Twisted Fantasy Comparison
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Harry PotterThe MagiciansStar WarsThe Dark TowerSong of Ice and FireBroken Earth
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ElementFantasyDescriptionJ. K. RowlingTraditional?TwistedLev GrossmanTraditional?TwistedGeorge LucasTraditional?TwistedStephen KingTraditional?TwistedGeorge R. R. MartinTraditional?TwistedN. K. JemisinTraditional?Twisted
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EnvironmentMedievel European StasisA romantic version of feudal Europe with castles, knights, horses, etc. Technology is not past steel making. No electricity, etc.Hogwarts3The story is set in modern times with the magical community living amongst the "Muggles" or mundane people. However, due to magic, their technological advancements are stunted and many of the dwellings and devices have a feel that is at least Steampunk if not Medieval. Hogwarts castle itself is straight out of Medieval fantasy with secret rooms and passages, tapestry, towers, dungeons, and gargoyles.
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Free LandsLands outside the Evil Empire.
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ArcadiaQuiet countryside utopia in dangered by Evil Empire. (The Shire)Weasley Home??2Not a geographic land, but a representative home of good wizards spread throughout the world in the magical community.
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KingdomSmall geographic area, but with a wealth of good energy or power to battle the spreading Evil Empire. The Damsel in Distress on a national scale. Kingdoms often require a Fisher King to work properly.Hogwarts2Not a village or castle but a school that houses all the "good" Harry knows.
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Evil EmpireLands conquered by the Dark Lord. Example of what Arcadia will become if the Dark Lord is allowed to win. (Mordor)4The "Evil Empire" is spreading through the "Free Lands" instead of on some far off horizon. More like an internal cancer.
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Dark Tower of OminousnessSeat of the Dark Lord's power.Ministry of Magic4Voldemort moves around maintaining several secret locations. The closest to this description is the Ministry of Magic after it is turned dark in the later books of the series.
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Lost ForestOld growth forest that obscures the sunlight. Nature and magic has run amok and man is not welcome. Sometimes home to Ents.Woods outside of Hogwarts.1
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ElementsWorld Other than Our OwnMagical Community1
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MythopoeiaWorld Building, complex back story.Long history of magical community fighting dark magic threat prior to the story start.1
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Supernatural and Mythical Elements Ghosts, curses, werewolves, vampires, people who change into something else, magic, etc.Incorporates a long list of magical people and elements, mythical creatures and races, ghosts, magical objects and places.1
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Functional MagicMagic that follows consistent rules within the story.Alchemy based magic that requires:
-Specific words and pronounciation
-Ingredients or Tools (wand)
-Genetic gift of magic
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One HopeHarry Potter must defeat Voldemort1
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The Meek shal save the EarthHuberous blinds the Overlord to the abilities of a seemingly weak protagonist.
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EpicWorld change on a grand scale. The End of the World as We Know It--Character goals and conflict have global effects.Defeat Voldemort or the world will be a cruel place and the Muggles will be enslaved. Genetic purity will become important.1
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Power PoliticsWar, Revolts, Death of Nations.War between good and evil magicians. Racism is a defining characteristic of the evil wizards.3War is fought covertly. The war is covert from the other magicians for much of the series but in later books it is still covert from the Muggles.
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Black and White morality without gray areas.Good and evil wizards are starkly defined for the most part.2There is some grayness--What kind of man is Dumbledore? Is Harry by nature good or evil? Is Snape a good or bad person? The conversion of the Slytherins
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Sneeky VictoryIn High Fantasy the victory comes through some small, unexpected act. Brute force victory is more a Heroic Fantasy trope.The victory is through a sacrificial act and the use of the Deathly Hallows Wand.1
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Cool HorseOften magical, super smart, super big, or able to do battle with little training.Nimbus 20004Broomsticks substituted for horses.
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Emerging from the ShadowsSomeone's face, or whole body, is kept in shadows until just the right moment to come out and show his/her face to the other characters and/or the audience.Snape5Snape remains "in the shadows" until the last moments of the final book of the series. Instead of physically being in the shadows, his moral nature is obscure to Harry because he is a double agent.
