Analyzing fantasy

When you are to analyze fantasy texts in class or in a written assignment, you should be aware that there are elements which are uniquely relevant for fantasy analysis. 

On the following pages we go into the following aspects of analyzing fantasy:

Of course, most of the general advice about fiction analysis will also be relevant for your work. E.g. talking about characters and themes is always a good idea.


Here you can read an extract from our study guide:


The antagonist is the evil villain whom the protagonist must fight. Typically, the antagonist wants to take over the world or destroy the natural order of things. 

In many types of fantasy, the antagonist is purely evil, which makes it impossible to sympathize with him/her. One example is the White Witch in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950). Her evil and cold nature is even reflected in the eternal winter that has fallen on Narnia during her reign. 

In some modern fantasy stories, however, the antagonist is a bit more relatable. In A Song of Ice and Fire (1996-ongoing), Cersei Lannister is cruel and devious. However, we are able to understand why she became that way, as she grew up with a cold father and was married off to a man who did not care. This becomes clear when she is made a viewpoint character in volume 4, enabling readers to gain access to her thoughts and feelings. Thus, in such cases it may be relevant to analyze how the story plays with reader sympathy. 

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