has left an indelible mark on the fantasy genre.

Later authors, drawing inspiration from Tolkien, have woven intricate magical systems, ensuring that magic isn’t just a tool but an integral, living part of their world.

They’ve recognised that, sometimes, the most powerful magic lies not in the grand gestures but in the small moments, and that every action, magical or otherwise, ripples through their world in myriad ways.

History and Mythology

Imagine for a moment you’re a visitor in Tolkien’s study (tea and crumpets optional, but highly recommended).

One glance at his desk and you might wonder if he’s chronicling the rich tapestry of an ancient civilisation, given the sheer depth and intricacy of the papers strewn about.

 But no, this isn’t history homework gone awry—it’s the painstaking crafting of Middle-earth’s millennia-spanning backstory, complete with its heroes, villains, love stories, betrayals, and a good number of epic ballads to serenade the lot.

Before “The Lord of the Rings” even gets its boots muddy in the Shire, Tolkien had crafted entire ages of his world’s history.

This wasn’t just a cursory timeline scribbled on the back of an envelope.

We’re talking detailed accounts of creation myths, family trees more complicated than a soap opera, entire languages (with their evolving dialects, no less), and sagas that would make ancient bards nod in appreciation.

“The Silmarillion”, often dubbed Middle-earth’s own Bible, is just the tip of this monumental iceberg.

Now, while creating exhaustive backstories might sound like an author’s way of ensuring they never run out of procrastination material, it’s far more than that.

By grounding Middle-earth in such rich history and mythology, Tolkien gave it weight, depth, and a tangible sense of timelessness.

Every hill, every forest, every ancient ruin in Middle-earth whispers tales of yore, imbuing the landscape with a poignant sense of both wonder and melancholy.

It’s this depth that makes us feel, when stepping into Middle-earth, that we’re delving into a realm as ancient and storied as our own.

Tolkien’s dedication to crafting Middle-earth’s deep past wasn’t just a hobby run amok; it set a gold standard for the fantasy genre.

Authors who followed in his footsteps realised that to truly immerse readers, their worlds needed history, legends, and the occasional epic ballad.

It’s no longer enough to simply introduce a mystical city; readers now yearn to know who built it, which star-crossed lovers met beneath its silvered arches, and, naturally, which legendary figures might have sung a melancholic tune about it all.


Pop open a copy of “The Lord of the Rings” and before you even reach a word of the tale, you’re greeted by an elaborate tapestry of coastlines, mountain ranges, forests, and the winding roads of Middle-earth.

It’s not just any map; it’s a visual feast, a cartographic love letter to the world Tolkien so meticulously crafted.

You see, Tolkien understood something vital: A good map does more than just show you the way from the Shire to Mordor (though it’s rather handy for that, too)—it plunges you, heart and soul, into the very landscape of the tale.

Now, you might wonder, why such fuss over a bunch of lines and names on paper?

Well, beyond the obvious delight of tracing Frodo’s perilous journey with a finger, or getting a bird’s-eye view of Gondor’s strategic location, there’s something deeply immersive about a well-crafted map.

It beckons the reader to wander, to explore, to daydream about adventures in the vast swathes of land labelled with tantalising terms like “Here Be Dragons” or “Mirkwood” (adventures that hopefully don’t involve too many spiders).

And here’s where Tolkien, the astute pioneer he was, sparked a cartographic revolution in fantasy literature.

Realising that a map could serve as a reader’s anchor, allowing them to ground themselves in a tale’s sprawling geography, he not only provided a reference tool but also an artefact that enriched the very essence of his story.

Emboldened by this, many a fantasy author soon followed suit.

Gone were the days when readers had to blindly navigate through the treacherous terrains and sprawling cities of fantastical realms.

Now, they could embark on their literary adventures equipped with detailed maps, ready to explore every nook and cranny, from the highest mountain peak to the tiniest hamlet.

Songs and Poetry

Ever found yourself wandering through the lush fields of the Shire, wishing you had a jaunty tune to express your delight? Or perhaps, while skulking in the depths of a dark cave, you’ve felt an inexplicable urge to unravel a riddle?

Well, you’re in good company, for Tolkien too realised that sometimes, the heart’s yearnings and the world’s wonders can’t simply be contained within the bounds of regular sentences. Enter: songs, poems, and riddles.

