I am answering question on fantasy books from Fullness of Joy you should all go check out her blog and look at others who are answering these questions.
Fantasy is a bit of a rough topic when it comes to Christian circles. There is a lot of argument about “to read fantasy or not to read fantasy.” I am for fantasy and I think it a wonderful way to tell stories and is great fun to read. I think as long as you know what is real and what is not it is fine.
1. Taken from a Christian perspective, what are your thoughts and feelings on the fantasy genre in general? Do you hold to any convictions or guidelines on things like magic, sorcery, fantastical elements or allegory in fantasy books?
As a Christian I don’t see anything wrong with fantasy. I think there was a quote someone once told me from C. S. Lewis that said something along the lines of “Children know that dragons are real we tell them stories that reassure them that the good guys can beat the dragons.” When I heard this quote it really struck me because it is so true. Children believe in fantasy even when you tell then something is not true. I do not know the book or the author as it was a book my mom read and she told me this story because it was so cute and funny. There is a little boy and it is Christmas time. The parents are Christians and so they want to do Santa Clause but they make sure their son knows that Santa is not real but make believe. The kid does not believe his parents so at one point he sneaks off to go visit Santa at the mall. He is determined to prove to his parents that Santa does exist. His plan is to tell Santa while his parents are there that he wants a puppy for Christmas. If he gets a puppy for Christmas he will know that Santa is real because his parents don’t know that he wants a puppy for Christmas only Santa does.
Fantasy is also something that has been around for a long time. I think stories of supernatural things and magic are old. They are a huge part of any culture. As an Orthodox Christian it is traditional to embrace another culture and their traditions into the faith so that they are not lost because they are important and have meaning for people. Think of Saint Patrick.
I have also heard recently that the idea of wizards having long beards and performing miracles comes from a time when priests were persecuted and so they traveled the country side preaching and helping people.
I think that they only thing I ask for in a fantasy book in that there is good and bad. Good and bad magic and good and bad elements, because that is the way real life is. There are things like the internet that have a good side and a bad side. There are also grey arias. I find books that don’t have grey to be unrealistic and fake. Fantasy is suppose to be an allegory for real life.
2. Who are some of your favourite fantasy/fairy-tale authors? (you can name up to three.)
J. K. Rowling, C. S. Lewis, and J. R. R. Tolkien.
3. Have you read The Chronicles of Narnia books, or watched any of the movies? Which, if so, are your three favourite books?
I have read the Chronicles of Narnia and watched the more recent movies. My favorite books are The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian, and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
4. How many books by J.R.R. Tolkien have you read and enjoyed so far? Can you choose a favourite book (The Lord of the Rings can be considered one book ;)?
I have read the Hobbit, They Fellowship of the Ring, and I am currently reading The Two Towers. I hope to read as many of his books as possible I am sadly very slow at reading his books. The Hobbit and The Two Towers are my favorites so far.
5. Uhm. . . since, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien were friends, I will not risk causing further estrangement to the history of their friendship by pitting them against each other! However, being the mastermind of mischief that I am, I will toss this question your way: which of the two are you most fond of in sense of storytelling, characters, themes and what personally touches/inspires you the most: The Lord of the Rings, or The Chronicles of Narnia?
I like them both equally. I think they both were very talented writes who chose to write in different styles and that both of those styles are good. I will say though that The Chronicles of Narnia strike me as geared more towards a younger audience while The Lord of the Rings more towards an older one.
6. Are there other books and movies of the fantasy/fairy-tale/legend genre that have you read and loved, especially from modern authors? Please tell us a little bit about them.
Some of my favorite modern day fantasy authors are J. K. Rowling, Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Gerald Morris, and Rick Riordan. I don’t think J. K. Rowling needs and introduction. Anne Elisabeth Stengl is Christian fantasy writer and her books are amazing. You should definitely go read them. Gerald Morris the one series I know by him is the Arthurian legends told through the eyes of Sir Gwain’s squire. Rick Riordan is a modern rendition of the Greek myths in modern times(Mount Olympus is the top of the Empire state building for example).
7. Have you read any Christian allegories, such as Pilgrim's Progress, Holy War or Hinds Feet on High Places?
I believe Narnia is considered a Christian Allegory and I have read that. I tend not to want to read them and they preach a particular theology that I do not agree with most of the time and I then end up being annoyed and frustrated.
8. Share some of your most well-loved heroines from fantasy tales in literature (books, movies, modern and classics), and why you love them so much! What virtues/traits in them would you like to have yourself?
Hermione Granger from Harry Potter is my top favorite fantasy heroine. She is smart and she uses her intelligence. She has a strong sense of what is write and what is wrong. She is very clever at figuring things out. She inspires me to do well in my own studies.
Luna Love good also from Harry Potter. I love her because of her strong belief in what she believes is true even when everyone else makes fun of her and calls her names. She is not afraid to be herself even when it makes her seem weird to other people. She is also kind and respectful of others.
I love Belle from the show Once Upon a Time(I am only in the middle of the 2nd season so don’t spoil anything for me if you are farther!) I love how she loves books. I love how she uses her talents and skills to solves and defeat problems. She see good in people and she stands up for herself.
9. Which land would you rather go, dwell in, or be a part of: Middle-Earth, or Narnia? (or maybe some other fantasy-land, you share!)
Harry Potter’s world. It would be in England, I could have muggle stuff and magic stuff. It would be the definition of perfection.
10. What kind of fantasy are you most fond of? Fantastical and "fairy-tale-ish" like Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella, or rather the mythological, high-epic-fantasies such as Tolkien's?
I like both though I probably tend more towards high-epic-fantasies.
