Inside the Theme: Woodland Fantasy

//Inside the Theme: Woodland Fantasy

Inside the Theme: Woodland Fantasy

This month is all about fantasy, from the halls of Hogwarts to the moorlands of Middle Earth to the northern Wall of Westeros. Elves, fairies, dragons, the whole lot, get our imaginations soaring into uncharted waters and worlds that we walk only inside our own minds but are still rich in history, geography, and culture. From urban settings to classic medieval fare, we love it all. Fantasy is a pretty huge genre, though, so let’s delve a little deeper! We want to know about your favorite fantastical stories, what magical pet you would choose, and your RPG playing style.

Each month we ask 5 hard-hitting questions as we go Inside the Theme. Play along on the forums!

  • What is your favorite fantasy story, and what’s so great about it?
  • What was your first experience with fantasy?
  • Modern technology allows fantasy stories to be told in a variety of different mediums now; do you prefer diving into a good old fashioned book, reading a colorful comic, yelling at your videogames while bathing in the blood of your virtual enemies, or snacking on all the popcorns in front of your TV or at the movies? (Listening to troubadours performing the ballad of Beowulf is also a totally valid choice.)
  • Pets are a very popular choice in fantasy. Because pets are awesome. Which magical pet would you most like to adopt? (You can either go with a kind of creature, or a specific pet from a specific story you wouldn’t mind moving in with you – because let’s face it, we all want Toothless as a bestie.)
  • Your RPG play style: alignment, faction, race, and class. Do you play tabletop style or in a digital medium?

JoannaInsideTheThemeMay

What is your favorite fantasy story, and what’s so great about it?
The Lord of the Rings! And do I really need to tell you what’s so great about it? It is essentially the Grand Master Source for all modern fantasy stories, setting many of the tropes and traditions that everything since then utilizes. It borrows heavily from older mythology, has extensive linguistic diversity (seriously, he made up a ton of languages for the series), and has a full historical/epic saga supplemental text in the form of The Silmarillion, in case you ever wondered where all of those rings of power came from, or why Gandalf can battle a Balrog. Oh yes.

What was your first experience with fantasy?
My earliest memory of a fantasy story is The Chronicles of Narnia. My dad read them to me when I was 3 years old, one chapter a night at bedtime, over the course of a year. When I was 4 and we were done reading them, I stubbornly wanted to read them for myself and so learned to read so I could go to Narnia any time I wanted.

Modern technology allows fantasy stories to be told in a variety of different mediums now; do you prefer diving into a good old fashioned book, reading a colorful comic, yelling at your videogames while bathing in the blood of your virtual enemies, or snacking on all the popcorns in front of your TV or at the movies? (Listening to troubadours performing the ballad of Beowulf is also a totally valid choice.)
All of the above? I love a good book, but my reading varies from mystery to thriller to science fiction and so on, with a heavy emphasis on young adult novels, though I do always love a well built fantasy world. My favorite video games have all been fantasy (Baldur’s Gate, Fable, KotOR). And I’ll go see most any film with a healthy dose of magic in it! I maaaaay have seen Fellowship of the Ring eight times in theaters when it first came out…..

Pets are a very popular choice in fantasy. Because pets are awesome. Which magical pet would you most like to adopt? (You can either go with a kind of creature, or a specific pet from a specific story you wouldn’t mind moving in with you – because let’s face it, we all want Toothless as a bestie.)
This is a hard choice for me because it’s something I’ve given a great deal of thought to and can’t pull away from the practical difficulties involved with most fantasy creatures. Sure a dragon would be fun, but where would you put it? And can we talk about how expensive it would be to feed one? No, I want something small and intelligent, that could go places with me but not take up too much space. Like a bird or a small rodenty thing. Or a puppy sized elephant.

Your RPG play style: alignment, faction, race, and class. Do you play tabletop style or in a digital medium?
I’m a chaotic good, roguey bard that worries the snot out of GMs. Probably human but often leaning toward halfling, and I’ve been known to play a 7 foot tall satyr as well. I roll dice, but I also like to play online in various forms.

 

StewieInsideTheThemeMay

What is your favorite fantasy story, and what’s so great about it?
I am going to go with Harry Potter. This is a world I would love to get lost in. I was already a nerd for school supply shopping as a youngster, but I couldn’t even imagine going school supply shopping for cauldrons and wands in Diagon Alley! The Harry Potter universe is enchanting, mystical, and totally epic. You’d find me joking around with the rest of the Hufflepuffs and having afternoon scones with Luna Lovegood.

What was your first experience with fantasy?
This may not strike people as quite as nerdy as expected, but I would argue that Winnie the Pooh is definitely fantasy, and was my first fantasy experience. When we play pretend as children (and adults) we truly believe the experiences we’re having, and Christopher Robin had lots of fun forest adventures with his talking animal friends. Talking animals are the greatest of all animals, clearly. Plus, Pooh bear is just so cute. Reading these books and watching the movies made me long to spend time in the woods with my stuffed animals, imagining they would come to life, and then living forever, happy ever after, in the 100 Acre Wood among my friends.

