fantastical realms blog tag

Today I’m doing an amazing tag that Jenelle Schmidt created! This tag goes along with the theme “February is Fantasy Month,” and Jenelle’s also created a linkup and a giant giveaway. All the information for that is in her original post, so go check that out!

As you probably know, fantasy is my very favorite genre, so I’m super excited to do this tag!

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the rules

  • Thank the blogger who tagged you. (Well, I wasn’t technically tagged for this, but Jenelle left it open to anyone who wanted to do it, and I first saw it on Christine’s blog. So thanks to both of you!)
  • Include the graphic somewhere in your post.
  • Link back to Jenelle’s blog somewhere in your post.
  • Answer the questions.
  • Tag a few blogger friends, and let them know they’ve been tagged.
  • Have fun!

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the questions + my answers

1 // In a strange twist of fate, you are transported into a fantasy realm of your choice. The catch? You have also been transformed into your least favorite fantasy creature. Where are you, and what are you?

I’m in Goldstone Wood! I just recently read Anne Elisabeth Stengl’s series (you may know this, since I think I’ve mentioned it in every post for the past while), and I wish I’d discovered it sooner! It’s fantastic.

But… I’m a burrow grub, or íllgrathr, from the Inheritance Cycle.

. . . it was heavier than it looked, and its underside gripped her with what felt like hundreds of little hooks . . . Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the burrow grub lift up its eyeless head and point it toward her face, as if testing the air. Its tiny mouth opened, and she saw that it had sharp cutting mandibles behind its upper and lower lips . . . there seemed to be something profoundly wrong about the burrow grub. . . . Then its fat, limbless body contracted, and it hopped four, five inches straight up into the air and then dove headfirst toward the inner part of her elbow. As it landed, the burrow grub divided into a dozen small, bright green centipedes, which swarmed over her arm before each chose a spot to sink its mandibles into her flesh and bore its way through her skin . . .

from Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

They are very distasteful creatures, and I have no idea how I’m going to make my way through Goldstone Wood as one. Someone send help.

2 // What fantasy creature do you wish featured in more stories? What is your favorite story that has that creature in it?

I’m going to reference the exact same two series as I did above: I love the character of Solembum, a werecat, in the Inheritance Cycle. And the Tales of Goldstone Wood also feature several characters who have two forms (one animal, one human). One might even be able to be called a werecat…? So I’m going to say that I’d love to see more stories featuring humans that also have an animal forms (or basically shapeshifters of any kind). The Fablehaven/Dragonwatch books also feature this kind of creature, but their “animal” form is a dragon or unicorn, and when they’re human, it’s called an “avatar,” which added a very interesting twist to the story.

3 // As you are reading this, a voice rings in your ear proclaiming:

A hero true, a leader strong,
A quest is where you do belong,
So arm thyself, and take your stand
With an item to your left your fate is at hand.

Despite the fact that this prophetic voice is clearly incapable of sticking to a meter, what ordinary item do you now find yourself armed with? (And, for bonus points, what helpful magical properties does it now possess that will help you on your quest?)

You can do better, prophetic voice. Learn some meter (and also, stick to either “thee” or “you,” but not both!).

I am now armed with a letter from my pen friend. One page of it, to be precise, a green ink discussion of musicals, blogs, and handwritten quotes. As to magical properties… maybe I can contact my friend? Magically summon aid? Drown my enemies in green ink?

4 // You happen across an ad in a catalog promising a magical fantasy cruise that will allow you to stop in any three realms of your choice and explore each for several days before returning you home (and the ad promises your safe return or your money back, guaranteed!). Assuming this is not a hoax and that the tour guides will actually be able to cater to your requests, what three realms will you tour and what do you hope to see/who would you like to meet along the way?