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DragonsDragons present1
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PropheciesProf. Trelawney
Hall of Prophecies
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Quest/Fetch-Quest/Plot CouponsCharacters are sent to retrive or acquire specific things they will need later for plot resolution. The journey to find these items is usually more important to character building than the item itself is to the plot.Multiple from the quest for the Philosopher's Stone to the items of the Deathly Hallows.1
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Feeling that Destiny is in Control, not Free-WillOccasional extraordinary acts of heorism can change destiny.Hard to say.2Rowling plays with us on this, going back and forth between destiny and free will.
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Dark MagicMagic involved in suffering, control, and death. WARNING: Using this magic might corrupt the user or take a physical toll. Corrupted users whose life is shortened due to the physical demands of this magic's use are likely to seek immortality.Forbidden Curses match up exactly. Unclear that they corrupt or take a physical/ mental toll on the body.1
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Many Subplots that Unite in a thematic way to create the Larger Plot
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GarbTunics
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Capes/CloaksSeveral people born to the community wear capes or ropes.1
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ArmorPresent in the Hogwarts castle only. Not used by characters.2
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Pointy HatsMost wizards will wear pointy hats at functions exclusive to magical folk.1
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WeaponsCool SwordUsually magical.Sword of Gryffindor
Deathly Hallows Wand
4Wands are largely substituted for swords.
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Artifact of DoomMacGuffin (inanimate object) that everyone in the story is seeking due to its supposed power. Often the power is pure evil and the object has a palpable presence. Using the object may take a toll like corrupting the user. Some want to weild it. Others want it destroyed. (The One Ring)Deathly Hallows Artifacts3There are three items instead of just one. The items do not seem to corrupt the user or take a physical toll on the user.
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ArchitectureCastlesHogwarts1
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Masonary BuildingsHogsmeade1
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DungeonPotions Classroom4Used as a classroom for the Potions Master.
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Underground TunnelsSeveral. Mostly to Hogsmeade1
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Characters
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AntagonistEvil OverlordFundamentally evil, ambitious, corrupt and powerful guy who seeks dominion over the world.Voldemort1
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Dark ForcesArmy of loyalist to the Dark Lord. Often these characters seek their own power within the structure of the Evil Empire.Death Eaters1
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The HordeUnstructured barbaric forces in huge numbers.
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Decadent CourtNot-so-noble nobles whose back-stabbing, court drama interferes with the day to day running of the kingdom. See Song of Ice and Fire.2The Ministry of Magic seems concerned with the trivial and helps Voldemort in the ultimate conflict.
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ProtagonistReluctant, Home-Loving HeroHarry Potter4Harry hates his home. But he loves his school. He reluctantly motivated to do battle with Voldemort to save his school and his school mates who are is adopted family.
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Farm Boy who Save the Day
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Secret Crime Fighting LegacyHarry's parents were in the Order of the Phoenix prior to their deaths.3Harry's mother's charm saves him on several occasions. He may have the skills of both his parents in sports and in fighting evil, but his father is kind of an asshole.
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Relatable Protagonist or Side KickOften the story is told from the POV of someone the reader can picture as himself. Not Connan the Barbarian but a friend of Connan who is too whimpy to wield a weapon perhaps. Or if it is Connan, we start when Connan was wimpy and show how he got strong.Harry is an abused child living in a cupboard under the stairs. If anything, he is less than average in the "special" category at the beginning of the story. He is also submissive and bullied by his adoptive brother.3This is over-the-top conformity to this general principle.
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Nonconformist
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MeekMeek at the beginning of the novel at least. Sometimes, like Frodo, meek through the end. The powerful, evil Overlord discounts the meek, and in his huberous overlooks the danger that ultimately destroys the Overlord.
