What is Medieval Fantasy?

One of the first things that come to mind when thinking of medieval fantasy is the idea of knights in shining armor. This image is often portrayed in movies and books, but it is not necessarily accurate.

The reality is that life during the Middle Ages was difficult and dangerous. In the medieval era, people often did not live very long due to diseases and poor sanitary conditions.

Despite these challenges, however, many people still look back at the Middle Ages with nostalgia. This may be because it was a time when people had strong community ties and lived more simply than we do today. In medieval fantasy, this simpler life is often exaggerated and combined with elements of magic and enchantment. This can create a fascinating and unique world that readers or viewers can escape into.

Medieval fantasy can also be used to explore serious topics in a new way. For example, many stories set in a medieval world deal with the conflict between good and evil. This can provide a unique perspective on these age-old ideas. Medieval fantasy allows us to explore medieval history in a new way.

How did Medieval Fantasy Originate?

Medieval fantasy is a genre of fiction that typically takes place in a setting reminiscent of the Middle Ages. The term was first coined in the late 19th century and is used to describe works of fiction set in various parts of Europe during the Middle Ages, as well as works set in imaginary worlds that borrow heavily from medieval European culture.

The roots of medieval fantasy fiction can be traced back to ancient mythology and folklore. In particular, many elements of medieval fantasy are believed to have been inspired by the tales of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Other early examples include the novels Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott and The Once and Future King by T.H. White.

However, it was not until the late 19th century that the genre began to take shape. In 1871, William Morris published one of his epic fantasy novels, The Wood Beyond the World, which is often credited with launching the medieval fantasy genre. Other key works from the medieval period include The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit.

Since then, medieval fantasy has continued to grow in popularity, with new authors and works being added to the genre all the time.

Features of Medieval Fantasy

Medieval fantasy is a type of story that typically takes place in a medieval setting, with knights, medieval castles, and other elements of that time period. It often includes magic and other fantastical elements as well.

One of the most common features of medieval fantasy is the presence of dragons. These creatures can be both good and evil and play an important role in the story.

Another common feature is the use of swords and other weapons. These can be used for both fighting and magical purposes.

Medieval fantasy stories often take place in a world where there are two main factions: good and evil. The heroes usually fight against the villains to protect the innocent people of their world.

Finally, one of the most defining features of medieval fantasy is the setting itself. The world is often dark and dangerous, with a lot of magic and mystery lurking in the shadows.

Negative Aspects of Medieval Fantasy

There are a few negative aspects of medieval fantasy that should be mentioned. One is the way women are often portrayed in these stories. They are often damsels in distress who need to be saved by the brave and noble male hero.

Another issue is the violence and gore that is often present in these tales. Many people find it disturbing and inappropriate. Finally, there is the fact that medieval fantasy often glorifies war and violence. This can lead to dangerous ideas and attitudes.

Some Popular Medieval Fantasy Books

The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings is one of the most classic and most-loved stories of all time. This timeless tale of good vs. evil, friendship, and adventure has captivated readers for generations.

This classic follows the adventures of Frodo Baggins and his fellow Hobbits as they quest to destroy the Ring and save Middle Earth from the dark forces of Sauron.

A truly magical story filled with larger-than-life characters and thrilling action, The Lord of the Rings is a book that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. If you’re looking for an unforgettable adventure, then this fantasy novel is for you!

The World of Ice & Fire by George R. R. Martin, Elio M. García Jr, Linda Antonsson

The World of Ice and Fire is an excellent read for any book enthusiast. It is through the stunning illustrations and additional information included in this book that you will gain a deeper understanding of how George RR Martin imagined the world. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or simply interested in the history of Westeros, this book is a must-have!

Deryni by Katherine Kurtz

The Deryni series is a must-read for anyone interested in medieval politics and magic. Set in a world where psychic humans called Deryni wield power, this series is full of intrigue, religion, and action. If you’re looking for an engaging and exciting read, look no further than the Deryni series.

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

The Chronicles of Narnia is a fantastic medieval series complete with kings and queens, epic battles of good and evil, and religious overtones. Here you will find adventure at every turn as you set out to defend Narnia and return the throne to its rightful lineage. With unforgettable characters and thrilling plotlines, The Chronicles of Narnia is sure to captivate readers, young and old alike.

The Once and Future King by T.H. White

The Once and Future King by T.H. White has enchanted readers of all ages. The book combines historical accuracy with fantastical elements, bringing together sweet, innocent characters with savage, sword-wielding psychopaths, as well as wistful reflections on the wonderful possibilities of the world and the somber realities of the world as it is. It’s a book that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike.

Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan

The Ranger’s Apprentice book series is a must-read for anyone who loves adventure and excitement. Set in medieval Europe, the story follows an orphan protagonist who seeks to protect the kingdom from evil invaders.

The series is full of non-stop action, suspense, and mystery, making it impossible to put down. With strong characters and an engaging plot, Ranger’s Apprentice series can be a great read for all ages.


While the medieval genre may seem like an outdated genre to some, it remains popular with many readers who enjoy escaping into another world. If you’re looking for something new to read or want to start writing in this genre yourself, we hope our list has given you some ideas.

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