Now, Tolkien didn’t merely toss these into his tales for a bit of flamboyant flair.

Each song, each poem, each cryptic riddle is a thread woven into the rich tapestry of Middle-earth.

They breathe life into bygone eras, serenade heroes of old, and capture the essence of various races, from the lofty laments of the Elves to the earthy ballads of the Dwarves.

They’re like snapshots, preserving moments and emotions from Middle-earth’s vast chronicles.

Take, for instance, the mournful song of the Ents, lamenting lost Entwives.

In its haunting verses, readers don’t just see the sorrow of ancient tree-herders but also feel the weight of ages gone by.

Or consider Bilbo’s cheeky riddle-game with Gollum; it’s not just a battle of wits but a cultural exchange, giving glimpses into their respective worlds.

Tolkien’s genius lay in recognising that such literary devices could be more than just decorative flourishes.

They could deepen the reader’s immersion, making the world feel ancient and lived-in.

After all, what better way to understand a culture or a people than through their art, their folklore, their songs?

And, as with many of Tolkien’s innovations, this symphony of words didn’t go unnoticed.

Subsequent fantasy authors, inspired by the maestro, began to weave their own anthems, ballads, and enigmas into their narratives.

Realising that these could be conduits to the very soul of their worlds, they embraced this harmonious approach with gusto.

Standard for Trilogies

Picture this: Tolkien, after years of painstaking work, finally hands over his magnum opus, expecting it to be embraced as the singular epic it was intended to be.

Instead, the publishers, probably after a dramatic gulp and a long stare at the sheer bulk of the manuscript, decide, “Let’s slice it into three parts.”

And just like that, instead of one colossal volume of “The Lord of the Rings”, we got a triad: “The Fellowship of the Ring”, “The Two Towers”, and “The Return of the King”.

Now, this wasn’t just a whimsical decision to test the strength of bookshelves worldwide.

In the post-war era, with economic considerations like paper shortages, publishing such a monolithic tome wasn’t just challenging; it was near-impossible.

Splitting the narrative into three distinct parts was a practical solution, and it turned out to be a stroke of unforeseen genius.

This unintentional trilogy inadvertently laid down a blueprint for fantasy literature.

The three-act structure, inherent in most great narratives, found a perfect fit in the trilogy format.

The setup, the confrontation, and the resolution naturally flowed into three separate volumes, each with its own peaks and troughs, yet contributing to a larger, cohesive narrative.

Other fantasy authors took note. Suddenly, trilogies became the order of the day.

They allowed for expansive world-building, intricate character development, and plots that could twist and turn over hundreds of pages before reaching a satisfying climax.

Think about it: how many times have you picked up a promising fantasy book, only to realise it’s the first in a trilogy? That’s Tolkien’s (and his publisher’s) legacy at work.

The split not only benefited Tolkien’s tale, giving readers natural breaks to catch their breaths from all the hobbit-hopping and orc-chopping, but it also reshaped the very structure of epic fantasy.

 Authors and publishers alike recognised the merits of the trilogy format, both in terms of storytelling and, let’s face it, sales.

In the end, “The Lord of the Rings” being carved into thirds was serendipity at its finest.

And the fantasy realm? It found its golden standard in the trilogy.

Influence on Popular Culture

It began with a ring, a rather unassuming bit of gold that unexpectedly embarked on an epic journey. And as that journey unfolded, it didn’t just stay confined to the inked pages of Tolkien’s world.

Like a particularly ambitious hobbit, “The Lord of the Rings” stepped out of its cosy literary Shire and ventured into every nook and cranny of popular culture.

Let’s begin with the most luminous of these footprints: the film adaptations.

Peter Jackson’s cinematic rendition didn’t just give faces to beloved characters—it painted Middle-earth in vivid, breathtaking strokes.

From the serene vistas of Rivendell to the looming menace of Mount Doom, the films captured imaginations and box offices alike.

What’s more, they heralded an era where epic fantasy, once reserved for bookish types whispering about wizards in dimly lit corners, was suddenly front and centre, dazzling audiences in IMAX.

But the silver screen was merely one stop in Middle-earth’s pop culture conquest.

The enchanting realms of Tolkien’s creation morphed into pixelated landscapes in video games, allowing fans to personally duel with Balrogs or, at the very least, engage in a spot of orc-bothering.

