Saturday, June 4, 2016
Keeping it real for fantasy warriors
Does it ever bother you when you’re watching a movie and someone gets shot in the shoulder but still runs up and down a mountain, gets in a fist fight, and isn’t even really bleeding 15 minutes later?
I enjoy fantasy but I can’t imagine away chunks of flesh flying loose from the upper body and not having to take a breather. If a warrior takes a bad wound, he better have a friend ready to jump in and defend him from the mortal blow. Then he’s going to need someone with surgical skills, magical power, or at least a few drops of regenerative extract of phoenix root.
Fantasy warriors can have mad skills, but acquiring them should take more training than can be fit into a fortnight. A really good fighter needs to work at it and stay in shape. Some mention of an athletic regimen should accompany these brave characters who draw swords with supreme confidence. A man who duels with a tribe’s select champion as just part of daily negotiating practice needs some established experience.
Like professional athletes, fantasy warriors need time to recover from injuries. For the sake of physical realism, even within a magical story, I prefer a character that has to endure some pain and vulnerability after a hard battle. This time of reflection can add nicely to story and character development too.
I’m not at all against magic being involved in recovery. Healing potions and spells are mainstays of fantasy stories, but they should not be thrown around like chocolates on Halloween. Magic requires energy and skill. Using it has costs and consequences.
What makes fantasy great in my opinion are elements beyond illegitimate levels of battle skill and lack of physical consequences. I enjoy the genre because of its willingness to indulge in raw primal physical conflict. A warrior really does solve problems with violence sometimes. That’s a fantasy that relieves the angry pressures that build up in people.
Reading about fantasy warriors gives escape from the confines of a mundane and belittling existence. It’s nice to imagine having the strength and skill to overcome enemies or deliver justice. But if he gets hit on the head or cut open with a sword, someone better have a healing spell ready, and the hero is going to need some bed rest with preferably a buxom maiden to fuss over him.
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Labels: fantasy writing