|"Game of Thrones"|
All of that write or read Dark Fantasy await the conflict in the story, which most of the time is war. A King is either threatened or is claiming his ruler to bring peace by benevolent or malevolent law and order. Most dark fantasy has “good” and “bad” sides, and sometimes huge epics develop a large number of characters revealing that good and evil is not always purity.
As the tension mounts up in Dark Fantasy, readers await the battles. Minas Tirith in LOTR for the prototype, to the Blackwater Battle in “Game of Thrones.” Whatever it’s over, wherever it is; sea, land, air, all of the above, magic and brute steel, we read up to the battle as the climax of the story. We look for ingenuity in the writer for battle strategy, intelligence, weaponry, and use of archers, fire, and soldiers.
Why are we Dark Fantasy readers so into battles? What is it about the clash of enemies on a grand scale with the mothers and children hiding while swords and shields clash outside a wall, with all of the blood, fear, and courage it goes with. Maiming by cuts, blunt trauma, fire, or arrows barely breaches the surface of the horrors of medieval war. With so much intense violence of war, why is it used so much in Dark Fantasy?
Answer: To me, the cost of war stands out very powerful in our minds. It doesn’t take a Dark Fantasy reader to understand what we know in history and in current events. War is a hell on Earth, we readers and writers understand it, we respect it and we writers use it in our stories. Battles create tension in stories and the outcome brings out emotion. Change is almost inevitable following war, regardless of outcome. Writers use the outcomes for protagonist/antagonist ends.
Does Dark Fantasy war make war more of a “fantasy?” Not to me. I think of it as a reminder. Those of us that write fiction take our stories from research, experience, and imagination. The biggest driver of fiction is non-fiction. We write bravery and tyranny, with the realization that such horrors have and do exist in reality.
When I see epic fictional battles, I do get reeled in with the tension of good versus evil. As readers and writers, unless we’ve experienced war, our imagination is what we’re left with. That’s not much compared to the real thing.