“Faith and Religion in Fantasy Societies”

Click here to read the English translation of the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s take on faith and fantasy:

The issue of mortality and immortality is a favorite with fantasy authors, who explore the influence and issues at stake in the passage of time, as well as the concept of free will and fate (The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, 1990-2013). Following the model of founding myths, a number of works make use of prophesies, which are portrayed as superior but often misleading powers guiding the plot and holding readers’ or spectators’ interest. This play between reality and myth, history and legend is at the heart of a great number of tales (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Patrick Rothfuss, since 2007).

Each individual work, as well as each wider world – such as those created by J.R.R. Tolkien, Terry Pratchett, Ursula K. Le Guin, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and George R.R. Martin – has its own religious workings, with its own spiritual implications. Death is not, therefore, necessarily synonymous with complete disappearance: the rules can be entirely redefined in order to create new narrative possibilities. Consequently, characters’ attitudes towards life, death, and life after death can be overturned, as can their relationship to the divine and the supernatural.

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