January Wrap Up: Hero’s Journey

After the events that filled the first month of the year, I don’t know about you but I was glad for some good escapism literature. When faced with the deep flaws of humanity I needed a break at points to read and write about heroes and books, with a hopeful vision. 

I wanted to use this as a jumping off point to help me figure out where I wanted to go next. After Game of Thrones I felt slightly burnt by high medieval fantasy and wasn’t sure if I wanted to try anymore. I guess I wanted to see what was out there before I closed that door.

I’m shocked that I ended up loving all three of this month’s books. The Hobbit helped me remember my love for stories about quests and unlikely heroes. Both The Goblin Emperor and Swordheart showed me the possibilities of the future with high fantasy. 

Audiences keep going back to the familiarity of the hero’s journey for a reason, especially as the world becomes a scarier place. Fantasy can be about real emotions and ideas without being hyper ‘realistic’. Having a positive viewpoint doesn’t mean that heroic fantasy is stagnant. The future of this subgenre is alive and can change with the growing need for diversity. 

Throughout January my husband and I decided to revisit the Lord of the Rings after he received the new 4k edition. I love the series but haven’t watched it in a few years. All my memories of seeing the trilogy came back to me. Waiting for hours to see one of The Return of the King’s first showings, since this was long before advance seating, is one of my favorite memories. 

I remember how much each movie meant to me throughout my high school years. As I was rewatching this month, it dawned on me that those feelings are similar to what I felt reading fantasy this past couple of months. Sometimes it just takes a little time to remember that just because a book or movie is positive, genuine, and/or earnest, doesn’t mean that it’s cheesy. I know I could use more of that in my life.

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