11. Which is your favourite fairy-tale?
When I was little I really liked Rapunzel and Sleeping Beauty. Now that I am older though I find that I have trouble relating to these stories as they don’t have strong female characters and I really want those in stories. I don’t connect well to characters that just sit there.
12. List some of your most well-loved movie adaptions of fantasy tales (this does not include Disney fairy-tale animations).
Okay it is not a movie but the TV show Once upon a time is one of my top favorite fantasy-twisted-fairy-tale shows. Most of the fantasy movies I have seen are based on books that I adore so I end up not liking the movies because they stray from the book *cough*Harry Potter*cough*. I enjoy the Lord of the Rings movies that I have seen and I am really liking the Hobbit even though they are not always very faithfully true the books.
13. Who are your favourite heroes from fantasy books? (you may list as many as you like!) Tell us a little bit about why you love them so much :).
Harry Potter. I like him because despite all the horrible things he went though he still love people and he still fights for good and he still fought against evil. He has a strong belief and trust people. He knows his weaknesses and he also recognizes his own short comings. He recognizes that he needs Hermione and Ron’s help(especially Hermione because let’s face it Harry and Ron would not have survived without Hermione).
Wonderful, wonderful sweet Neville Longbottom. He is the braves person there is. Most people didn’t realize how brave he was and they beat up on them, but in the end he was the bravest of all. he cares about people and is very shy.
Bilbo Baggins the hobbit who did not want to go on an adventure but ended up going on the biggest adventure of the century. He is a lot clever than many of those around him think he is and he also comes to care very much about his companions. He goes on a journey in which he finds out how brave he can be.
14. Saddest moment in any fantasy tale you've either watched or read?
The End of the Deathly Hollows. Book and movie.
15. How did you get into The Lord of the Rings and Middle-Earth books/movies? (If you're not into LOTR than you can talk about how you got into Narnia instead).
I got into Narnia by reading the books and watching the movies I am not a Narnia expert though. I have been reading the LOTR books and watching the movies slowly. I really enjoy them so I think I am getting into LOTR.
16. Give a list (preferably with pictures!) of your favourite fantasy/medieval costumes/armour/gowns and from which movie/character they come from.
I know I said before that I really don’t pay to much attention to costumes. I have am putting more effort into this question this time though. I think also I have been watching this show recently so I apologies that they are all from the same Show(Once Upon a Time).
I love Regina’s costumes they appeal the my gothic side.
Captain Hook. There is something about black leather.
Snow white when she is a fugitive in the forest.
Little Red Riding Hood’s costume strikes me as the most medieval looking.
17. Which fantasy/fairy-tale has inspired and influenced you the most?
Harry Potter without a doubt has inspired me to love people more and to stand up for injustice and inequality. Also to be the best at what I am good at and try my hardest. I connect to the character more in that book and there are many moments that brought me to tears.
18. Favourite character in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings/Hobbit universe? Favourite character in The Chronicles of Narnia? (Choose 1 each)
I really like Bilbo and Prince Caspian.
19. Favourite friendship in a fantasy book/movie/series?
The Ron/Harry/Hermione friendship.
20. Which villain of fantasy strikes the most dread and loathing in you? Which foe strikes the most pity?
Voldemort is the bad guy that I dread and am most freaked out by. A bad guy that is incapable of love is a frightening foe.
Rumpelstiltskin makes me feel the most pity, though at this point I am not 100% sure he is an actual villain.
21. Share some of your most well-loved quotes from fantasy books/movies :).
“Now I am off to be before you get up killed or worse expelled!” – Hermione Granger Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
22. Favourite battle in a fantasy book or movie?
What battle did I most like? The Battle of Hogwarts? I feel like I should pick a battle where most of the characters survived.
23. Tell us which romance couple you love best in any of the fantasy stories you know about.
Ron and Hermione.
24. Elves or dwarves? Gondor or Rohan? Aragorn or King Tirian?
I like both Elves and Dwarves. I am more of Rohan and I like Aragorn.
25. Who is your favourite side-kick (secondary character) in books/movies of this genre? (you are welcome to choose more than one ;).
Ron is a side kick character that I love. Merry and Pippin.
26. List five fantasy novels you are especially looking forward and eager to read in the near future.
The Return of the King. The rest of the Squire’s tale series and I am thinking about trying Game of Thrones. (I don’t know specific titles so I listed of a couple of series. I think it should all add up to five).
27. Which fantasy work struck you with the most sense and depth of faith and the author's perception of morality, ethics, the distinction and battle between good and evil, and the Christian walk? Can you share a little bit about it?
I see Christian themes and morals in a lot of the fantasy that I read whether the author deliberately put them there or not. Harry Potter has stuck me with the most depth of understand of love and all the different kinds of love there are. There is a quote from a character as well that talks about how good and evil are not always as easily divided as we think; “The world isn’t divided into good people and death eaters.”
28. What was the first fantasy novel you ever read and how did it strike you?
I am not sure what the first fantasy novel I read was. I want to say it was Narnia.
29. What would inspire you to pick up a work of fantasy literature or watch a fantasy film? What do you believe are both the benefits, negatives and overall effects of enjoying this genre?
A recommendation from a friend would make me want to read it and a well designed cover.
Getting people to read is important I think fantasy is a wonderful way to get into books for some people. Especially those who find other kinds of books hard to get into. It is a way to escape into a world very different from ours and yet similar. Reading fantasy is a wonderful way to see different themes in a new light and I think it gives an author a variety of ways to express those themes. There are darker fantasy novels out there and some very poorly written ones *glances at Twilight*, but there are so many other wonderful books out there.