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Alliances
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-Blood BrothersTwo platonic mates who do everything together. Despite platonic relationship, they act like old married couple.Harry and Ron1
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-Power TrioTwo people in group act as foils and the third is the moderator.Harry, Ron and Hermione1
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-4 Girl Ensemble
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-5 Man (Race) BandLeader, Lancer, Smart Guy, Gig Guy, Chick
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-7 Samurai
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Mystical Mentor TeacherDumbledore mostly although Harry has many teachers of the mystical.1
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RacesUsually 5 Races4There are races and they are used to illustrate how the Wizarding World descriminates against other magical beings.
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Humans3Come in magical and nonmagical varieties.
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Little PeopleMagic using, cute, diminutive, comic relief character. Hobbits, gnomes, leprachon, fairies, brownies.3Gnomes, but they are not cute or cuddly.
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DwarvesGruff, practical, industrious, stout, gold-loving, blunt-speaking with a Scottish accent, Viking, booze loving, elf-hating, unimaginitive, boastful character with a beard and an axe who lives underground.Hagrid??5Hagrid fits a lot of this description except that he is definitely not motivated by gold. The twist is that he is a giant instead of a dwarf. Instead of an axe, he wields a pink umbrella.
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ElvesImmortal or long-lived snob with magical powers. Physically delicate but proud and scholarly. Well dressed with great bling and skilled at magical item manufacturing. Lives in gleeming, cities or hidden cities.House Elves5House elves are the smallest of the races and the most humble and poorly dressed. Instead of being superior to Humans, they are enslaved by them.
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GnomesTiny people with white beards and pointy hats who live in your garden. Usually good natured.Garden Gnome pests.3They are cranky, biting pests.
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TrollsBig, ugly, brutal, stupid, carnevores. Hangout under bridges. Turn to stone in sunlight.1
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OrcsCorrupted or evil Elves.Goblins3In perhaps the most ironic twist they are bankers of the wizarding world. Their allegiance seems neutral--neither good or bad.
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People of Hair ColorIn less of a melting pot Medieval Europe, people of the same area/village had similar appearance. Hair color used to distinguish people as belonging to a certain group.Weasleys2The red hair of the Weasleys sets them apart.
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CastMGM size Cast1
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Fighter/WarriorKnight, Swashbuckler, Paladin, Dragon Knight, Barbarian, Monster Knight, Samuria, Warlord, Cavalier, Fuedal LordAurors5Skilled at magical fighting instead of swords.
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MagicianGifted, Theargist, Summoner, Vancian, Red Mage (Specific Power), Blue Mage (Mimic), Necromancer, Illusionist, Elementist, Druid, ShamanThe whole magical community.4Live apart from the Muggle world instead of among us and helping us with quests, etc.
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RogueThief, Assassin, Gambler, Ninja, Shadow, Bandit, Pirate, Scout
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ClericPriest, Battle Priest, Witch Doctor, Templar, Red Mage
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RangerSniper, Mercinary, Dual weapn class wielder, Beast Master Ranger, Trapper, Mage Ranger
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Magic Knight
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BardSinger, Dancer, Cantor (sings magical hymns), Skald (Battle journalist who makes up songs about battle), Martial Arts Monk
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BeastmanAnimagi3Learned skill of high level magicians.
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EngineerArthur Weasley3Instead of making useful things that no one else can make, he is fascinated by the things Muggles make and reinvents several of them.
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AlchemistProf. Snape1
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PsychicProf. Trelawney3Mostly a charlatan, she has the occasional real vision but is unaware of them.
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Princes
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Princess
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Simple FolkMuggles4Muggles are completely unaware of this struggle or that they are being protected. They are also seen as dangerous to the magical due to their large numbers and occasional violence.
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Mysterious Wandering WizardProf. Lupin5Wandering due to secret that he is a werewolf.
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Lost HeirUsually the estranged heir to the throne.Heir of Slytherin5"Lost heir" is on the bad side and is not really an heir of anything.
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The Choosen OneHarry Potter1From the moment he is at Leaky Cauldron he is recognized by his scar as chosen.
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Fisher KingThe land or kingdom is closely tied to the well being of the king. When the king is not in power or the king is corrupted or ill, the land falters and succumbs to failed crops, famine, disease.Dumbledore?3Hogwarts goes to hell when Dumbledore is not present.
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