It’s that time of year again, and it’s hard to think about the holidays, particularly Christmas, without thinking of fantasy. It is particularly interesting to note just how many famous fantasy novels – particularly for children – are set during the festive period. The Dark is Rising, The Snow Spider and The Children of Green Knowe are all examples that come to mind immediately, but there are many others. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, whilst not set at Christmas specifically, features a suitably seasonal winter wonderland and even boasts an appearance by none other than Santa Claus himself. Philip Pullman’s The Golden Compass (aka Northern Lights) also feels like a seasonal novel, even if Christmas was quite literally the last thing on the author’s mind when he was writing it. There are also a number of more adult fantasy novels that make use of festive motifs, often inverting them in new and often anarchic ways. Examples of the latter include Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather and Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. Then there are timeless classics like Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale, which are neither entirely for adults nor completely for children, but fall into that strange twilight realm that separates the two worlds. What makes Christmas such a popular setting for children’s fantasy novels can perhaps be attributed to a number of things. The essential yuletide story of Jesus’ birth is full of fantastical elements, from the angels to the star to the three Magi. Moving to the secular (or perhaps pagan) side of things, Santa Claus is nothing but fantastical – flying reindeer, elves (which rather resemble gnomes), a fat man fitting down a chimney, and so on. Then there’s perhaps the most famous novel about Christmas, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, which is of course full of spirits. It’s perhaps no surprise, then, that Christmas continues to be explored by fantasy writers. The myths and legends of Christmas provide a rich source of inspiration for new tales, the season can be mined for its emotion and themes, and perhaps for its strange and wonderful mix of energies.
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The Inn at the Edge of the World
Hour of the Wolf
The Chronicles of Merlin
The Witch of Wicken Fen
- An Interview with William Horwood
- Spirits of the Sacred Skies
- The Fantasy World of Christmas
- Philadelphia by Night
- Samhain, Feast of the Dead
- The Realm of Ice and Fire
- Celtic Otherworlds
- The Wolf in the Attic
- The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
- Fearsome Critters
- Songs of Earth and Power
- Of Wood Woses and Wild Men
- The Lost Kingdoms
- The Man in the High Castle
- India’s Eternal Cycle
- Star Wars The Force Awakens Review – No Spoilers
- Fantasy Masterworks: the founders of fantasy
- 23 Things You Missed From the Warcraft Movie Trailer
- The Dark Fantastic
- The Light Fantastic
- Spawn of Ungoliant
- The Artifacts of Power
- Snow, Glass, Apples
- The Race of Twilight