Tag: Fantasy

Santa Horror

Since the 18th century, when images of Santa Claus began to be disseminated through newspapers, books, and periodicals, his appearance has changed quite a bit. Often those earlier depictions are a tad grotesque, as much for what was considered appealing at the time as the skill of the artist and the means of reproduction. When …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 12/19/18: Santa’s Elves

Hard as it is to believe, Santa Claus did not always have elves for sidekicks. That tradition came from 19th century Scandinavia and drew on the deeper pagan roots of Northern Europe. Elves, pooka, fairies, and the like were all part of a greater folklore of diminuitive, humanlike creatures that lived alongside humans, often in …

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The Hermitess

She searches… but for what? This picture has enough stylistic similarities to Rapunzel and Speak no Evil that I suspect they’re all by the same artist (whose name I could not find, alas). Three morally ambiguous ladies.

Speak no Evil

When the Princess spoke kindly, pearls and roses would drop from her lips. But when she cursed, fowl serpents emerged. As she was a lover of salty language, the palace was soon full of snakes. But the Princess didn’t mind. She also had a yen for snakeskin.

Every Heart a Doorway [Review]

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire Tor Books, 2016 Every Heart a Doorway is a book that spans genres. It’s part YA, part horror, part old-timey Portal fantasy, and part magical boarding school fantasy, with a dollop of LGBTQ. It’s disturbing, in ways both unintentional and obvious. It won a Nebula award, yet could …

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The Lady and the Dragon, Part V

Women-as-dragon, as a concept, has been around since ancient times. In Greek myth creatures like Scylla, Echidna, and Medusa had monstrous or dragon-like aspects, as did Grendel’s mom from Beowulf. Norse myth spoke of the dragon Nidhogg that gnawed at the roots of the World Tree Yggdrasil. And of course, there’s Lilith and Tanit/Inanana/Ishtar. They …

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The Lady and the Dragon, Part IV

Portrayals of women with dragons continued to rise throughout the 1970s, boosted by the rising genre of adult comics, forerunners to today’s graphic novels.  The French magazine Metal Hurlant (Howling Metal) showcased many of these new artists like Caza, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Moebius, who later went on to design book covers and movie and TV …

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The Lady and the Dragon, Part III

Before the printing press and paper production on an industrial scale, there were very few mass-produced dragon depictions in popular culture. Most of the ones I referenced in Parts I and II of this series were oil paintings intended for the nobility or wealthy merchants, or in illuminated manuscripts for the Church. The majority of …

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The Lady and the Dragon, Part II

As I pointed out in The Lady and the Dragon I, dragons in Christianity are usually accompanied by women, not men. Here’s three more examples. A common depiction of Mary, Mother of God, shows her trampling a snake (keep in mind snake=dragon in Biblical text) underfoot, representing her victory over the Devil, or over evil …

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Worldbuilding Wednesday 9/19/18: Individual Dragons III

The earliest edition of  Dungeons and Dragons released in the late 1970s listed only ten different types of dragons for adventurers to test themselves against. The good-aligned ones were Metallic: Copper, Brass, Bronze, Silver, and Gold, while the evil ones were Chromatic and named after colors: Black, White, Blue, Red, and Green. Each type had …

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