“The Clash of Steel and the Roar of Dragons” Ain’t Enough for This Reader

The quote of the title comes from an essay by M. Harold Page titled “Why Medieval Fantasy is Not Inherently Conservative (Or Inherently Anything Political)” on Black Gate. I don’t agree with his argument. Largely because his argument is, itself, political. It might have nothing to do with politics as it is popularly conceived, but it is still political in regards to the politics of fantasy. But arguing about politics in fantasy is not the focus of this post. Rather, I want to explore my own reactions to fantasy.

Often times when it comes to reading fantasy, “the clash of steel and the roar of dragons” are all that are needed. Especially if the purpose of reading is escapism. 

But while I do read for escape, I am more interested in engaging the text in depth. What does the text mean? Why did the writer go in this or that narrative direction? What are the politics of the work?

For me, solely relying on “the clash of steel and the roar of dragons” is not enough. It becomes, ultimately, a hollow experience. Kind of like junk food. (Not that I’m saying the literature is junk, but that I find the experience unsatisfying). 

I want the literature I read to be engaging. I want more than simple entertainment. 

Which is why this is so frustrating. I haven’t read an engaging fantasy in months. 

What’s wrong with me? Am I losing my interest in fantasy? Or is it a certain kind of fantasy that I’m just not into anymore? 


Posted on January 10, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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