Before people wrote down stories, the whimsical orations of fantasy worlds and fantastical events were the entertainment of a population. As such, fantasy has garnished a reputation that seems to demand certain elements be involved in the tale lest it no longer be considered fantasy. This tends to involve magic, people who can use magic and more often than not, a bunch of white guys. Young white guys, old white guys…super old white guys. Clearly, fantasy has not been a shining example of diversity from its beginnings.
However, lately, more writers are branching out from fantasy clichés and introducing increasingly realistic and diverse elements into their plotlines. Characters of color, characters who are attracted to the same sex, characters with disabilities and even characters dealing with substance abuse. This isn’t a ploy to make their story stand out…it’s a way to make it real! Even in a fantasy world, not everyone should be a straight, white man. Our stories should reflect that.
Yes, this might be a prospect that freaks out some fantasy purists, but the times are changing and it’s time the fantasy does too. There needs to be more characters in these wonderful worlds that face challenges that minority groups experience. Think back to classics like Lord of the Rings or Narnia or even Harry Potter. The diversity is slim to none in all of those titles. That isn’t to say a diverse cast can’t be popular with the larger population. Of course it can! In fact, it could thrive based on its diversity alone. If it has a killer plot and interesting worldbuilding like those staples of fantasy, imagine the progress the genre could make?
Is there a group of type of character you’d like to see more in fantasy?
Is there a character or book that you feel represents minorities well?
Share your thoughts and together we can encourage a new generation of all-inclusive fantasy novels.