Dissecting Dragons

Episode 229: A Tale for Bards - Why Historical Fantasy Works

July 3, 2020

This week the dragons take a look at a specific genre mash-up which is increasing in popularity - Historical Fantasy. Unlike epic fantasy inspired by historical events, eg Game of Thrones, Historical Fantasy adds speculative elements to documented history and while it may feature invented characters, the unfolding of history remains fairly constant. Done well this sub-genre of both historical fiction and fantasy can provide an immersive reading experience, with a satisfyingly well built world, fascinating real historical events and speculative elements which can add to the escapism of the reading experience or even provide extra nuance or lighter moments. Under the microscope this week - Jonathan Strange and Mr Norell by Suzanna Clarke, The Diviners - Libba Bray, The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers and many more.


Title music: Ecstasy by Smiling Cynic

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