View Full Version : Why medieval times?
May 21st, 2002, 10:25 PM
It seems that most fantasy stories on this site and just about every fantasy novel ever published ( I know there are exceptions but i'm generalising) is set in medieval Europe or something that strongly resembles it. Why? There are so many other times it that could easily be used as a setting, I've always liked the idea of cultures based on those of ancient Greece and Carthage. Or even set during medieval asia. Is it just that less is known about these time periods or is there another more sinister reason? (possibly involving Bill Gates, R Jordan and GRRM?)
May 22nd, 2002, 02:28 AM
It seems to me that fantasy stories are told in Medieval times because so little is known about it. If a story is set in Greece or Carthage, we know so much more about their cultures and history that to write a story about that place you have to adhere to the imbedded rules of that place. With Medieval times there is so much more room for expansion.
Also, people tend to think of Magic as being in a time when science is not predominent. The Medieval times fits this profile perfectly, but thats just my humble opinion. Hope I helped give you a little insight.
May 22nd, 2002, 03:32 AM
An era with swords and kings is not always medieval. An era with Church, Iquisition, Pope, and the burning of witches is medieval. It's just usually said that fantasy is set in the Middle-Ages, but it's in truth a mythic era.
May 22nd, 2002, 04:27 AM
I think most here would agree that the 'middle-ages' of europe is the setting for much fantasy these days. But it seems to work.
If your looking for a break from the 'same old' there are some wonderful books writen in the Druid culture. Specificaly I think there is a book called DRUIDS, by Morgan Llywelyn. I read it a long time ago, but there was much that stuck with me. I know I've read a few other books where the characters were Druid...(My name, Silas, was the name of a Druid god who, surprise surprise, had power over trees-I started reading a little along those lines) But Llywelyn's book stuck with me through the years.
It's a familiar story set in a slightly different setting(what some would call a Twist) There are some great characters, and in the few hundred pages the reader becomes involved enough to feel it when some die, and cheer for their successes. I'd recomend it for a nice weekend book.
But when you look at the Druids they are an ideal culture. Inherent magic which is common in daily life, a mysterious private alphabet, a holistic lifestyle in a non-industrialized world, the common understanding of the Celts is so generalized and spotty that you can make it fit to just about any "Fantasy" plot line you like... Go ask your neighbor what the major governing structure was for the Druids - chances are he won't have any idea what your talking about, and try to correct you when you pronounce Celtics with a hard 'C'
Then again there are plenty of Druid influences in current writing. Ex: The Frog People of GRRM. There are many books which use Runes, etc.
Like I said, just suggesting a brake from the 'same old'
-Silas <-non-practicing Druid God of Trees, or something like that 8}
May 22nd, 2002, 07:02 PM
It does not always have to be the case... one of my favourite books, Clive Barker's Weaveworld is set in modern Liverpool... yet it is a fantasy book. You could not imagine a less 'Fantasylike' setting (no offence meant to Liverpudlians), but this book does work.
He has other books in the same vein... The Great and Secret Show, Cabal and the Damnation game, although I admit... there are elements of the Horror genre in these books as well.
June 3rd, 2002, 04:11 PM
Though I despise the name like the plague. Terry Brooks is a part of a fairly recent breed of writers that have taken up the genre Urban Fantasy. This departs from the traditional middle-ages setting. Even though I don't really enjoy it, it seems to catch the attention of a lot of people.
June 5th, 2002, 01:30 AM
Like i said before i think a fantasy industrial era book would be wonderful
Basically though everything after the industrial age is so well documented that their is little doubt that magic doesnt exist really (we assume).
June 5th, 2002, 01:48 AM
Check out Michael Swanwick's The Iron Dragon's Daughter for industrial-age fantasy. Likewise, China Mielville's Perdido Street Station.
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