author C.C.Cole's blog

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

On the Economics of Dark Fantasy

"The Hunger Games"

When I read Dark Fantasy epics, I like details that bring an element of everyday life to the story.  Most of us can relate to financial issues.  Money makes the world go around.  People work, steal, lie, die, and kill for money.  Revenge and love are major character triggers, but so is the need of money, be it in dollars, gold, gems, or some form of “fantasy money” like the Angarak gold in the Belgariad series by David Eddings.

When I think of widely read fantasy novels, “Dune” comes to mind as keeping in check the finances of the story.  The Emperor granted the Duke Arrakis but funded the attack by the Harkonnens.  And as all who’ve read the story know all too well:  The spice was the most valuable substance in that society.  Without spice there was no transportation, and we know today if we had no transportation in our world we’d have no society as we live now.

Let’s think about stories that leave out worries about the pocketbook.  In LOTR, Sauron apparently didn’t have a monetary problem; or perhaps he stole it from wherever.  It isn’t really clear, though it’s as much a favorite epic of mine as any other.   Bilbo was a well-to-do Hobbit, and maybe I didn’t read clearly enough as to why the elves had such nice things.  The dwarves dug for their treasure.  To be fair to Tolkien (as he definitely deserves it!), that wasn’t his message in the story.

In the recent hits “Hunger Games” and “A Song of Ice and Fire” the stories kept close to financial lines.  Katniss was from a poor family and after winning the Games she could provide a better life for her family in the beginning of the second book.  In Martin’s books, (“Game of Thrones”), most of the large houses were in the wealthy Lannister’s pocket, suggesting Tywin Lannister “defecated” gold, which was disproven by his son Tyrion, an unpleasant but understandable part of the books.  (I will explain that no further).

Writers, having money isn’t everything, but unlike how they say in football, it isn’t the only thing.  In the creation of worlds, we create societies, families, and hierarchies; fiancés may or may not fit into your story.  It’s hardly a must, but sometimes makes a compelling fit.  Now go write something great and tweet us about it.


  1. Adding money problems to my stories may add a bit too much realism for me lol :)

  2. LOL,it may make horror too horrible! LOL, thanks for commenting.