Board games saw players strategically navigating the perils of Middle-earth, and if you’ve ever played a tabletop RPG, you’ve Tolkien to thank for those elves, dwarves, and halflings on your character sheets.

Beyond the realms of entertainment, Middle-earth even carved a niche in the very fabric of our real world.

Case in point: New Zealand.

Those once-quiet islands, known for their sheep and rugby, now also stand as the living, breathing embodiment of Tolkien’s landscape.

Tourists, in their droves, descend upon its shores, eager to tread the very ground that Frodo and Sam did (cinematically, at least).

The nation embraced its Middle-earthen identity with arms wide open, showcasing to the world the sheer transformative power of a well-told tale.

“The Lord of the Rings” demonstrated that epic fantasy wasn’t just a niche genre, destined to gather dust on high library shelves.

It could be a cultural powerhouse, influencing entire industries, from cinema to tourism.

It proved that tales of heroism, magic, and Middle-earthen mischief weren’t just for a select few but had a universal appeal, resonating with hearts across the globe.

Tolkien’s Timeless Tapestry

Piecing together threads from ancient myths, age-old legends, and rich literary traditions, Tolkien didn’t merely write a story—he spun a masterpiece.

Each thread, meticulously selected, became part of a grander tapestry, depicting a world as detailed and tangible as our own.

Yes, the myths he drew from were not his invention.

Elves had sung their songs and dwarves had swung their axes long before Bilbo decided adventures weren’t so bad after all.

Yet, Tolkien’s genius lay not in the invention of entirely new threads, but in the way he wove them together.

By infusing his academic expertise with a boundless imagination, he gave these tales a fresh lustre, making them shine in ways they hadn’t before.

The landscapes of Middle-earth, the languages of its races, the trials of its heroes and the depths of its lore are, in themselves, wonders to behold.

But their sum?

It’s magical in the truest sense of the word.

“The Lord of the Rings” is not just a narrative—it’s an experience.

One that invites readers to lose themselves in its pages and then compels them to see the world with renewed wonder.

Fast forward to today, and the echoes of Tolkien’s impact are evident in every corner of popular culture.

Whether it’s an author meticulously crafting their fantasy world, a filmmaker attempting to capture the same lightning in a bottle, or a game designer sculpting realms of adventure—all bear traces of Tolkien’s influence, knowingly or otherwise.

In wrapping up this exploration of Tolkien’s influence, one thing is abundantly clear—his vision of Middle-earth, though rooted in the past, is timeless.

As generations of readers have found, and future generations will surely discover, in the heart of Tolkien’s work lies a universal truth—the power of storytelling to captivate, inspire, and bring a touch of magic to the everyday.

To put it simply, while others have penned tales, Tolkien cast spells.

And the enchantment of Middle-earth? Well, it’s far from wearing off.

10 Modern Fantasy Novels Inspired by The Lord of the Rings

Tolkien’s influence on modern fantasy literature remains unmatched.

Many authors cite Tolkien’s epic tale of hobbits, elves, dwarves and men as a major inspiration for their own fantasy worlds and stories.

Here are 10 modern fantasy novels that show traces of Tolkien’s imaginative genius:

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

 Martin’s gritty, morally ambiguous fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire owes a debt to Tolkien in its sprawling worldbuilding and epic scope.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle centres around Kvothe, a legendary figure with mysterious powers. Echoes of Tolkien’s depiction of wizards like Gandalf can be seen in this fan-favourite fantasy series.

The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

 This action-packed tale follows elite thief Locke Lamora in a city that evokes comparisons to Tolkien’s Minas Tirith. The unlikely hero and meticulous world-building are reminiscent of The Lord of the Rings.

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie

Abercrombie’s gritty First Law trilogy subverts many common fantasy tropes, but its emphasis on flawed heroes and anti-heroes is somewhat Tolkien-esque.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman

Pullman’s acclaimed His Dark Materials trilogy contains many overt references to The Lord of the Rings. From colleges of wizards to speaking animal companions, the influences are clear.

The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett

This debut novel kicked off Brett’s Demon Cycle series about humans battling demonic forces. The unlikely hero trope and focus on apocalyptic stakes are very Tolkien-inspired.

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

Sanderson’s Mistborn books centre around a dark lord ruling over the world, which many view as inspired by Sauron and Mordor from The Lord of the Rings.

