Chloe Smith Quotes
“Of course, the simpler, more straightforward definitions with which I began this article are still often the easiest rules to isolate the epic fantasy novel from the rest of the herd. In this, as in much of the realm of speculative fiction, Tolkien’s books set the standard and throw a long, long shadow over the entire field (no pun intended!!). Authors who have come after him have to negotiate that legacy, even as they chose different ways to break from his model—-by complicating the moral clarity of their stories’ conflicts, or by letting more speaking roles go to women, to give a couple examples. It is well to remember, though, that important as Tolkien continues to be in defining the genre, he himself was well-acquainted with the traditions of epic poetry and his own books did not spring out of nothing but instead owe a lot to poems like Beowulf.
Ultimately, when we try to settle the question of what counts as epic fantasy, we shouldn’t ask how long the book is, or whether or not it describes heroes joined in massive battles, but rather, in the spirit of the epic tradition, how significant is the change it marks on its world? How big is the scope of its conflict, and how significant the power of its eventual resolution?
- Chloe Smith “What Makes 'Epic Fantasy' epic?”