Since "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy became a huge blockbuster hit, sales of epic fantasy stories, or also known as high fantasy stories, have tremendously risen. People with disperse backgrounds and interests, who have left the world of fairy tales to move to the real one a long time ago, found themselves visiting their local bookstores or ordering online the masterpieces of JRR Tolkien, among other epic fantasy writers. Those who visualized how Frodo looked like prior to the release of the first of the trilogy films were annoyed with the hysteric reaction of the vast public. For them, epics or high fantasy stories are part of a literature world that one has to be induced and explore in detail and should not be seen as an opportunity to buy another trendy book to place on a coffee table. Whether you consider yourself to be an epic fantasy story expert or amateur, it would be interesting to know what epic fantasy stories are and be able to answer one of those "Trivial" game questions with confidence.
Although the definition of Epic Fantasy is still a subject of debate among fans, critics, and scholars, it is rather challenging for a researcher to come up with a single definition that includes all the necessary meanings the words epic and fantasy convey. One of the most descriptive definitions found, stated that "Epic Fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy and very similar to high-fantasy where a seemingly average person undergoes many trials and ordeals which develop he or she into a hero capable of feats needed to thwart challenges Of an epic scale. The story takes place in an imaginative world and often the setting is medieval in nature, complete with swords, castles, strange creatures and a magical system. " What one can understand from the above definition is that the epic story of hero is not born as such, but life's events and misfortunes mold him or her to one, as the obstacles are surpassed and he or she contributions to the solution of at least one major Problem.
To better understand epic fantasy literature, one should attempt to examine the etymological meaning of the two Greek words used in order to categorize it. "Epic" and "fantasy" convey different meanings and if examined as two components of a story that are linked to create an "unbreakable" sequel, the reader can realize that they were selected exactly because they serve more than one purpose. Specifically, "epic" has two components; Heroic and vast. In an epic story one can find a hero or one that performs heroic feats, while the setting of the story is vast in scope. Often an epic describes a whole world in which the hero interactions with others and manages to accomplish the impossible deed vested him or her. On the other hand, fantasy is defined as creative imagination and is characterized by highly fanciful or supernatural events. If the two words are combined, one realizes that the epic fantasy story is a sequence of events based on the writers creative imagination that portrays a hero's feats that take place on an epic scale and have tremendous consequences to others.
According to Joseph Cambell, in his work "The Hero's Journey," one of the most important aspects of epic fantasy stories is the development of the main character from an "average person" to a "hero." The steps that he identifies are simple and easily found in any epic fantasy story. First, the main character has to be called to undertake a journey during which he or she is aided by a guide or a mentor that has supernatural powers and as the story develops the "average person" is transformed through a series of tasks and ordeals to A hero. Sounds familiar? Perhaps now you can picture yourself as that "hero" and your everyday life seems not that "real" anymore!