1. Ged
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    Ged Senior Member

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    "Medieval" fantasy

    Discussion in 'Fantasy' started by Ged, Feb 1, 2010.

    I bet you guys are tired of me and my fantasy threads. Eh, you'll have to bear through with it. :p

    What exactly makes medieval fantasy? By that I mean medieval fantasy that doesn't take place in our world.

    Is it the use of swords and armours? Or what exactly? Because almost all fantasy books I read up till now have swords and armours but aren't categorised as "medieval."

    Is it the presence of new and fantastical creatures? In this case, HDM is medieval... except it isn't.
     
  2. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    They are categorized as Sword and Sorcery, but one of the typical features of that sub-genre is a medival-like setting.
     
  3. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Don't call it medieval writing. You cannot base something on the 'medieval era' any more than you can base something on the 'Victorian era.' It includes thousands of civilisations from across the world, from 600AD to 1453AD. It's just a phrase that people use to describe swords and sorcery, which often misleads most writers into writing about a generic medieval world that didn't actually exist - and therefore is nothing but fan fiction of another popular book, with different characters and a different world.

    Go into it with an open mind. If you want medieval, then make sure it is medieval. If not, then why bother? Just make up what you want.
     
  4. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    Medieval fantasy describes multiple genres. Low fantasy generally deals with characters like Drizzt Do’Urden, who is involved in a personal struggle to fit into a human dominated world. High fantasy deals with large scale events, often interpreting what is good and evil. Frodo is a character involved in high fantasy. Both of these are medieval fantasy, however, since the technology is similar to Europe in the Dark Ages.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Essentially wat you are looking for is a fantasy set in a backdrop of Iron Age technology, extending forward to the time of bow weapons (simple bow, longbow, crossbow, even the compound bow). It generally excludes widespread knowledge of chemical explosives and explosion-driven projectile weapons (guns and rockets), although there may be enemies using "magical" explosions. Transportation is mostly limited to foot travel or animals, some drawing wagons.
     
  6. essential life
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    essential life Member

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    George RR Martin writes what I would call "medieval fantasy". Check him out for a good example.
     
  7. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I have a question. Based on Cogito's post on bows, would it be a turn off for an agent if you just refer to a bow as a bow, rather than the specific type? Same question for other weapons, wagons, etc. I use short sword or long sword. Is this really stupid? I use wagon, or carriage, if I'm feeling fancy. Of course, I will change this in the long run, supposing it is frowned upon.
     
  8. B-Gas
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    B-Gas Contributing Member

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    I don't know about agents, but specificity is only useful when it helps the story. An archer who uses a double-reinforced compound bow that can put an arrow through a mature tree is different than a longbowman famous for his accuracy at obscenety-inducing range, which is different again from the regiment of crossbowmen, each gripping his loaded weapon tightly as the crashing noises get louder and louder.

    But saying what kind of crossbow is probably not necessary, nor is it necessary to explain how a bow looks. If the weapon's ornate design tells us something about the user- a powerful ivory-reinforced shortbow with gold detailing and rubies, filthy now from years of hard use in war, now so irrevocably warped from being strung for weeks on end that the lions near the handle look more like snakes- then it's good to tell us that. If the only difference is going to be another level of detail about the weapon, it can safely be cut.
     
  9. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    Medieval longbows were personal to the user. They were normally about the same height as the bowman (not 'archer'), and varied slightly in thickness according to pulling strength, because the longbow was made from one single piece of yew. If the wood was different, it could indicate that the bowman came from another region or country.

    Similarly, the size and weight of a broadsword depends on the strength of the user. I seem to remember seeing in Warwick Castle a broadsword that was almost impossible for the average man to lift, so the user must have been a mighty figure, especially in those times.

    So, the appearance of the weapon can sometimes indicate something about the user, and you may want to describe it in this case. Not otherwise, maybe.
     
  10. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I seriously doubt any agent would care about that kind of detail, watson.
     
  11. jwatson
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    jwatson Active Member

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    I doubt that as well. I think it would do well for a little bit of descrpitions regarding weapons, but I haven't gone into any immediate detail... Thank you for your replies.
     
  12. MsMyth71
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    MsMyth71 Senior Member

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    This.

    He's a wonderful author. I think he really transcends the genre, myself.
     
  13. Twisted Inversely
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    Twisted Inversely Senior Member

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    It not just about getting the physical details right it's the attitudes as well. A lot of fantasy writers basically do modern characters with modern values in a period setting. Several people have mention George RR Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series as an example of good, nay excellent, example of medieval fantasy, he does not do this.
     

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