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Many times, when people see those words connected, they’re not thinking of fantasy as swords and spells, but I’m not going to address that kind of fantasy today. Instead, I’m talking about love stories in a fantasy setting, with the swords and spells. And since Valentine’s day has just passed, I thought it would be a good time to write on this. (I didn’t write this before because I was spending time with my Valentine. By the way, I’m also coming out with a new short story soon.) So this subject is a big one, and i’ll probably have more posts on it, but I wanted to get started.
Falling in love is often the closest we get to fantasy and magic in our real world lives, and having characters fall in love in stories either brings back good memories or gives us hope for a better future. Most people enjoy a good romantic tale, so it makes sense to include it in most stories (The Lord of the Rings is an exception, as it didn’t really have any romance, although the movies inserted some in to draw more women.)
So one form of fantasy romance is the romance novel set in a fantasy setting, either modern or made up. Twilight is probably the most famous example of this, as vampires and werewolves are not real. This can also be called supernatural romance. These stories are aimed at female audiences and plays on their emotions, almost all from the female perspective. Men in these books are often sensitive chivalrous heroes that can read women much better than real men and are devoted to the female protagonist, sweeping them off their feet.
Another form of romance in fantasy is more from the male perspective. This is often more within an adventure, where the man has a woman he’s fighting for, or someone he’s fighting alongside with. Usually the protagonist is so heroic that the woman in his life has no choice but to throw herself at the hero’s feet in worship, whether she’s a damsel in distress or a heroine in her own right (which, sometimes when men are writing, the ‘heroine’ is no more than a man with breasts: in other words, acts like a man, is strong like a man, fights like a man, but has the body of a woman).
One of the biggest complaints, in both examples, is that the writer doesn’t portray the opposite sex in a convincing and realistic way. Women write their idealized version of men, men write their idealized version of women; both end up writing someone of their own gender in the attractive body of the opposite gender.
But I don’t want to go too much into gender right now. I just want to show that both genders have different viewpoints when it comes to romance, although both really want one thing: to love and be loved. Yes, women, most men are romantic and want to have love, not just sex. It hits us hard, but it’s more taboo to talk about, especially to get emotional about it. Men don’t usually read romance books because they are directed to female audiences and men can’t relate. The same with chick flicks.


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