The Fantasy Genre: Helpful or Not?

harry_potter_kazu_kibuishi

Cover art by Kazu Kibuishi for the 15th anniversary edition of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

In an article published last month in The Telegraph, author Joanna Trollope declares the fantasy genre to be less “helpful” than the classics. I disagree with her assertion but I understand why she finds the fantasy genre to be less helpful than classic novels. A quote by another author, Neil Gaiman, summarizes what I learned from the article:

“Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian “improving” literature. You’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.”

This quote reveals the possible consequences of dragging children away from the fantasy genre. I believe that Trollope means well by wanting children to challenge themselves with classic novels, but forcing children away from the fantasy genre will only hurt them. Readers of all ages, especially children need the fantasy genre to show them that there is so much more to our world than it appears. However, regardless of what children choose to read, is important to encourage them to continue to read.

Yet, I believe that the fantasy genre can facilitate much more imagination and intelligence than classic novels are able to. I believe that the fantasy genre is, in fact, more helpful than the classics. While I love both classic novels and fantasy novels, I find that fantasy novels are much more helpful to me than classics are. To me, they are more relatable and frankly much more interesting.

A fantasy title that has helped me grow and learn is the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. These novels have left such a profound impression upon me and they have become a part of me. They offered me an entire universe to explore and escape to. They have shown me love, hope, and even death. They have done more for me than any other novel of any other genres have.

The fantasy genre is quite commonly dismissed like the way we see in this article, but those who read the genre know that it is so much more than escapism. It allows the reader to see the world in a different way. A quote that exemplifies this is:

“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten” – G.K. Chesterton

This quote is important because it emphasizes the very essence of fairy tales and the fantasy genre as a whole. They inspire and give hope to the reader. They make them believe in not only magic or monsters but in themselves. The fantasy genre provides a whole new world for readers of all ages. Through fantastical lands and creatures, they are exposed to new points of view and experiences that they are not able to gain from any other genre. The fantasy genre is essential for readers because it shows them that there is more to life than their own life.

-Sarah B., 12th grade

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