Magic, Fantasy and Fairy Tales.
Since I was a child I have fantasised about one day waking up and discovering I had a dormant magical power, something which would make me special, unique. Of course that day never came, although a small part of me is still waiting in anticipation. Fantasy worlds have existed for almost as long as humans have had imaginations (I assume) and I have been obsessed with them since my cognitive ability could understand fairy tales (very little). For some reason as we grow up we lose that wonder, our acceptance of the everyday world displaces the questions we once asked, the far off lands and magic we once dreamed of.
I’ve been clinging to fairy tales like a life raft. They’ve provided me with refuge, explanations and a place to believe in more than what I can see. Naturally given the chance at university I studied Fairy tales, Myths, Monsters and Magic. The range of texts I was able to study opened my eyes to the history that surrounds all that is magical and mysterious, one of the texts we studied was The Wonders of the East, which is found in the Beowulf manuscript (Cotton MS Vitellius A XV,). The Wonders of the East is filled with bizarre creatures, men with no heads and their faces in their chest, who are 8 feet tall and 8 feet wide. This text wasn’t deemed fantasy, it was an account of what people encountered on their travels, far away from the safety of medieval England. So why today do we accept that there are no more fantastical creatures to be discovered? We travel to find cultures that juxtapose our own, but we still only look on the surface.
What if there is a magical world hiding in plain sight?
How wonderful would that be?
Well until that happens (or until I randomly acquire special powers) I will lose myself in books, walk through their worlds in my mind, dwell in the magic between their pages. There are more books that contain magical and fantasy lands than I can comprehend. Until February 28th the British Library are hosting an exhibit which I can’t wait to go to: Harry Potter: A History of Magic. Now I’m not a hard-core Harry Potter fan, I really enjoyed the books and films, and I think J.K.Rowling is an incredible author and has a wonderful imagination but I don’t remember every detail (including spells) as I know many fans that do. I’m more interested in the manuscripts that will be displayed, and the inspiration behind the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
And so as it is Wednesday I will reveal what writing challenge I have set for myself, as you can you probably guess it has something to do with fantasy. Without further ado; this weeks writing challenge is to write a fairy tale based off of the photo below.
This photo was taken at a Temple in Japan, he guarded the entrance from within a wooden cage.
Hopefully I will do him justice.
Let me know if any of you are thinking about or have been to the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition at the British Library! I’d love to hear your opinions!