Let's first look at the definition of Epic
The word is derived from the Latin "epicus", and from
the Greek "epikos"
1.An extended narrative
poem in elevated or dignified language, celebrating the feats of
a legendary or traditional hero.
2. A literary or dramatic composition that resembles an extended
narrative poem celebrating heroic feats.
As an adjective
1 Of, constituting, having
to do with, or suggestive of a literary epic: an epic poem.
2. Surpassing the usual or ordinary, particularly in scope or size:
A vast landscape.
3. Heroic and impressive in quality
So "Epic has two
components. Heroic and vast. In an Epic there is a hero or heroic
feats and the setting is vast in scope -often a complete world.
look at the definition of Fantasy.
1. The creative imagination;
unrestrained fancy. See Synonyms at imagination.
2. Something, such as an invention, that is a creation of the fancy.
3. A capricious or fantastic idea; a conceit.
4 a.Fiction characterized
by highly fanciful or supernatural elements.
b. An example of such fiction.
So fantasy is defined
as creative imagination and characterized by highly fanciful or
SO EPIC + FANTASY
So we put the two together
and we get a story of creative imagination that has a hero and or
heroic feats and that takes place on an epic scale.
Epic Fantasy is generally
accepted today to be a sub-genre of Fantasy. The plot line usually
centers on one person that develops through hardship and quest from
a seemingly average person into a hero that performs heroic feats
of might or magic -overcoming challenges that are epic in scope.
Usually the whole world laid out in the piece is at stake.
Although often times
in the work of Epic Fantasy it is discovered that the "average
person" is actually of noble blood line or in possession of
previously unknown special skills -typically magical in nature.
The setting for the piece
is often one that has a Middle Ages flavor complete with swords,
castles, and a magical scheme. Although many successful Epic Fantasy
works have used other settings such as The
Development of the
One of the most important
aspects of Epic Fantasy is the development of the main character
through the story. And this often follows a tried and true formula
of classic steps that a Hero must undertake. This series of steps
has been laid out by Joseph Campbell in his work The
Hero's Journey and they include steps like
- The Call to adventure
- Where our average person is called to undertake a journey
- Supernatural Aid -
Where a mentor or guide is found (Usually a wizard)
- The Road of Trials
- A series of tasks and ordeals that our hero to be has to undergo
on the road to his or her transformation.
Put it all together!
Epic Fantasy is a subgenre
of fantasy and very similar to high-fantasy where a seemingly average
person undergoes many trials and ordeals which develop him or her
into a hero capable of heroic feats needed to thwart challenges
of an epic scale. The work takes place in an imaginitive world and
often the setting is Medieval in nature, complete with swords, castles,
strange creatures and a magical system.