Fantasy has been a beloved book genre for centuries now. The amount of iconic fantasy books and series is innumerable: from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings series to George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, the list goes on and on. If the lasting impact these works have had on popular culture is anything to go by, it’s safe to say that the fantasy genre holds a special place in many readers’ hearts. This is certainly true for me, so in honor of the Thanksgiving season, here are four reasons why I’m grateful for fantasy.
1. Fantasy is peak escapism.
Fantasy books are the ultimate comfort reads for me. Whenever life gets too overwhelming, the best cure is to dive into another world and get lost in it for a little while. Personally, some of my go-to fantasy books for when I need an escape are The Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and The Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo. The intricate worldbuilding in these books makes their settings feel tangible and true, allowing me to leave behind my worries, if only for an hour or so. I’ll forever be grateful for the reprieve these books have provided me during some of the most stressful times in my life.
2. Fantasy can teach us valuable lessons about the real world.
Although fantasy books often take place in worlds that look very different from our own, they still have a lot to teach us about real life. Middle-grade fantasies such as the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling or the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by Rick Riordan taught me that even the most ordinary of kids can change the world, as well as the value of friendship. Madeline Miller’s Circe taught me how to recognize my own worth and strength as a woman in a male-centric world and the importance of self-love and self-respect. I can’t express how grateful I am to have found books like these at a time when I really needed them; even now, the lessons I learned from them continue to shape my life.
3. Fantasy inspires creativity.
Whenever I read a fantasy novel, I’m always blown away by the immense level of detail the author puts into building the world: the culture, the magic system, the food, the language, and so on. To me, there’s nothing more inspiring than experiencing the product of another writer’s creativity. The awe I feel at reading about a unique and engaging fantasy world motivates me to develop my own story ideas and put them on the page. I owe so much of my artistry to the fantasy authors who have come before me and moved me to exercise my creativity. For this reason, I’m extremely thankful for each and every fantasy book that has ignited a spark of imagination in me, including The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst, and the Engelsfors trilogy by Mats Strandberg and Sara Bergmark Elfgren.
4. Fantasy fosters community.
One of the most valuable gifts the fantasy genre has given me is the connections I’ve formed with fellow book lovers. The dedicated fanbase garnered by many works of fantasy — including V. E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series, the A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas, and Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles series, among many others — is somewhat unique to the genre, and it makes meeting bookish people who share in your love for a particular book or series all that much easier. The only thing better than reading a magnificent book is getting to gush about it with readers who loved it just as much as you did. Thus, I’m eternally thankful for the precious friendships the fantasy genre has allowed me to cultivate.
For more bookish things we’re thankful for, click here.