Fantasy fiction is counted among the the most read genres and if you are thinking of writing a fantasy novel you must know the themes, subgenres and examples of fantasy before start writing your own fantasy story.
Related: 100 Fantasy Story Ideas
Now lets understand the basic of fantasy-
What is Fantasy Fiction?
Fantasy fiction is the genre that showcases imaginary magical worlds containing elements of magic and supernatural beings and things. The stories of this genre are often inspired by mythology and folklore.
Fantasy fiction is also regarded as one of the best genres in allowing the writers to take their writing creativity to limitless boundaries where the writer’s imagination can bring anything into the story and no real-world logic is required in creating anything as we do in science fiction and some other genres.
Common Themes in Fantasy-
Below is the list of common fantasy themes found in fantasy genre. Use these as theme ideas for your fantasy novel, books and stories.
1. Good vs. Evil
2. Magical realism
3. Coming of Age
4. Man vs. Nature
10. Epic journey
15. Free will
Related: Fantasy Words List
Now lets explore the popular fantasy fiction subgenres along with the popular examples of the subgenres.
6 Popular Subgenres of Fantasy Fiction-
1. Epic or High fantasy
Novels of the epic or hard fantasy are set in a fictional world with their own sets of rules and physical laws showcasing a single hero-driven plot with an epic story.
Examples of Epic fantasy-
- The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R Tolkien
- The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
- A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guni
- A Game of Thrones by G R. R. Martin
- The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
- The Hobbit by J. R. R Tolkien
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
2. Low Fantasy
The story of low fantasy is set in the real world with some magical elements and events included.
Examples of Low Fantasy-
- Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling
- American Gods by Neil Geiman
- Good Omens by Neil Geiman
- Signal to Noise by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
- When Light Left Us by Leah Thomas
- Race to the Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
- A Single Stone by Meg Mckinlay
3. Dark fantasy
Dark Fantasy contains a blend of fantasy and horror following a dark story tone.
Examples of Dark Fantasy-
- Coraline by Neil Geiman
- The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
- The Dark Tower by Stephen King
- The Black Company by Glen Cook
- Creatures of Want and Ruin by Molly Tanzer
Related: 40 Dark Fantasy Story Ideas
4. Sword and Sorcery
The story plot follows a sword-wielding hero or character engaging himself in great adventures along with elements of magic and witchcraft.
Examples of Swords and Sorcery-
- The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian by Robert E. Howard
- The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp
- The Ladies of Mandrigyn by Barbara Hambly
- The Sunset Warrior by Eric Van Lustbader
5. Magical realism
Magical realism crosses over low fantasy. The plot follows a location setting in the real world with magic integrated into the modern society, showcasing ordinary people comfortable with an extraordinary life.
Examples of Magical realism-
- Midnight Children by Salman Rushdie
- The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
- Beloved by Toni Morrison
- Get in Trouble by Kelly Link
- Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
- The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Watch the below informative video by Ted-Ed on how to build a great fictional world for your fantasy story.