An interesting thought hit my mind recently; a thought about the various "ripples" and "waves" we have seen in fantasy, especially in recent history. I am sure you can extrapolate this theory way back to the past (and I hope it will be somewhat applicable for the future), as it is a pretty baseline observation of a trend. One big work defines the next couple years' style, themes and structures. This isn't unknown, happened with warships, with periods of literature, with architecture, guns, even with smartphones. This thread's about the observed trends in fantasy, each sparked by a major piece. And of course, under fantasy, I'll also include movies, tabletop and video games as I judge the writing for these all follow common trends and ripples. Whether by coincidence (being more conscious of the genre) or an actual trend, I feel like these "fashion waves" are more and more prominent each after the other. The first major wave I want to mention is the "Dungeons and Dragons" wave; an era mostly in the 90s that defined fantasy with mythological creatures and elaborate sword & sorcery worlds. I mentioned D&D because I consider this period to be sparked by a switch from "Conanesque" to "Forgotten Realms" fantasy; the world, books and games most defining the period. This was also a golden age of early fantasy games with some of the most famous ones created, all following this general trend/idea (Might & Magic franchise, precisely Heroes of Might and Magic, the early Elder Scrolls games and the "Six big RPGs" all based on the Forgotten Realms world. This was also the era for most of Wheel of Time c The second I judge was a wave sparked by the resurgence of Tolkienism through the LOTR movie trilogy. The last of the six big forgotten realms RPGs was published the same year Two Towers came out. Similarly, it was the same year Morrowind smashed the market which was the last Elder Scrolls game with a prominent alien / D&Desque style. Neo-Tolkienism promoted epic fantasy, familiar environments and cosmic struggles. Can really mention the Mistborn series here and the sheer change some fantasy worlds encountered: the shift in the Elder Scrolls universe from "alien and strange" to "cozy and familiar", and a similar shift in the Warcraft universe at the same time also extending to the various novels published (which started during this "era"). Mind, however, that the Warcraft change happened parallel with the ... Third is the most interesting to me; the very definition of a "quick fad", the "viking era". Something that still grinds my gears, there was a quick succession of seemingly "random" viking-inspired fantasy works published in a quick succession between 2010 and 2013 - some of these in production/writing somewhat earlier. Even weirder, some franchises / worlds had a whole period dedicated to the "viking fad". So far my tracing goes: Warcraft Universe (2008 Frozen Throne) - How to Train Your Dragon (2010) - Skyrim/ES Universe (2011), Vikings series (2012-2013). What is firm that both the Warcraft & Elder Scrolls universe "shifts" were in planning/preparations as early as 2007 (the year of the semi-flop Beowulf). Know anything about this? Have a clue where this originates from? Do share; I'm ... perplexed. Fourth comes the most recent; the rise of gritty/low/dark fantasy sparked rather obviously by the success of HBO's Game of Thrones series and also ended by the ridiculous failure of HBO's Game of Thrones series. Easy to define the timeframe; 2011 to 2019. An interesting precursor to this "fad" is the Witcher series which predates the GoT series, but was "pushed" parallel with it and now became a somewhat prominent alternative with books, games and now even a series dedicated to it. I may have felt this far more than the others because I mostly abandoned reading fantasy at this point in favour of active roleplay, lore writing and participation - and oh boy, wherever you went in the mid 2010s people were trying to emulate GRRM's great houses (if not straight-up copy them), often with cringe-worthy results. It is, however, clearly over. Or so I feel. Man that last season DESTROYED the sub-genre's appeal. So fast its flames were snuffed it is unbelievable the series only ended a year ago. Once more, somewhat ignorant of trends in traditional written literature, I have seen some resurgence of Roman/Greek themes (but that may have simply been my historical fiction reading skewing my spectrum of vision). There was also a brief "opening to the East" in multiple fantasy worlds and franchises at the time of China's entry to the web-market, most of that over by now. Ironically, the very entry to the market that prompted eastern-themed expansions, books, additions and works has been quenched by the Beijing government through their recently imposed regulations. What do you think of these ripples? What do you think will be the "next big fad"? Perhaps you can add onto or contest my interpretation of prior fads; all in all I am skewed to reading/consuming franchises present both in literature and video games.