Is Europe Becoming a Cliché?

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by Jordan Jolley

“This Royal throne of kings,
This scepter’d isle…
This blessed plot,
This earth, this realm,
This England.”

It seems in our fantastic literature, a European setting is what usually comes into our mind. This is with good reason. When I read fantasy books, I notice that the setting is often comparable to English, Irish, or Norse cultures. I actually quite enjoy this setting.

I love reading about knights, castles, dragons, and adventures in lush countrysides. However, like any cliché, this setting can become too redundant in fantasy. The world is much bigger than a continent. I’m not saying that Europe is a bad setting. The Tales of Draco has its fair share of European influence, but I do not intend on having European culture be my only influence. I also love Asian, African, and Native American cultures as well.

So why is the European setting very common in fantasy? The answer comes from Medieval history. Many stories such as Beowulf and The Legend of King Arthur created the path for the fantasy genre to follow. These stories were created in Medieval England, so the setting followed. Even today, many settings take place in Medieval England; and to tell you the truth, the setting could introduce many other painful clichés. Even fictional languages have roots in Europe and before long, these fictional languages start to sound similar to one another.

If you ever plan to write a fantasy story, maybe change things up. Add some Chinese or Middle-eastern cultures. Taking a break from England once in a while may help your story become unique. You could even create a combination of cultures. When other settings are introduced, Europe can once again become the great setting for fantasy as it is and always will be.

 

 

 

Guest post contributed by Jordan Jolley . Since he was a student in Elementary School, Jordan has devoted much of his time to writing. Though still young, he continues to prepare himself for a long yet adventurous journey in writing. He currently lives in Dayton, Idaho where he is creating the next chapter of The Tales of Draco series.

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4 thoughts on “Is Europe Becoming a Cliché?”

  1. Good point. Living in England, close to actual castles and forests (at least, what’s left of them) makes reading some fantasy stories less fantastic.
    I loved the way that Terry Pratchett developed a whole world from various countries and cultures on Earth. Yes, most of them have a European flavour, but there are elements of Aztec, African, Middle Eastern and Chinese cultures in the Discworld stories.

    Liked by 2 people

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