We're familiar with the medieval fantasy theme of knights in shining armor riding their horses with their lances, broadswords and shields. We're also familiar with the hobbits, elves, orcs, crown-wearing kings and queens with bearded wizards leaning against their magical quarterstaff wearing conical hats and long robes. Well, thanks to Arthurian legends, J.R.R. Tolkien, Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games and books, and more recently, George R.R. Martin, these fantasy images are now etched in popular culture especially to a broader audience beyond books and into television shows and film.
Yet, what about fantasy novels with secondary worlds that do not draw on these medieval Western European or Arthurian images? What about stories and myths that draw on the folklore of the Russian rusalka, the Polish story of Rokita and Boruta, the Middle-Eastern night hag or baxtak, the king of goats or takam, or the myriad of stories from Asia from the Chinese Jade Emperor and superstitions to the Japanese yokai. Well, thanks to the Chicago Public Library, they've compiled a list of 13 fantasy novels that draw on these inspirations here. Let's take a look at what they're about.
Critical Role Dungeon Master and voice actor Matthew Mercer ran a special one-on-one one-hour Dungeons & Dragons adventure for talk-show host Stephen Colbert. He led Colbert, who played Capo, a half-elf bard with a pet bee named Eric, through a special quest to investigate mysterious disappearances in the Menagerie Coast in Wildemount.
The show was part of Red Nose Day 2019 donation run, where donors chose Colbert's character class, his companion, the legendary weapon to be sought and the villain that Colbert's character faced. Colbert has not really played D&D since he was a teen (he's 55 this year), but he recalled his early days including owning a signed copy of the D&D handbook by Gary Gygax.
Watch out Facebook groups, there's a new alpha/beta reader matchmaker in town! Well, that is, if you've written a novel, novella, short story, poem, etc. (either complete or a work-in-progress) and would like to swap reads with a few other like-minded writers/readers. The site itself, CritiqueConnect.com, lets you set up a profile, talk about what projects you would like others to read and how you can be contacted, etc. The key part however is the ability to filter the list of readers and/or writers based on whether they're paid critiques or volunteers. Most of them will eventually come with testimonials and one-word-based ratings of course.
George R. R. Martin has posted a blog entry titled An Ending. It's to cap off more than a decade of his involvement in HBO's Game of Thrones eight season series with show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Apparently, in his blog post, he mentioned that Benioff and Weiss already knew who Jon Snow's mother was when they sat down for lunch/dinner at the LA Palm. Confidential much? Hope the diners seated nearby weren't listening then.
Ahead of the season finale of HBO's Game of Thrones this coming weekend, Nuno Battencourt (Extreme), Tom Morello (Rage against the Machine & Audioslave), Scott Ian (Anthrax), Brad Paisley (singer/songwriter), Dan Weiss (HBO's Game of Thrones' showrunner) and Ramin Djawadi (composer) got together with Fender Custom Shop's made-to-order electric guitars (dubbed House Stark Telecaster, House Lannister Jaguar and House Targaryen Stratocaster) and re-interpreted Djawadi's GoT opening theme. It's actually amazing to watch Djawadi (who also composed for films and TV shows like Pacific Rim, Clash of the Titans, Westworld and Prison Break) shred along with the guitar rock gods.
If you prefer to download this compilation, click here.
There have been several discussions on how long fantasy authors usually take in finishing their sequels after the debut of a series. While authors themselves do not owe their fans a deadline (or an explanation for any delay), fans do grow weary if they wait too long, and well, they just gotta learn to move on with life or read another book instead of waiting or complaining.
There should also be a clear distinction between when an author finishes his or her sequel and when that sequel gets published, as there is still a time gap between those two - so a caveat here is that it may not entirely be the author's fault if the eagerly anticipated book reaches the shelves or your e-store late. However, yes, it is highly likely that the long gap in time is due to the author's turnaround. So what I've done is basically scour the web and put together a sort of reference to some of our favorite fantasy authors and how long each of them took to complete (and publish) sequels to their famous fantasy series.
So some dude who loves to animate called FXitinPost, decided to put some gaming time aside (if he plays games), to recreate the lightsaber duel between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader from Star Wars IV: A New Hope. The seven-minute video, available even in 2160K resolution (if your screen's up for it), is reimagined because the animator wanted to match up the fight sequence to the ones in Empire Strikes Back and subsequently Return of the Jedi and the three prequel films.
With all the hullabaloo over Avengers: Endgame in the cinemas (you did catch it on IMAX right...right?) and the last season of Game of Thrones on television, I thought I just drop a note on this low- (or mid?) budget fantasy horror film called The Head Hunter.
Having seen bigger budget fantasy films like The Lord of the Rings and so-so ones like The Seventh Son, The Head Hunter is a refreshing take on the fantasy genre focusing on just one dude, played by Christopher Rygh. Having lost his daughter to some devilish looking bad guys (and I don't mean this guy, I mean really horrible orc-faced wraith-like zombified meanies), the Head Hunter has to follow his king/lord/whoever's-upstairs' orders to take down one meanie at a time.
UPDATE 3 May 2019: So the Washington Post also has an article ridiculing the battle tactics the living made at Winterfell. No surprises there.
Saw episode 3 from Season 8 of HBO's Game of Thrones and had many concerns with the battle tactics employed by Jon and his band of merry brethren in the defense of Winterfell. Well, if you haven't seen it, best get going before clicking the next link.
The following link is an article from Vox.com where they interview several military experts on what went right (not many), what went wrong (too many) and what went silly (downright slap-in-the-forehead moments) in how the living defended their castle. Seriously, I'm tempted to do a comparison with the Battle of Helm's Deep from The Two Towers. Anyway, the article interviewed Ryan Grauer, an associate professor of international affairs at the University of Pittsburgh, and Mick Cook, an Australian combat veteran who fought in Afghanistan.
About the Creator
Terry Astrial is an alias I'm using for this website & our social media channels (yep, it's not my real name). I'm born & raised in Asia.