The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan

Jordan’s mammoth Wheel of Time saga features Tolkien-style worldbuilding, with similarly sprawling geography and epic magical systems.

Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

Goodkind’s Sword of Truth novels depict an epic struggle to overthrow an evil emperor, not unlike the Dark Lord Sauron. The unlikely hero trope also makes an appearance.

The Dragonbone Chair by Tad Williams

This opening novel in Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn employs many Lord of the Rings elements, from elves and dwarves to a mysterious magical sword.

Discover New Fantasy Worlds: 10 Series Similar to ‘The Wheel of Time

Explore 10 epic fantasy series that match ‘The Wheel of Time’ in scope and complexity. Dive into new worlds rich in character development and intrigue.

If you’re a fan of Robert Jordan’s sprawling masterpiece, ‘The Wheel of Time,’ finding the next big series to sink your teeth into can be quite the task.

But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

We’ve compiled a list of epic fantasy series that share a similar scope, rich world-building, and complex character development.

Here’s your guide to finding the perfect series to embark on next.

1. ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ by George R.R. Martin

Martin’s epic series, ‘A Song of Ice and Fire,’ is an intricate, multi-faceted world with a vast cast of characters. The series, which inspired the ‘Game of Thrones’ TV show, is known for its realistic portrayal of political intrigue and unpredictable plot twists. If you enjoyed the complex character relationships and political manoeuvring in ‘The Wheel of Time,’ this series is a must-read.

2. ‘The Stormlight Archive’ by Brandon Sanderson

Brandon Sanderson, the author who completed ‘The Wheel of Time’ series after Jordan’s untimely passing, has his own epic series: ‘The Stormlight Archive.’ Known for his intricate magic systems and world-building, Sanderson’s series is a treat for any fan of ‘The Wheel of Time.’ It also features strong female characters, echoing the powerful women in Jordan’s series.

3. ‘The Broken Empire’ by Mark Lawrence

Mark Lawrence’s ‘The Broken Empire’ series is a dark, gritty epic fantasy with a morally ambiguous protagonist. It’s a stark contrast to the traditional hero’s journey and provides an intriguing exploration of the darker side of power and ambition.

4. ‘The Malazan Book of The Fallen’ by Steven Erikson

‘The Malazan Book of The Fallen’ by Steven Erikson is notorious for its complex plot and expansive world-building. With a vast array of characters and cultures, it’s a series that requires some dedication but is rewarding for those who appreciate intricate, epic narratives.

5. ‘The Inheritance Trilogy’ by N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin, the first black author to win the Hugo Award for best novel, has a number of epic fantasy series under her belt. ‘The Inheritance Trilogy’ is a blend of political intrigue, personal growth, and divinity, all set in a richly diverse world. Her work is known for its representation of various races and cultures, and it provides fresh perspectives in the epic fantasy genre.

6. ‘The Poppy War’ by R.F. Kuang

‘The Poppy War’ trilogy by R.F. Kuang is an epic fantasy series grounded in the history and culture of 20th-century China. The series’ protagonist, Rin, is a dark-skinned war orphan who battles systemic racism and gender discrimination. Kuang’s exploration of war, religion, and power dynamics, paired with her complex characters, makes this a must-read series.

7. ‘The Books of Pellinor’ by Alison Croggon

‘The Books of Pellinor’ by Alison Croggon is a four-book series that follows the journey of a slave girl who discovers she is the key to overthrowing an evil regime. The series’ complex magic system and rich world-building make it a compelling read for any fan of ‘The Wheel of Time.’

8. ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ by Samantha Shannon

‘The Priory of the Orange Tree’ by Samantha Shannon is a standalone epic fantasy novel, a rarity in the genre. With a matriarchal society, dragons, and a richly built world, it’s a fresh take on epic fantasy. Shannon’s story is a page-turner that’s as intricate as any series, and it’s perfect for those who want a complete story in a single volume.

9. Chronicles of the Black Gate’ by Phil Tucker

Phil Tucker’s ‘Chronicles of the Black Gate’ is an ambitious and riveting series filled with magic, warriors, and gods. It combines high stakes, multidimensional characters, and intense battles that will captivate any fan of ‘The Wheel of Time.’

10. ‘The Riyria Revelations’ by Michael J. Sullivan

Michael J. Sullivan’s ‘The Riyria Revelations’ series is a tale of adventure, friendship, and overcoming odds. With an endearing pair of thieves as its main characters and a world brimming with magic and political intrigue, it’s a series that’s both heartwarming and exciting.

