Response to “The Quest For Fantasy’s Power”

by on February 20, 2013

Responses Takes
Illustration by Sally ScopaIllustration by Sally Scopa

For a generation that prides itself on self-awareness and being hip to the complexity of cultural referents, we allow blind spots for the most intimate topics. Despite the ubiquitous personal technology,whohaswritten directly about Facebook or Apple Inc.? Despite the recent prominence of Fantasy in contemporary storytelling, few address it without sighing, as Christopher Hitchens did in his review of the final Harry Potter, that it’s finally over.

There are historians of Fantasy proper, who probe the source of its major tropes: dark woods, castles, rogues, duels, adventuring women, a hero borne by Fate, and mingling with the animal realm. Yet those who are serious about High Adventure are often too eager to push aside the Potters and Paranormal Teen Fiction as shallow distractions—only perfunctorily thanking them for helping bookstores make rent.

Writing about a generation is dangerous, but writing earnestly about Harry Potter, which we started in middle-school,is even more treacherous still. Nevertheless, Sanders takes that path and avoids any easy way out. What other story so dominated our Popular Culture of the 2000s? What can we learn about young America from it? It’s an important question.

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