When I DO Like Fantasy

The first thing that comes to my mind upon hearing “fantasy fiction” is a medieval setting. Knights and dragons, sorcerers and quests. Unreadable names for every castle, dell, and hero. How annoying. I like to use basic phonics and sound out unfamiliar names. But with all those Welsh spellings? Forget it!

I realize there is far more to fantasy fiction than settings based on the Middle Ages in western civilization. Maybe Tolkien started the entire sub-genre with his Lord of the Rings trilogy. I have finally realized that Tolkien and Lewis weren’t the only authors to use fantasy as a vehicle to present Christian truth.

Take Lloyd Alexander (1924-2007). An American author, he found his niche in the 1960’s writing children’s fantasy. In 1969, he won the Newbery Award for The High King. Having spent his army years during World War Two in Wales, he gained first-hand experience in medieval geography. Yeah, there are a lot of Welsh names in his books. I wish I had known about his pronunciation guide, a separate book published in 1999.

Since I didn’t like fantasy, I never read much of it, so I only recently discovered his five part series, The Chronicles of Prydain. I had scanned The High King, the final book in the series, and was impressed with the deep philosophies analyzing good and evil which he wrote in such a way that children can understand.

Chronicles of Prydain

Until I have read them all, I don’t want to comment further on whether this could be considered Christian fiction, but I don’t mind if you spoil it for me and make your own comments.

Ideas introduced in the first novel, The Book of Three, figure prominently at the end of The High King, so I expect to have the total satisfaction of seeing the story come full circle, every loose end neatly tied to another.

I have read voraciously from kindergarten on, but the older I get, the more I realize how many books I’ve missed out on. While I’ll never live long enough to read all that I would desire, I want my tablet to be filled with so many books to read that the number of titles could rival Santa’s Naughty and Nice List!

What other inspirational fantasy fiction would you recommend to me? Especially in children’s literature?

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10 thoughts on “When I DO Like Fantasy

  1. I haven’t read The Chronicles of Prydain yet but I did get the audio books from the library and my husband recently finished them. He enjoyed them. Children’s Inspirational fantasy? I only knew of a handful growing up, other than the Narnia books, which I why I somehow missed The Chronicles of Prydain. Hind’s Feet on High Places (that counts, right? It did in my world.). The Seven Sleeper books? I liked them although one in particular struck me as a LOTR rip-off. There was a series about kids who go to another world and a dark tower but I don’t remember the title or if I read more than the first book. And there was another a Sunday School teacher was reading aloud and never finished – very middle-ages-type fantasy in the woods, maybe a carnival/gypsies and a Jesus/king character? Someday I’ll figure out what those two series were…

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    • I found the tower series (that was easy!) The Archives of Anthropos series by John White. I think the only one I ever read was The Tower of Geburah. But I barely remember the book at all so I can’t say if it was any good or not.

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    • I forgot all about the Seven Sleepers! I read them all, and by the end I was kind of tired, but the quest to reach each sleeper kept me going.
      Hinds Feet is an allegory, (I guess allegory is a type of fantasy),and I like it even more than Pilgrim’s Progress. Hurnard has a follow-up to Hinds Feet titled, Mountains of Spices. Both books have been spiritual lifesavers when I’ve traveled some deep valleys. I’ll add Archives of Anthropos to my “To Read” list! Thank you.

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      • I liked Mountains of Spices. It wasn’t nearly as amazing as Hind’s Feet but I’m always a sucker for the bad guy transforming (Edmund, Eustace, etc.) so Craven Fear becoming Fearless Witness made me happy.

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  2. I think Diana Wynne Jones’ Chrestomanci series, Howl’s Moving Castle series and Dark Lord of Derkholm/Year of the Griffin are brilliant. I also enjoyed Susan Cooper’s Dark is Rising series (begins with Over Sea, Under Stone). I enjoyed The Hounds of the Morrigan by Pat O’Shea and The Owl Service by Alan Garner. But Chrestomanci is my big favourite.

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  3. I’m not sure why I’m seeing this so late, but I loved this series as an elementary school kid. I reread the Book of Three in the last 10 years or so and wasn’t as impressed, but I remember these books quite fondly. 🙂 Did you finish reading them?

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