Mythic Fantasy

A lot of people confuse this subgenre with fairy tales. See, mythic fantasy uses characters and heroes and themes from myths and legends as a base for a fantasy story. Think of all the various Arthurian (King Arthur, Lancelot, Gwynevere, the Holy Grail) stories you’ve seen movies and series of, think of the comic books that borrow from Norse Mythology (Odin, Loki, Thor, Valkyries and the like). This subgenre is quite prolific. Back to the confusion between fairy tales and mythic fantasy – depending on how you look at it, the confusion is actually totally understandable. Some fairy tales (those with actual fairies and elves) use elements from Irish and European mythology.

One thing that originally set these stories apart was that mythic fantasy really targeted a teenage to adult audience (as opposed to children). Though, admittedly, the line is blurring more and more. Mythic fantasy also tends to be more on a more epic scale – you know, gods and kings making and breaking the world.

I’ve encountered a lot of mythic fantasy since I started reading. I don’t own all of them…and I think it’s because I read most of it when I was still borrowing books from the library rather than buying too many and just filling my shelves to their breaking point.

Examples include:

  • Wilbur Smith’s The Seventh Scroll, River God  and others (Egyptian mythology)
  • The Mists of Avalon by Marion Bradly (Arthurian legend)
  • The Forbidden Game by LJ Smith (Norse Mythology)
  • The TV shows like Hercules, Camelot, Merlin, Robin Hood and Spartacus
  • Movies like Arthur, First Knight, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, The Mummy, Thor and many, many more
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