Judith Lepore’s monthly newsletter for fantasy lovers
Greetings from Kelowna, B.C., Canada, where spring has taken a very long time to…”sprung”? 😂 Now June is upon us, and the summer solstice looms. And I’m not even sure it’s spring yet!
Did you also have an unusually cold season when you expected balmier temperatures?
But I’m in Western Canada. Eastern Canada got a heat wave, so there was a different set of challenges. My editor in Ottawa said she wished she was here in Vancouver area…at the same time I was bemoaning that I wished I was there.
All the aberrant weather patterns got me thinking about the importance of seasons (and weather) in fantasy writing. The nature of this genre definitely lends itself to dramatic displays of the elements.
When I thought about seasons in epic fantasy, ‘WINTER IS COMING‘ popped instantly into my head. HBO’s production of George R.R. Martin’s saga “A Song of Ice and Fire” (aka “Game of Thrones“) successfully exploited that dramatic tagline to promote the series.
“Winter is coming!” was an ominous warning–not just for the harsh and prolonged winter about to pounce on the North, but also as a metaphor for other devastating assaults: the demonic zombie-like White Walkers, treacherous betrayal within the alliance of Northerners, and merciless attack from without…
The ultimate message: BUCKLE UP!!! (Jon Snow)
Guy Gavriel Kay is one of my favourite fantasy authors. Twenty years ago he wrote his very first novel, The Summer Tree, beginning a superlative trilogy: The Fionavar Tapestry. His writing since then has only gotten better…
The Summer Tree is a perfect example of how seasons/weather can be skilfully woven into fantasy to make it even more “epic.”
The story revolves around the odyssey of five Canadian university students (go Canada 🇨🇦!) who enter the ancient, first of all created worlds, Fionavar–becoming their own avatars in a good/vs evil struggle against Rakoth the Unraveller; who creates drought, wildfire and other “climate change” problems for the inhabitants.
When a selfish king refuses to sacrifice himself on The Summer Tree in order to appease the fiend, other heroes must step up to the plate. And they do.
This is a beautiful name–for a beautiful book.
Speaking of summer, June is my birthday month 😃🦋🥳! (No, I won’t tell you how old I am, even though we’re good friends).
The special thing about that is: my birthday falls on June 20, the last day of spring, before the Summer Solstice arrives.
So I’ve always felt a little mystical. Who knows, maybe it contributed to me becoming a fantasy author!
Ha ha ha…not a very flattering cartoon depiction of moi. I’ll post a REAL pic later on…
Speaking of talented female fantasy writers (😂) have you heard of Katherine Arden? She wrote The Winternight Trilogy, comprising of The Bear and the Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower, and The Winter of the Witch.
Her dramatic fantasy saga is a mash-up of Russian classics, folklore, mythology, and fairy tales. The writing in The Bear and the Nightingale is suspenseful, heartrending, lyrical and poetic:
“Before the end, you will pluck snowdrops at midwinter, die by your own choosing and weep for a nightingale.”
But I picked this one for the “seasons.”
Reviewers praised Arden’s novel for being “…the perfect seasonal read. You feel winter in your bones, and the frost demons waiting to snatch you up and take you to the end of the world.”
NOTE TO SELF: Do not read this book on my birthday! 🎂
No frost demons allowed at THE START OF SUMMER…😎
We’ve gone from winter…to summer…back to winter, in classic fantasy novels–both ends of the spectrum. Not surprising. The extreme seasons are great backdrops to the dramatic arcs in epic fantasy.
But some tales incorporate the whole meal deal with seasons. Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” springs to mind, as does “The Fifth Season.”
My own debut novel “Where the Moon Has Been” is segmented into seasonal parts:
1. The Berries of Summer
2. The Harvests of Autumn
3. The Howls of Winter
4. The Tears of Spring
5. The Mantling
6. Changing Seasons
I used the seasons to reflect the changes that were occurring to the characters, the evolving magic systems, as well as the organic world around them. The Mantling is a fictional term for a phenomenon that took place at the climax of my story. If you’ve read it, you will know what it is. If you haven’t, what are you waiting for ? 😉
See! I told you I’d post a more realistic picture…mind you, I think I have an unusual “glow-on” due to presiding over my first-ever book signing 🥰😉…
One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.
The above link is a giveaway contest to win a bundle of sci-fi and fantasy series starters! Potentially a great way to find your next good read! Enjoy.
As summer comes along, at its own pace, I wish you lots of fun and frolic in the sunshine; fresh air and freedom…and good reads lying in the tall grass beneath a blue sky!
Do you have a favourite fantasy read that uses the seasons as an effective tool/metaphor? I’d love to know what it is! Drop me a line 😊🌷. As a birthday gift 😉.
Talk to you next month 🙂
PS. Below is another review of my book. If you have read Where the Moon Has Been and enjoyed it, feel free to click on the review link below and add your feedback on Amazon, or post a review whatever platform you use .😀
WHERE THE MOON HAS BEEN
FIVE STAR READER REVIEW ON AMAZON
Happenstance led me to receiving an advance review copy of this amazing story. Lepore weaves a tapestry of characters, with lives intertwined through love and conflict, destiny and sacrifice. Writing through each character’s perspective, so much is revealed through their strengths and flaws. I was so enthralled I had to read it over again, just to revisit the vivid descriptions and stay a little longer in the world of Miraven. I’m very excited to read more from this new author.
EVEN THE BEST FANTASY CAN USE A LITTLE SEASON-ING
Judith Lepore’s monthly newsletter for fantasy lovers IMAGINE THAT Greetings