  1. Middle-earth, my favorite fantasy realm. While I’m here, I’ll tour EVERYTHING: the Shire, Bree, Weathertop, Rivendell, Lothlorien, Gondor, Rohan, Laketown, Minas Ithil, Mirkwood/the Greenwood… but I might skip Moria and Mordor.
  2. Alitheia (from The Gateway Chronicles — another recent obsession of mine). Of course I’ll check out Ormiskos and Kenidros, and then take a hike out to the peninsula and the totem pole.
  3. Prydain (from the aptly named Chronicles of Prydain). Everything is worth touring here as well, but I especially want to see Orddu, Orwen, and Orgoch.

5 // Congratulations! You are a fantasy hero/heroine about to start your adventure. You get to choose a small fantasy creature to accompany and assist you on your quest. Who/what do you choose?

I think I’d like to bring Raxtus. He’s a small dragon from the Fablehaven/Dragonwatch books, and though even in his dragon size he’s larger than I am, his avatar is actually a 1-foot-tall fairy. So I get to bring a small creature, but when I need a ride, I’ve got a dragon!

6 // Elves or dwarves?

fairy wearing white dress art
in case it’s not clear: the answer is elves

I would love to see someone write dwarves in a new way, but every version of them that I’ve read about is very similar: bearded, stocky folk who live underground, like mining, don’t like elves, and are short. The most original dwarf I’ve found is Doli from The Chronicles of Prydain, who is trying to learn how to become invisible but can’t. He’s quite amusing.

Fantasy Elf Wizard

Elves, now: they do share certain immutable characteristics. They’re tall, long-lived (usually immortal), and beautiful. But! There are so many new and interesting ways that I’ve seen them done.

  • Tolkien (who started this whole trend, I think) wrote about elves who spoke various languages, lived in different places, and were strikingly relatable (despite their immortality and beauty). Galadriel lived for a long time as an outcast because of a mistake she made long ago (so that scene with Frodo in Lothlorien is actually her redemption). Beren and Luthien’s story is glorious. Arwen’s character arc is one of my favorites in the whole of LOTR. But my very favorite elf is Glorfindel. And I could go on naming many more: Tolkien created elves who were distinct characters, despite their shared looks and lifespan.
  • In the Dragonwatch books, the elves (called the “Fair Folk”) are an impartial, neutral group who refuse to get involved in war. This leads to some problems when war springs up around them.
  • In the Gateway Chronicles, there’s an elf-like race called narks. Each nark is actually two people, one by day and one by night, and at sunset/sunrise, one goes to sleep and the other wakes up. They look very similar but have different hair/skin/eye colors, and their personalities are different as well.
  • In the Inheritance cycle, the elves are ancient and haughty and proud (as might be expected), but their culture differs a great deal from Tolkien’s elves’ (one of the reasons I prefer Paolini’s books to a lot of other fantasy). They’re also not strikingly tall, and they have slanted eyebrows and eyes, and their hair is either black or silver. One elf even looks like a wolf.

Fantasy Elf

Those are just some of my favorite examples of elves in recent fantasy. I absolutely love reading about elves, and I’m writing about them myself. They are definitely my favorite fantasy race.

7 // Do you prefer your dragons (we had to have at least one question devoted solely to dragons!) good or evil or a mix of both?

I honestly don’t care. I’ll read about dragons no matter how they’re portrayed (as long as the writing is good, ha). I actually do really like the traditional depiction of dragons as only evil and think it’s contributed a lot to church imagery, descriptions, etc. The Tales of Goldstone Wood uses this idea very well, and Tolkien’s dragons are quite evil (Smaug is delightful to read about). Robin McKinley’s dragons in The Hero and the Crown (one of my favorite fantasies) are creatures, not beings, who are savage and attack humans.

But I do think it works very well when dragons can choose, just like any other person/being, whether to be good or evil. The Dragons In Our Midst series, the Inheritance Cycle, the Dragonspell series, Fablehaven/Dragonwatch, and many others include dragons who choose to be on the side of the protagonists.

Fantasy, Fantasy World, Trees, Amazone, Dream, Child

8 // World building is a complicated undertaking full of many details. As a reader, what is a small detail you really appreciate seeing when it comes to diving into a new realm? What is something that helps you lose yourself in a fantasy world?

