Fantasy Fiction: Themes, Subgenres & Examples in Literature

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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 stuff. 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.

Fantasy fiction is also speculative like science fiction and often contains characters like:

  • Wizards
  • Witches
  • Trolls
  • Fairies
  • Elves
  • Angels
  • Dragons
  • Dwarves
  • Giants
  • Goblins, etc

fantasy genre themes, subgenres and examples in literature

Common Themes of Fantasy-

Below is the list of common fantasy themes in literature:

  • Good vs. Evil
  • Magical realism
  • Coming of Age
  • Man vs. Nature
  • Quest
  • Betrayal
  • Fate
  • Death
  • Love
  • Epic journey
  • Friendship
  • Power
  • Greed
  • Desire
  • Free will
  • Pride
  • Courage
  • Immortality
  • Wisdom
  • Acceptance
  • Sacrifice
  • Struggle
  • Family
  • Rebellion
  • Transformation
  • Leadership
  • Justice
  • Judgement
  • Honor
  • Strength
  • Skill
  • Society
  • Class
  • Death
  • Vengeance

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

fantasy subgenres
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  • 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-

#2 Low Fantasy

fantasy subgenres
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  • The story of low fantasy is set in the real world with some magical elements and events included.

Examples of Low Fantasy-

#3 Dark fantasy

fantasy subgenres
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  • This subgenre contains a blend of fantasy and horror following a dark story tone.

Examples of Dark Fantasy-

Related: 40 Dark Fantasy Story Ideas

#4 Sword and Sorcery

fantasy subgenres
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  • 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-

#5 Magical realism

fantasy subgenres
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  • 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-

Watch the below informative video by Ted-Ed on how to build a great fictional world for your fantasy story.

Neel Rana

About the Author- Neel Rana is a YA short story author, flash fiction writer, literary enthusiast and the founder of Pandora Post. Neel holds a degree in BA Honours in English Literature and has been writing since 2017. Neel’s magnum opus YA short storybook, “The Drunken Ghost” has been well received by the readers.