10 Ways Epic Fantasy Clashes with Reality

A Kiss for Luck, Art of Lying, Author, Isa McLaren -

10 Ways Epic Fantasy Clashes with Reality

1. There are no dragons in real life.

  • Imagine being able to ride a dragon. ‘Fess up. You know you’ve wanted to since you first read Dragonriders of Pern. Or The Hobbit. Or Eragon. Or any of a zillion others. Soaring above the clouds, taking that deep dive until the tips of the dragon’s wings brush across a lake, roasting the castle of that dude who uses his string trimmer at 7am on Saturdays.
  • Imagine your commute to work with dragons. Bumper to bumper traffic, filled with bad drivers, and vehicles that spout fire at each other when cut off. Road rage? More like Road Rampage.


2. Fantasy landscapes are always perfect.

  • The world is covered in verdant green fields, pure-white mountain tops, and sapphire-blue lakes that are smooth as glass. Trees tower to the heavens. Stars twinkle in a jet-black sky. Waterfalls always disguise a hidden cave.
  • Litter dots the always-dying grass on highway medians. Sprawling shopping centers form islands bounded by oceans of asphalt. Concrete buildings tower to the heights of greed. Traffic lights and neon signs and TV screens flood the world with light, blotting out the twinkling stars. 
  • Sometimes, just sometimes, there is an overlap. That one house with the haphazard, constantly-blooming garden and smells of baking that filter out and woodland creatures that visit. Or that one village that’s been scorched by a dragon who was cut off in traffic.

3. Real life doesn’t have magic.

  • A tracking spell would find your keys.
  • The power to move objects with your mind means you’d always have the remote and snacks. Especially if you’ve already tucked a blanket around your feet and smooshed the pillows to the exact right position.
  • Conjuring a gust of wind would come in handy when that old lady blocks the aisle at the grocery store.
  • Astral projection lets you see the world without suffering through coach class.
  • Never-empty tankard of beer.

4. Helpful sidekicks

  • Woodland creatures often talk. They will offer directions, fetch that pumpkin you need, and clean the house.
  • Your roommate communicates in grunts, doesn’t have a car, and his dishes have grown a mold that will soon acquire sentience. 

5. Chosen One? More like Chosen Dozens 

  • The prophecy has come to pass.
  • I am the Chosen One.
  • She bears the mark!
  • You and none other are the true-born king of this land.
  • There can be only one.
  • Into every generation, a Slayer is born.
  • Mary didn’t show up so we decided she has to bring the cookies to the next PTA meeting.

6. Fantasy never has a guy named Bob. 

  • Don’t get me started on the use of apostrophes in fantasy.

7. Taverns are not the same as bars. 

  • A tavern always has a hooded figure who keeps to himself in a shadowy corner. If approached by either a group of adventurers or a Chosen One, he tells of a quest that rewards the valiant with riches, fame, and power. Or death by dragon.
  • A bar often has a guy in the back corner, sitting alone as he peels another label from his beer bottle. He can offer a job, but you’ll have to pay him.
  • In a tavern, wench is a job title.
  • In a bar, they’re servers and keep your damn hands off.
  • A tavern offers a locally-brewed stout that will grow hair on your chest whether you want it to or not. Might also make smoke come out of your ears.
  • A bar has IPAs brewed in New Jersey.

8. Fantasy has epic quests

  • If the local tavern isn’t your preferred go-to, the king can be a good source for quests.
  • The district manager’s quests usually involve that sales report he wanted last Friday.
  • Finding an artifact while plowing usually leads to a quest.
  • Searching for your keys does not count as a quest.
  • There’s always a chance a wizard will show up on your doorstep.
  • You’re out of coffee and hot pockets. And it’s 5:00 on a Friday. With double-value coupons at the grocery store.

9. Secret Heir to the Throne

  • May or may not be a Chosen One but a fortune is always involved.
  • A Nigerian prince will pay you a large sum to help him flee the country. He just needs your bank account number for direct deposit.

10. There was no pizza in Lord of the Rings

  • Picture the Fellowship as a bunch of stoners. "Duuuude. Like, we should toooootally take this ring to Mordor. Pass me a slice, man."
  • *inhales* "You've got my axe."  *exhales* "Give it the fuck back."
  • Dragons get to pick the pizza toppings, even if it involves pineapple.

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