A talisman sword, the one ring, a mystical orb, and a dark tower. To me the core of great fantasy is the Quest. I think of classic fantasy series like The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and David Eddings’ Belgariad, or more recently The Gunslinger.
It is the quest that reveals the capacity of the protagonist to rise above his/her ordinary life to be a hero. It will reveal weaknesses, give a clear vision of truth and what is important in life. Often hand-in-hand with a prophecy, we will learn with the protagonist why they are uniquely suited to the mission.
Once a month at writers group I get to read a section of an epic fantasy that genre fans should watch for. In a world created by artist Suzanne Sheldens, a trio of boys on the verge of manhood go about their life working in the fields and clambering about the trees. Strange goings-ons are coming to their valley, they are learning the legends of ancient heroes at the feet the wise woman, and…and….
One bit a month is just an excruciating way to make it through a quest! Especially knowing there are over 30 1-inch binders of this epic on Suzanne’s shelf, slowing being edited, reviewed, tweaked. It’s already great, I can only imagine what it will be when finished.
In my Christian worldview, these quests resonate because we were all created with a purpose (see A Purpose Driven Life) , a race to run, a path that is ours and ours alone. There is a mission, a battle against evil, and great forces at work that none of can quite understand.
Fantasy is fabulous, and yet, is there not a quest in most great stories? A quest for love, or justice, or victory, or belonging, or freedom, or a throne made of swords?
What great quests stand out in your memory?
Kristin King is a co-founder of the non-profit, Future Hope Africa. Links for books in this blog allow you to shop through the Amazon Affiliate which benefits the charity whether you buy books, clothes, or dog treats.