These series all offer something unique for fans of ‘The Wheel of Time.’

Whether it’s the intricate world-building, diverse characters, or complex plots, these books will keep you engaged and entertained.

So, grab a cup of tea, find a comfy chair, and lose yourself in these great titles!

From Drunken Faeries to Lost Ancients: An Exclusive Chat with Marie Andreas

Exclusive insights from fantasy author Marie Andreas. Dive into her creative process, inspirations, and journey through the realms of elves and faeries

In the realm of fantasy, few voices resonate as distinctly as that of Marie Andreas.

With elven artifacts, whimsical drunken faeries, and worlds that captivate the imagination, Andreas has etched a significant mark on the genre.

Today, we peel back the layers of the fantastical, diving deep into the mind of the multi-award-winning SFF author.

What inspired you to start writing in the fantasy genre?

There were stories I wanted to read but weren’t written yet!  I’ve always loved fantasy :).

How do you approach world-building in your stories?

I’m very much a pantser in my writing and that goes for world building. It’s done as I go along (I have a general idea of the world in question, but the rest is SURPRISE!)

Can you walk us through your writing process?

I’m not normal-LOL. Just wanted to get that out first. Something sparks an idea and a character–maybe two. Then I just start writing. Yup- I’m one of those evil pantser’s your teachers warned you about ;).

 I’m a full-time author, so have a set schedule (5 days a week- 4k words daily target) also, I will usually have more than one project at a time. Right now, I’m working on the next book in my second Lost Ancient’s fantasy series as my primary WIP.  However, I’ve also started my third steampunk. So I switch if I get stuck, or just as a brain cleanser.

I re-read what I wrote the prior day before I start that day’s writing. It gets me in the mindspace for that world and catches a few typos.

I go through the book a few times when done, have my group of reader/editors go at it, then a final proof. BOOM! It’s a BOOK!

Would you survive in your own fantasy world?

Probably not–although, I would LOVE being in a world with my drunken faeries–so it would be worth it.

What themes do you explore in your work?

Friendship is probably the biggest. I’m not writing to be deep, I write to escape :).

What do you consider to be your biggest influences as a writer?

Every single fantasy book or movie that I’ve loved.

What do you hope readers take away from your stories?

That they had a great escape from the world, and a sense of my characters being like old friends.  I love it when a reader tells me they re-read the books on a regular basis.

Would you rather have a pet dragon or a unicorn, why?

Can’t I have both?  I have both living happily on my desk…dunno why I can’t have both.  Okay, do NOT tell my Scottish battle-corn, but a dragon. They fly. I really want that.

If you were stuck on a deserted island with one of your characters, who would it be and why?

Taryn.  She’s kinda cool and if she were there, the drunken faeries would show up too ;).

What would you name your pet dragon?


The Glass Gargoyle (The Lost Ancients book 1)

Archeologist Taryn St. Giles has spent her life mining the ruins of the elves who vanished from the Four Kingdoms a thousand years ago. But when her patrons begin disappearing too—and then turning up dead—she finds herself unemployed, restless, and desperate. So she goes looking for other missing things: as a bounty hunter.

Tracking her first fugitive—the distractingly handsome and strangely charming Alric—she unearths a dangerous underworld of warring crime lords, demonic squirrels, and a long-lost elven artifact capable of unleashing a hell on earth.

Chased, robbed, kidnapped, and distressingly low on rent money, Taryn just wants one quiet beer and to catch her fugitive. But there’s more to Alric than his wicked grin—is he a wanted man or the city’s only hope? With menacing mages in pursuit and her three alcoholic faery sidekicks always in her hair, Taryn’s curiosity might finally solve the mystery of the elves… or be the death of her and destroy her world.

About the Author

Marie is a multi-award-winning fantasy and science fiction author with a serious reading addiction. If she wasn’t writing about all the people in her head, she’d be lurking about coffee shops annoying total strangers with her stories. So really, writing is a way of saving the masses. She lives in Southern California and is owned by two very faery-minded cats. She is also a member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association).

When not saving the masses from coffee shop shenanigans, Marie likes to visit the UK and keeps hoping someone will give her a nice summer home in the Forest of Dean or Conwy, Wales.

