J. R Dunsany's On Fairy-Stories

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Fantasy is a unique and fascinating genre in which worlds of the imagination flourish and take life, but what is it that makes this genre so popular? J.R.R. Tolkien wrote an essay called On Fairy-Stories explaining the very topic on which he says that the genre of fantasy is a “natural human activity” (54) it is what the mind does when it is not focused on the physical world, but instead begins to wonder about this or that. It is this wandering of the mind that makes the genre is so appealing to begin with. Tolkien does say, however, there are three things in good fantasy that draw in readers more than other fictions. These traits are Recovery, Escape, and Consolation and together they can be found at in some way in any fantasy, this may…show more content…
In Dunsany’s work, the request of the parliament of the King to find for them a magical ruler is the first thing that shows the reader that this is no ordinary world; the forming of Alveric’s sword of thunder and runes is but another. Magic in any story is like a ray of light through the window of the bland everyday world, but the world of Panem in Collins’ mind has no magic. In Panem is in itself world not that different from one a reader today could see happening but it is not quite real. It is a world where things one knows like plastic surgery and society’s boundaries have become exaggerated and twisted, and if that was not enough to make the reader rethink the universe, the citizens of Panem between the ages of twelve and eighteen are at risk of being forced to fight to the death for the entertainment of the powerful. This idea, along with the inexcusable excess of the Capitol, that allows the readers of The Hunger Games to see the real world differently, and thus cleans that window the same way as Lirazel’s relationship with the Freer may have made someone of Dunsany’s time imagine the real world clergy in a similar situation. It is these things that draw…show more content…
These stories, written more than eighty-five years apart, both hold true to the same qualities Tolkien and readers of fantasy look for because the idea of becoming someone else and leaving behind the pain of reality is not the same as running away. Instead, it can help to find a new outlook in the real world by taking a step back and seeing through the eyes of Lirazel who could not understand what the people of Erl wanted from her, but still tried to fit in for her family or feeling the horror Katniss felt at the brazen waste of the Capitol while she knew people were starving literally to death in her home district. It is these revelations that make it all that much sweeter when the characters get their Eucatastrophe. Fantasy is all in the emotional connection the reader has with the journey the characters are on and the more real the ups and downs they take are the more invested in the illusion one becomes. It is this investment that allows for consolation, escape, and recovery and the cleaner the break between the reality and the fantasy the easier one finds escape. This is the core of the fantasy genre, the idea of forgetting the worries of the real world and immersing into another one. These core ideas Tolkien spoke of in his Fairy-Stories can be found from Dunsany to Collins without a doubt,

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