Modern technology allows fantasy stories to be told in a variety of different mediums now; do you prefer diving into a good old fashioned book, reading a colorful comic, yelling at your videogames while bathing in the blood of your virtual enemies, or snacking on all the popcorns in front of your TV or at the movies? (Listening to troubadours performing the ballad of Beowulf is also a totally valid choice.)
I’ve become a slave to modern technology (and the CG has just gotten SO good). You will find me in a dark theatre, with some buttery popcorn, and my midnight-premier costume, surrounded by fellow geeks who are dressed up and as immersed in the fantasy world as I am! I love social nerdy experiences like that!

Pets are a very popular choice in fantasy. Because pets are awesome. Which magical pet would you most like to adopt? (You can either go with a kind of creature, or a specific pet from a specific story you wouldn’t mind moving in with you – because let’s face it, we all want Toothless as a bestie.)
The Harry Potter books caused me to fall helplessly in love with Buckbeak. I would take a hippogriff over any other creature any day. Plus I would totally ride him to work!

Your RPG play style: alignment, faction, race, and class. Do you play tabletop style or in a digital medium?
Totally chaotic good. You just never know when you’re gonna need to go all Robin Hood on the law and help out those in need! My favorite D&D race has and will always be gnomes. I love playing a good old fashioned tabletop dice game with good friends. Some of my favorites I’ve played include classic Dungeons and Dragons, 7th Sea, and the Star Wars Role-Playing Game.

 

SummerInsideTheThemeMay

What is your favorite fantasy story, and what’s so great about it?
Growing up, I read a lot of YA fantasy series. One of my favorite series was the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede. I loved it because it subverted a lot of “typical” fantasy tropes. The first book starts with a princess who’s run away to be held captive by dragons on purpose and she gets frustrated with all the knights & princes who try to come rescue her.

What was your first experience with fantasy?
Probably The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I’m still madly in love with the Narnia books. Also, I had some computer game where you were a knight and you had to go through the castle and fight these worm-like creatures, and solve math problems? Maybe it was reading? You had to get keys and collect armor. Maybe it was just puzzles… I was like six y/o, but I LOVED that game. If anyone can remember the name, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

Modern technology allows fantasy stories to be told in a variety of different mediums now; do you prefer diving into a good old fashioned book, reading a colorful comic, yelling at your videogames while bathing in the blood of your virtual enemies, or snacking on all the popcorns in front of your TV or at the movies? (Listening to troubadours performing the ballad of Beowulf is also a totally valid choice.)
…All of the above? Books are still amazing and wonderful, but I’m also obsessed with fantasy video games! Skyrim is still my current jam, but I really want to play some Dragon Age. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE what’s going on with fantasy comics right now. Monstress, Autumnlands, Mouse Guard, Toil & Trouble, Spera! There are some great fantasy things out there!

Pets are a very popular choice in fantasy. Because pets are awesome. Which magical pet would you most like to adopt? (You can either go with a kind of creature, or a specific pet from a specific story you wouldn’t mind moving in with you – because let’s face it, we all want Toothless as a bestie.)
AIR. BISON. I would like a flying bison from Avatar, please & thank you. I’d also settle for a cat, cause… cats.

Your RPG play style: alignment, faction, race, and class. Do you play tabletop style or in a digital medium?
I’m typically neutral good. Typically human, often a ranger or fighter. I’m kind of just playing myself. And I’m basically living my life as the unassuming archer/swordfighter/sweet talker I want to RPG as… I think I’m either doing this very wrong or very right. I do love Skyrim and games like that, but I’m trying to get more into tabletop. I’m super into the story telling, but I get very bored by the number crunching. Need to have the right DM. And Joanna. She’s not joking about scaring DMs, but she’s a HOOT to play D&D with.

 

JenInsideTheThemeMay

What is your favorite fantasy story, and what’s so great about it?
Harry Potter. I absolutely love the world of Harry Potter. Reading the books introduced me to a magical world where I could get lost for hours reading. There’s nothing bad about the Harry Potter universe, it’s all fascinating.

What was your first experience with fantasy?
Probably the The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe BBC miniseries. I remember watching it in elementary school and as soon as that wardrobe was opened and the world of Narnia was introduced I was sucked in.

Modern technology allows fantasy stories to be told in a variety of different mediums now; do you prefer diving into a good old fashioned book, reading a colorful comic, yelling at your videogames while bathing in the blood of your virtual enemies, or snacking on all the popcorns in front of your TV or at the movies? (Listening to troubadours performing the ballad of Beowulf is also a totally valid choice.)
For fantasy stories I prefer to read them. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the Lord of the Ring and Harry Potter movies. But the books can describe incredible, unbelievable, magical, and fantasy-filled worlds. As incredible as the movies are, they don’t compare to the world the book creates in my mind.

Pets are a very popular choice in fantasy. Because pets are awesome. Which magical pet would you most like to adopt? (You can either go with a kind of creature, or a specific pet from a specific story you wouldn’t mind moving in with you – because let’s face it, we all want Toothless as a bestie.)
Definitely Toothless. He absolutely melted my heart in the How To Train Your Dragon movies.