I really appreciate it when an author provides a (to-scale, readable, detailed, and beautiful) map of their world. That way I can follow along  with the characters’ journeys and understand where they are in relation to their allies and enemies.

Losing myself in fantasy worlds? Well, for starters, you’ve got to write a good story. If the story is good, I’ll lose myself in your world no matter how detailed or fantastical it is. But when you’ve got the story part taken care of, I’d also appreciate it if you consider your world’s history and insert little references to it here and there. It makes the story much more real to me (and also offers you the opportunity to create a new story set in your world someday!).

9 // You have been transformed into your favorite fantasy creature. Problem is… you’re still in your own bedroom and your family is downstairs, completely unprepared for the shock. What creature are you, and how (if at all) do you break the news to your loved ones? (Or how do you get out of your room?)

I’m a dragon! Probably of the sort from the Inheritance Cycle… and I’ve broken my room, so explaining to my family will be necessary. At least I can communicate telepathically.

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the questions (for you)

February is almost over, but if you’d like, please do this tag! And don’t forget to add your link to Jenelle’s linkup.

  1. In a strange twist of fate, you are transported into a fantasy realm of your choice. The catch? You have also been transformed into your least favorite fantasy creature. Where are you, and what are you?
  2. What fantasy creature do you wish featured in more stories? What is your favorite story that has that creature in it?
  3. As you are reading this, a voice rings in your ear proclaiming:
    A hero true, a leader strong,
    A quest is where you do belong,
    So arm thyself, and take your stand
    With an item to your left your fate is at hand.
    Despite the fact that this prophetic voice is clearly incapable of sticking to a meter, what ordinary item do you now find yourself armed with? (And, for bonus points, what helpful magical properties does it now possess that will help you on your quest?)
  4. You happen across an ad in a catalog promising a magical fantasy cruise that will allow you to stop in any three realms of your choice and explore each for several days before returning you home (and the ad promises your safe return or your money back, guaranteed!). Assuming this is not a hoax and that the tour guides will actually be able to cater to your requests, what three realms will you tour and what do you hope to see/who would you like to meet along the way?
  5. Congratulations! You are a fantasy hero/heroine about to start your adventure. You get to choose a small fantasy creature to accompany and assist you on your quest. Who/what do you choose?
  6. Elves or dwarves?
  7. Do you prefer your dragons (we had to have at least one question devoted solely to dragons!) good or evil or a mix of both?
  8. World building is a complicated undertaking full of many details. As a reader, what is a small detail you really appreciate seeing when it comes to diving into a new realm? What is something that helps you lose yourself in a fantasy world?
  9. You have been transformed into your favorite fantasy creature. Problem is… you’re still in your own bedroom and your family is downstairs, completely unprepared for the shock. What creature are you, and how (if at all) do you break the news to your loved ones? (Or how do you get out of your room?)
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I hope you enjoyed reading this tag! I had great fun doing it.

Never laugh at live dragons and may your swords stay sharp!

sign off

12 thoughts on “fantastical realms blog tag

  1. Loved reading your answers!

    I clearly need to read Fablehaven and the Dragonkeeper Chronicles!

    And YES to all things PRYDAIN!!!!! (psst, some friends and I are going to be doing a “Book of Three” read along in April, you should totally join us for that… I’ll be posting details on my blog… after I take a month-long nap because WOW Fantasy Month takes it out of me. WORTH IT but… exhausted!) 🙂

    That prophetic voice clearly has gotten a bit lazy. I will have to have a talk with it about upping its game next year. Sheesh.

    Thanks for doing the tag!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ooh!! This looks like such a fun tag I’ve seen floating around…should I do it? *sweats in 12 posts* THE TEMPTATION!

    But that said, I love your answer. And I AGREE HEARTILY WITH THE DWARVES! THANK YOU FOR THAT!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very fun answers!
    A small dragon. I would love to have a lap dragon. That would be the cutest little rascal.
    He would probably be worse than a toddler to have around the house though. XD

    Liked by 1 person

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