We’re picking at a deep cut with a callback to our very first episode. Given the current geo-political climate, the themes of dystopian fiction seem to be on the tip of everyone’s tongue. With Jackson having recently finished A Handmaid’s Tale, (at least one of) your hosts had those same themes sitting fresh in the brain. Considering the depth of the topic, it was not difficult to continue where we left off and dig a little deeper into the worlds and words of Orwell, Huxley, and Atwood.
This week, to take your mind off the real world implications of this discussion, here are some things:
This week you should play Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds
It is upon this fine occasion that your liege-lords Jackson and Daniel have decreed that they shall discuss the finer points of chivalric value. The journey of the knightly archetype from Arthurian legend to the Paladins of D&D shall be charted, so that you too may walk the path of the righteous.
And lo, your hosts shall also guide you into temptation:
Jackson and Daniel are back with another episode of Player’s Guide. This week they are talking about gods in fiction – especially fantasy. There are not many features of the genre that blur the line between whole-cloth creation and adapted myth to the same degree as deities. And with religion and faith being alive and well in the real world, playing with the idea of gods is a great way to create vivid and incisive commentary.
In addition to diving into this rather meaty (so much meat that there will be a second part) topic, your hosts also bust out the recommendations:
This week you should read The Inheritance Trilogy by NK Jemisin
This week you should play Nier: Automata and the other games created and influenced by Yoko Taro
This week, we have an episode about magic. That’s magic with a small “m” – I bet you were worried that your hosts had fallen off the wagon.
Jackson and Daniel discuss the use of magic in fiction. Introducing the arcane into a story fundamentally changes the nature of its narrative. Magic is a very powerful storytelling tool, and with great power comes great responsibility. Your hosts explore some things to keep in mind if you want your story or game to be both magical and compelling.
And of course, they recommend things as well:
This week you should watch Neon Genesis: Evangelion
This week you should listen to Run the Jewels 3 by Run the Jewels
This week Jackson and Daniel are riffing off of their world-building episode from the days of yore. The topic this week is tropes associated with fantasy races; why they exist, and how you can play with them to make a fantasy world your own.
If that description sounds a little esoteric, that’s because it is! Enjoy!
There are, as always, recommendations waiting for you at the end… or right here:
This week you should play Guilty Gear Xrd
This week you should definitely watch Bojack Horseman season 3
This week you should read Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Also, as promised, here is the article that inspired this week’s episode:
Welcome back to the ongoing saga of fantasy tropes. I feel like this continuing odyssey could be seen as a meta-commentary on the size and scope of most fantasy epics… But I might be overthinking things. Anyways, from ancient fables to How to Train Your Dragon, there are few creatures that are more readily associated with fantasy than the dragon. This week Jackson and Daniel take a look at the origins of the winged beasts, some of their finest appearances, and what makes a dragon an effective character.
Startlingly, none of the recommendations this week are dragon related:
This week you should play Smite
This week you should read The Sculptor by Scott McCloud
This week you should watch Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
This week Jackson and Daniel talk about goblins! One of the staple races in pop-culture fantasy, goblins have experienced a long evolution from their roots in folklore to their varied modern uses. Using goblins as a starting point, your hosts talk about the problematic ideas behind the concept of an “evil race” and how painting your world in broad strokes can lead to a boring story.
And of course, they wrap things up by telling you:
This week you should watch Better Call Saul
This week you should play Castle Shikigami 2
This week you should read Dragons by Graeme Base (or all of his books, really)