 

ToastyInsideTheThemeMay

What is your favorite fantasy story, and what’s so great about it?
Okay so I’m a huge fan of the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. Such an amazing world, awesome characters, beautiful imagery, and fantastic action. I also am a fan of the Codex Alera series by Jim Butcher! And The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss! The Redwall series because ermahgerd, and I can’t forget the The Stormlight Archive. Wait, we were supposed to pick one? It’s hard to choose!

What was your first experience with fantasy?
When I was young, we had a miniature library in our house wall-to-wall filled with bookshelves, and my mom would stock it with books she found at garage sales. I think the first fantasy book I remember reading was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. It really jumpstarted my interest and curiosity in the fantasy genre.

Modern technology allows fantasy stories to be told in a variety of different mediums now; do you prefer diving into a good old fashioned book, reading a colorful comic, yelling at your videogames while bathing in the blood of your virtual enemies, or snacking on all the popcorns in front of your TV or at the movies? (Listening to troubadours performing the ballad of Beowulf is also a totally valid choice.)
I think my fantasy vehicle of choice is the book. I love long form epic fantasy, and there’s really nothing like a nice, long book to really dig into a world and characters and their adventures.

Pets are a very popular choice in fantasy. Because pets are awesome. Which magical pet would you most like to adopt? (You can either go with a kind of creature, or a specific pet from a specific story you wouldn’t mind moving in with you – because let’s face it, we all want Toothless as a bestie.)
My first thought is dragon, but imagine cleaning up after them. Gross. A hippogryph would be nice, though!

Your RPG play style: alignment, faction, race, and class. Do you play tabletop style or in a digital medium?
Most of the RPGs I play are video game related. I usually play on the good side, and I usually go for races that are animals, if available. (Resident staff furry, that’s me!) I also usually play a magic or healer class because I don’t like close quarters combat and I like to be able to heal myself in others. The one time I played D&D I loved it, but haven’t been able to find a local group to play with.

 

RosaInsideTheThemeMay

What is your favorite fantasy story, and what’s so great about it?
Oh, man. Epic/high fantasy is my life. Which means that I could gush about amazing fantasy stories for days. But to stick to a few favorites; Scott Lynch’ Gentleman Bastard sequence for laughs and lovable characters and whatever the book equivalent of the wildest ride on Earth is, Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings for atmospheric settings and amazing character building and all the feels, Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicle for beautiful prose and cleverly hidden clues and an enormous inherent love for storytelling of any kind, and George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire for a ridiculously rich world building and masterfully crafted storylines that are beautifully and poetically weaved together to one big colorful fantasy tapestry unlike any other.

What was your first experience with fantasy?
I am a Dane, and so I grew up with the stories from Norse Mythology and old folklore before even being introduced to fantastical novels. Did you know that much of the Lord of the Rings was based on Nordic folklore and mythology? Well, now you do. And since so much fantasy have since been based on LotR, fantasy worlds always just feel like Home to me. I cannot find a word to better describe it than that.

Modern technology allows fantasy stories to be told in a variety of different mediums now; do you prefer diving into a good old fashioned book, reading a colorful comic, yelling at your videogames while bathing in the blood of your virtual enemies, or snacking on all the popcorns in front of your TV or at the movies? (Listening to troubadours performing the ballad of Beowulf is also a totally valid choice.)
Definitely books all the way for me. Unless it’s BBC’s Merlin or Lord of the Rings – I can watch those all day, every day. Also, I know I added that troubadour option as a joke, but eh, I have a thing for troubadours, okay? (I also have a dream to become a troubadour, so there’s that.)

Pets are a very popular choice in fantasy. Because pets are awesome. Which magical pet would you most like to adopt? (You can either go with a kind of creature, or a specific pet from a specific story you wouldn’t mind moving in with you – because let’s face it, we all want Toothless as a bestie.)
I would love to have a dragon, but like Joanna and Toasty, I am slightly worried about the high maintenance. So I might just go with a bird instead that I share a magic bond with, so that we can have enlightening conversations, and it can lend me its eyes every once in a while (not literally, though, because ew).

Your RPG play style: alignment, faction, race, and class. Do you play tabletop style or in a digital medium?
I’ve never actually played any kind of RPG, but joining a Tabletop RPG Campaign is possibly my biggest dream in life. (After becoming a troubadour, of course.)


Remember to join in the fun by checking out the “Inside the Theme” forum to contribute your own answers to these burning questions! Feel free to post them as a comment on the forum, or on your own blog! Use #InsideTheTheme to share your posts and answers on social media!

By |2016-05-10T16:30:24+00:00May 10th, 2016|Inside The Theme|3 Comments

About the Author:

Rosa likes gingerbread, fantasy books and sweater weather. She is a Ravenclaw, but secretly wishes she was a Hufflepuff, because yellow and badgers and kitchen proximity. You should probably find her on Twitter @RosaSagas.