Subgenre Study: High and Low Fantasy

A very interesting look at the differences between high and low fantasy.

Where Landsquid Fear to Tread

Today we will be looking at High and Low Fantasy and the confusion surrounding the terminology.  It has nothing to do with how good the stories are (Eragon, for example, is high fantasy but most would argue not high quality) but, rather, which fantasy tropes they incorporate.

High Fantasy, sometimes called Epic Fantasy, generally encompasses “traditional” fantasy tropes.  It takes place on a made-up, entirely fictional world, and usually incorporates magic and monsters into the plot.  Low Fantasy, on the other hand, takes place in the real world and may be more subtle in its fantastical elements.

Lord of the Rings is the quintessential High Fantasy but, according to some people, so is Harry Potter.  See, High Fantasy breaks down into three subtypes: 1) the completely made-up world, like Middle Earth, 2) the travel from the real world to a fantasy world, like Narnia, and 3) a made-up world within…

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