Find Marie online:



Scott Lynch’s Revolutionary Impact on Fantasy Literature: The Influence of ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’

Exploring Scott Lynch’s monumental impact on modern fantasy literature through his ‘Gentleman Bastard’ series, shaping characters, world-building & narrative style.

Scott Lynch’s tour de force, ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ burst onto the fantasy scene in 2006, marking a significant turning point in the genre’s evolution.

The book, and its subsequent sequels in the ‘Gentleman Bastard’ series, introduced readers to a unique and innovative world of fantasy that has since greatly influenced countless authors and contributed to the development of modern fantasy literature.

The Influence of Lynch’s World-Building

Perhaps the most substantial impact of ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ lies in Lynch’s innovative world-building.

Lynch breathes life into the city of Camorr, imbued with a Renaissance Venice-like setting, complete with a network of canals, grand structures, and a dark underworld.

This type of detailed and vivid cityscape, one that is both fantastical and grounded in historical reality, has inspired subsequent authors to create rich, detailed, and believable fantasy worlds of their own.

The city of Camorr, much like a character itself, is layered, flawed, and complex.

Its distinct districts, culture, social structure, and even food, craft an immersive and palpable atmosphere.

Lynch’s approach to world-building has changed how modern authors perceive and depict their settings, encouraging them to create worlds that extend far beyond generic kingdoms and forests.

The Significance of Realistic Characters

Lynch has also made his mark on the fantasy genre through his complex, flawed, and deeply human characters.

Locke Lamora, the eponymous protagonist, is no stereotypical hero.

Instead, he’s a crafty thief with his own set of morals, which don’t always align with societal expectations.

The novel’s emphasis on character development, relationships, and moral dilemmas has encouraged authors to break away from traditional, archetypical fantasy characters, forging instead more relatable, complex, and morally grey personas.

Further, the use of camaraderie and brotherhood as a central theme adds depth to the narrative.

The characters in ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ are tied together by bonds of friendship and loyalty, rather than destiny or prophecy, which was previously a common trope in fantasy literature.

This has pushed authors (include myself) to explore the themes of loyalty, love, and friendship in more profound and nuanced ways.

The Impact of Lynch’s Narrative Style

Lynch’s narrative style, rich in its use of suspense, humour, and shocking plot twists, represents a departure from the more traditional, linear storytelling techniques previously prevalent in the genre.

This approach adds a level of unpredictability and dynamism to the story, compelling readers to stay engaged and constantly guess what might happen next.

‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ also excels in its fusion of elements from different genres.

The book blends fantasy with crime, mystery, and thriller elements, creating a diverse and captivating narrative.

This cross-genre style has inspired many contemporary authors to experiment with genre boundaries, resulting in a new breed of hybrid fantasy books.

The Legacy of ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’

Lynch’s narrative introduced a vibrant blend of genres and a distinctive approach to character and world-building that many subsequent authors have embraced.

Notably, Michael J. Sullivan’s ‘Riyria Revelations,’ Fonda Lee’s ‘Green Bone Saga,’ and Leigh Bardugo’s ‘Six of Crows’ exhibit the profound influence of Lynch’s work.

‘Riyria Revelations’ and the Bromance Blueprint

One of the distinctive qualities of Lynch’s novel is the comradery and complex relationship between Locke Lamora and his partner-in-crime, Jean Tannen.

The bonds of brotherhood that tie these characters together have created a blueprint for ‘bromance’ that is apparent in Michael J. Sullivan’s ‘Riyria Revelations.’

The protagonists of Sullivan’s series, Royce Melborn and Hadrian Blackwater, mirror the friendship and loyalty seen in ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’.

Sullivan, like Lynch, establishes a balance of humour, camaraderie, and dark pasts in the dynamic between his characters, showing that deep, platonic relationships can serve as a strong backbone for a compelling narrative.

‘Green Bone Saga’ and the Reflection of Realism

Fonda Lee’s ‘Green Bone Saga’ series reflects Lynch’s commitment to grounding a fantasy world in realism.

Much like Camorr, Lee’s city of Janloon is a well-structured, believable world.

Lee’s decision to focus on crime families and their struggles for power within a fantastical setting mirrors the gritty underworld and realistic socio-political structures found in ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora.’

The emphasis on gang wars, politics, and crime within a fantastical setting, strongly resonates with Lynch’s Camorr and the criminal activities of the Gentleman Bastards.

