On a writers’ board I frequent, another poster recently opined that if a book doesn’t have knights, swords, and horses, he (I think the poster was male, although I could be wrong) doesn’t consider it epic fantasy. While that clearly leaves in books like Game of Thrones, Songs of the Earth, and even Miserere, it also excludes much wonderful work in the subgenre, including Cold Magic — and as knights are at best a small portion of the trilogy, could even be said to exclude Lord of the Rings.
The association of knights and kings with fantasy is even related to some people’s dislike of the genre. (See, for example, Charlie Stross’s post “Books I will never write,” which includes such lines as, “Monarchism, the default political stance of high fantasy, sucks. We have a term for its latter-day incarnation: we call it ‘hereditary dictatorship’, and point to North Korea for an example.”)
Some love the notions of chivalry and codes of honor, of flashing blades and one true king. Some don’t care for oversimplification. Others write knights and kings fairly close to the reality of how they worked. Where do you fall? Love ’em or hate ’em? Do you have a favorite author or book that uses them?
This is a post for the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. My theme is epic fantasy, and blog posts will cover authors, books, tropes, themes, or anything else I can think of to fill the alphabet. Check out some of the other bloggers participating or follow my blog by e-mail if you like what you’ve read.