castallia (castallia) wrote in divertissements,

favorite fantasy series

I've been rereading both the LOTR books and the Harry Potter books as comfort reading, and it reminded me that I'll probably also reread Roger Zelazny's Amber chronicles soon as well; I read those books as a teenager and I really loved them. Is anyone else a Zelazny fan? What are a few of everyone's favorite fantasy books other than Tolkien's books?
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How funny; I've been re-reading LotR as well! Just finishing up the appendices before I start on RotK (I always read appendices first, for some reason).

For all my obsessive devotion to both LotR and Harry Potter, I'm really not a fan of fantasy literature as a genre. In fact, only Westerns and sci-fi rank higher on the list of genres I don't choose to read, which is really odd. I don't like stories that happen in alternate realities. I think the thing I appreciate most about HP is that it happens simultaneously in our world and the wizarding world, which anchors it for me somehow.

So, rather than picking just fantasy books, I'll pick the collected works of Stephen King. There's a lot of straight-up fantasy in his works -- the Dark Tower series, of course, and the books that touch on that world (The Stand, Black House, Eyes of the Dragon). And then there are books that, like HP, include an alternate universe but anchor it to the real world (Insomnia, Rose Madder, Lisey's Story, and in a sense, the literary experiment of Desperation and The Regulators). Then there are the tons of books that take place in the real world, but as imagined by King, where things don't have to be exactly the way they are in reality. Uncle Stevie is definitely my favorite "comfort reading."
Desperation is my favorite of King's books; it's strange that I wasn't that crazy about The Regulators, although it had a few moments. I liked the idea of the experiment of the parallel books, though.

I think I heard somewhere that the Dark Tower books are going to be filmed? What do you think of the idea?
I feel the same way about Desperation and The Regulators, actually. Happily, I read The Regulators first, and it was just not a very interesting book to me -- I didn't get invested in the characters, I think. I've actually only read it once, which makes it one of only perhaps four or five of SK's books in that category. On the other hand, Desperation is #3 on my list of all-time favorites, topped only by The Shining at #2 and Salem's Lot reigning as my favorite book of all time, not just of SK's but of any genre or author.

I've heard about the filming of the Dark Tower books. I don't really have a very strong opinion about it. It was inevitable, really, I guess, given the success of both LotR and the HBO series Deadwood, both of which have elements in common with it. I've read most of the series, but in truth, I've never finished it: the last, I think, three volumes in the series are literally the only books of SK's that I've never read. (It's the genre thing again; I just can't make myself care about things happening in an alternate/parallel reality, even though in later books the Dark Tower starts overlapping a little bit with our reality. Also, the Dark Tower books are sort of part fantasy, part Western, and just a little bit sci-fi, so it's the trifecta of genres I dislike. My dad, on the other hand, obsessed over them.)

Nevertheless, I'll definitely watch at least the first movie whenever it comes out. primroseburrows suggested that Viggo Mortensen would make a perfect Roland, and I agree so hard it's ridiculous -- he would be PERFECT for the role, and it would also be a beautiful piece of metanarrative continuity, because Tolkien was a HUUUUUUGE inspiration for the Dark Tower books, and Roland (though based on the Browning poem "Childe Roland from the Dark Tower Came," of course) is clearly in many ways analagous to Aragorn. SK's work often translates really, really crappily to film, I think -- I theorize that it's because SK is scary mainly because of what he DOESN'T show you, and it's almost impossible to translate that to the medium of cinema -- but I think Viggo could really tear up that role and make the movies successful. (But, sigh, I seriously doubt that he would take on a role so similar to one he's already played, especially if it required him to commit to a series of movies again.)

*rereads* For not having much of an opinion, I sure did blather a lot.
I haven't actually read the Dark Tower series yet; I have it on my bookshelf but somehow have never quite been in the mood for it--maybe because of the western aspect you mentioned. I've heard those books are really good as well as postmodern though, so I definitely intend to get to them eventually.
I've never found a fantasy series that I liked other than LotR. I often felt sort of cursed at finding Tolkien at the age of 10 ... it really did cut into my enjoyment of almost all other fantasy. So, I went into science fiction, instead.

As far as other series, I haven't actually read the entire series, but I did enjoy what I read of the Temeraire series so far (and looking forward to reading the rest). Having a dragon story set in the British Navy of the early 19th century was so weird that I almost didn't read it. Oddly, it works.
Oh, it made me seek out every fantasy book I could find; but there was never another one that I could call a favorite. I think I gave up around high school.

Yes, the Temeraire series is odd. Dragons in Jane Austen's England?? Talking dragons serving in the British Armed Forces?? Well, maybe not as odd as Jane Austen and zombies.