‘Six of Crows’ and the Band of Misfits

Leigh Bardugo’s ‘Six of Crows’ bears the undeniable mark of Scott Lynch’s influence.

Bardugo’s story revolves around a band of misfits who undertake a seemingly impossible heist, much like Locke and his band of thieves.

Kaz Brekker, the leader of the gang in Bardugo’s novel, shares Locke’s cunning and tactical mind, coupled with a moral compass that isn’t always aligned with the law.

Bardugo’s knack for intricate planning, multiple point-of-view storytelling, and the unexpected plot twists strongly echo Lynch’s narrative style, as she takes readers through a thrilling journey full of surprises.

Each of these works, while unique and inventive in their own right, owe a certain level of their approach to the trail blazed by Scott Lynch.

From the strong bonds of friendship, detailed world-building and the intricate blend of crime and fantasy elements, Lynch’s influence is apparent in these modern fantasy sagas.

Lynch’s masterpiece has not only altered the way we perceive fantasy literature but has also served as a stepping stone for other authors to push the boundaries of their own creativity.

As such, ‘The Lies of Locke Lamora’ continues to shape the landscape of fantasy literature through its lasting influence on contemporary works.

Recommended Fantasy Reads for Fans of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard Series”

If you have been captivated by the charm and intrigue of Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series, then you’re likely seeking more fantasy books that echo its rich world-building, morally complex characters, and intricate plots.

Below is a selection of excellent fantasy novels that should satiate your craving for more such fascinating stories.

‘The First Law’ Series by Joe Abercrombie

Joe Abercrombie’s grimdark fantasy series ‘The First Law’ offers a realistic portrayal of a fantastical world, much like Lynch’s Camorr. Its morally grey characters and ruthless political machinations will appeal to fans of Lynch’s dark and complex narratives.

‘The Broken Empire’ Trilogy by Mark Lawrence

This trilogy, starting with ‘Prince of Thorns’, introduces readers to Jorg Ancrath, a character whose morally grey persona echoes that of Locke Lamora. The series is filled with complex characters, clever plots, and a dark, gritty world that fans of Lynch’s work will appreciate.

‘The Powder Mage’ Trilogy by Brian McClellan

Brian McClellan’s series is set in a world transitioning from a monarchy to a republic, and like Lynch’s work, it features a richly detailed world, complicated political intrigue, and characters with dubious morality. Its unique blend of gunpowder-era technology and magic adds a distinctive flair to the narrative.

‘Mistborn’ Series by Brandon Sanderson

For readers who enjoy Lynch’s intricate heists and complex magic system, Sanderson’s ‘Mistborn’ series is an excellent choice. The protagonist, Vin, is a young woman adept at allomancy – a magic system involving the manipulation of metals – and her journey is filled with intriguing twists and turns that will appeal to fans of the Gentleman Bastard series.

‘The Night Angel’ Trilogy by Brent Weeks

A dark, gritty fantasy series about a young street rat who becomes an apprentice to the city’s top assassin. Fans of the ‘Gentleman Bastard’ series will appreciate the dark atmosphere and layered characters.

‘The Dagger and the Coin’ Series by Daniel Abraham

This series stands out for its intricate politics and economics, as well as a diverse cast of characters. Its blend of fantasy and political intrigue is reminiscent of the power struggles in Camorr.

‘Low Town’ Series by Daniel Polansky

This series centres on a former intelligence agent turned drug dealer navigating through the criminal underworld. Its noir style and focus on the seedy underbelly of society will appeal to fans of Scott Lynch.

‘The City of Stairs’ by Robert Jackson Bennett

This standalone novel is renowned for its innovative world-building, something Scott Lynch’s fans would be familiar with. The novel’s main character, a spy tasked with solving a murder in a city where gods once lived, will resonate with fans of complex, morally ambiguous characters.

‘The Gutter Prayer’ by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

This book is the first in ‘The Black Iron Legacy’ series, and it takes readers into a world of gods, monsters, and thieves. Its mix of horror and fantasy elements, along with its rich world-building and focus on the criminal underworld, should appeal to fans of Scott Lynch.

If you enjoy reading about thieves and assassins, you might also enjoy my Dawn of Assassins series.

You can get the prequel novel Birth of Assassins as part of the Ravenglass Universe starter library.  

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