• Tolkienesque fantasy has become the carbon copy of a carbon copy of a carbon copy ages ago…
    And it becomes even more apparent when people consider that Tolkienesque fantasy tropes aren’t even about “medieval Europe”, they are about a particular English pseudo-medieval world. Fantasy doesn’t do much exploring even beyond the English-speaking world.

    Southern Europe (Italy, France, Spain,…) aren’t even featured much. The landscape may allude to it, but then the same Northern European castles sit on the top of hills, occupied by the same kind of lords that you’d find in other parts of the game map.
    And other parts of the medieval world do not fare much better: Everything around the Mediterranean is reduced to stereotypes or entirely replaced by some fantasy race. Every place outside of Europe/the Mediterranean fares even worse.
    It has no depth, no knowledge of particular local traditions, it is not rooted in any stories, only recalls the same tired tropes that Tolkien established.

    Even inside Europe and around the Mediterranean, the medieval world was very diverse. Every region had its own traditions, stories, clothing, customs and its own mythologies with their own particular kinds of monsters and creatures.
    But you’d not know through most fantasy stories which - no matter the landscape they take place in - it always boils down to a band of adventurers walking into an inn, drinking a beer and paying it with gold coins, before they go off to kill some orcs in the name of some duke. Very little thought is spend on considering if it even makes sense that a place that is akin to - let’s say - Southern France had any of these things.

    When Tolkien wrote LOTR, he based most of it on ancient Germanic stories like “Beowulf”, that there are uncountable other folktales and stories from all over the ancient world which could be chosen as the basis of a fantasy setting instead.

    •  Krik   ( @fraenki@feddit.de ) 
      4 months ago

      It’s so weird that elves are now the good guys. They were actually dream spirits that give you nightmares (engl. nightmare ≫ german Alptraum = elf dream). And no, they weren’t described having otherworldly beauty.

      It’s also believed that nordic elves and dwarfs are the same beings in the Edda. The nordic word for elf is álfr which often is part of dwarf names.