A-Z of fantasy: I is for Imagination

Letter II haven’t come up with many ‘I’ words to do with fantasy, but IMAGINATION must be one of the big ones.

Imagination — the faculty or action of forming new ideas, or images or concepts of external objects not present to the senses.

Fantasy comes in many guises — but no matter whether you’re talking Tolkienesque traditional, gritty grim dark, adventurous epic, contemporary urban or the recent breed of paranormals, the one thing required to enjoy it is an imagination.

When one has an imagination, the most improbable scenarios become possible, even if it’s only in some world, somewhere. It’s one of my favourite things about the genre. As a reader I get transported away to a completely imagined reality. It’s like taking a tour of breathless wonder. (Just remember how many viewers of the movie Avatar wished they could visit Pandora — can you imagine how amazing that would be?)

Building an imaginary world is also one of my favourite things as a writer. I love making up a magic system, figuring out how it works, how it has affected the people living in the world over centuries… How other factors (such as belief systems or environmental factors) have impacted the various cultures…

Even an imaginary world that is derivative of one we’re familiar with (e.g. medieval) demands the imagination of the reader to make it come alive. Especially when the author cunningly tweaks some things to make it different.

Yes. I is definitely for IMAGINATION.

Many fantasy stories also deal with a good dose of INTRIGUE.

Intrigue — A secret or underhand scheme; a plot… strange, unusual, or mysterious…

I can think of several fantasy novels containing significant characters who are spies, thieves and/or assassins… More than several, in fact. It’s rather a popular trope.

As far as characters, authors and books go:

  • INKHEART by Cornelia Funke is a children’s fantasy dealing with a characters who go into (and out of) a storybook. (I’ve only seen the movie.)
  • IMRIEL is one of Jacqueline Carey’s characters in her Kushiel’s Legacy series. He’s a troubled soul, born of a traitorous mother, and is the central character of the latter three in the series of six wonderful books.
  • ISOLFR is the main character of Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear’s A companion to wolves, which I’ve just started reading in the past couple of days…
  • ILYA is one of the main characters in Kate Elliott’s Jaran series. He’s the charismatic leader of a nomadic plains tribe and love interest for main character Tess.

So… over to you. What have I missed? Any other amazing books, authors, characters starting with I? Or iconic (heh) fantasy tropes?

Image: From old books

5 comments

    1. Hi Tami! I dunno about inventions… to me they seem more SciFi or Steampunk-ish… I guess some fantasy would have them, but I don’t feel they epitomise the genre. But that’s just me, I daresay. πŸ˜‰

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