Saturday, March 10, 2018

Fantasy Tag Fest

Much as I enjoy being tagged, doing tags, and tagging other bloggers, I don't get around to it that often! Maybe it's because I sheepishly feel like I'm not offering real content when I do one?* So it's with an even more sheepish grin today that I dust off not one, but two fantasy-themed tags that have been sitting in my drafts for a while. The always lovely Deborah O'Carroll passed on the Life Lessons Learned from Fantasy tag a WHOLE YEAR AGO. (#oops) And the recently-featured-here-because-she-just-released-a-new-book Jenelle Schmidt tagged me just last month for the What If...? Fantasy Tag. Thanks, you two!

*How do you guys feel about that, anyway?

Both tags actually originated with Jenelle, who invented February is Fantasy Month! . . . Yes, we are ignoring the fact that it is now March. In true fantasy style, I am being a wizard who is never late but arrives precisely when she intends to. So there.

Let's jump right in, shall we?

Life Lessons Learned from Fantasy


1. Link back to Jenelle's blog. (Done.)
2. Use the image above. (Also done.)
3. Tell us 5-10 lessons you've learned from reading a fantasy book (or watching a fantasy movie)--lessons can come from multiple sources as well, of course. (Coming right up!)
4. Tag 2-4 other bloggers. (Shall do at the end of the post.)

Life Lesson #1: I can make a difference.

A hobbit from the Shire had no special strength, but Frodo carried the One Ring to Mordor. A little girl was the youngest in her family, but Lucy discovered Narnia and saw Aslan when no one else did. A mute young woman was enslaved by a culture of oppression, but Imraldera's influence stretched over many lands and many ages.

Over and over, fantasy shows me the weak, the small, the powerless, and the ordinary rise up to become heroes. Yes, their heroics are often on a kingdom-wide scale, larger than life for all to see. But they inspire me to make my own life count.

"Some believe it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. It is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps because I am afraid, and he gives me courage." -Gandalf

Life Lesson #2: Life is full of wonder.

The moment my imagination set foot on infant Narnian soil and heard Aslan singing the world to life, I was enraptured as I had never been before. And every well-drawn fantasy world since then has kept alive my spark of childlike wonder. Mountains, oceans, valleys, forests. Portals, ley lines, magic hiding around every corner. Vast landscapes flung farther than I can see, all ripe for exploration. I sometimes wonder if these flashes of longing and delight are little tastes of the wonders we'll see in heaven.

Life Lesson #3: The darkness does not last.

Fantasy offers a vivid canvas on which to paint the brightest of colors and the blackest of shadows. The suffering our beloved heroes endure is staggering. Sapphira Adi, confined to the lonely underground for centuries (Eye of the Oracle, Bryan Davis) . . . Nym, her powers stripped right from her bones (Siren's Fury, Mary Weber) . . . the entire Rampion crew, separated and struggling to make headway against the Lunar Queen (Winter, Marrisa Meyer) . . . Frodo and Sam, beaten down to their last breaths on the slopes of Mount Doom (The Return of the King, JRR Tolkien) . . . Cal Raven, his people homeless and his own faith shaken from its holdings (The Ale Boy's Feast, Jeffrey Overstreet) . . . I could go on and on.
But in all my favorite fantasy stories, no matter how deep the darkness becomes and no matter how long it lasts, light breaks through. Sapphira Adi finds hope in Elohim. Nym discovers a power that no one can take from her. The Rampion crew finds love and victory. Frodo and Sam find the strength to carry on and put an end to a great evil. Cal Raven makes a home and reclaims his faith.

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5)

Life Lesson #4: God is recklessly in love with me.

Allegorical fantasy is still one of my favorites, and there are so many books under that category that have refreshed my view of God. In Anne Elisabeth Stengl's Heartless, I see Aethelbald redeem me. In Ted Dekker's Circle series, I drown in Elohim's waters and emerge reborn. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, I witness Aslan's sacrifice firsthand. In Wayne Thomas Batson's The Door Within, King Eliam's glory blinds me.

All of these stories and more open my eyes to more facets of God's character. And always I am drawn in by His wild, untamed, unreserved love. He's not a tame lion, you know.

Life Lesson #5: In the end, we win.

Fantasy is the genre in which a happily ever after is the norm. There may be bloodshed, scars, and sorrows, but in the end, good prevails. The enemy armies may be innumerable, but in the end, they fall. Fantasy rekindles my hope. We are on the winning side. The enemy is already defeated. And one day, we're going home.


The What If . . . ? Fantasy Tag


1. Thank the blogger who tagged you. (Thanks again!)
2. Include the graphic somewhere in your post. (See above.)
3. Answer the questions. (In a sec!)
4. Tag a few bloggers--and let them know they've been tagged. (Coming at the end.)
5. Have fun! (That would be impossible to avoid.)

1. Your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. The cast of the most recent fantasy book you've read comes to your assistance . . . Who are they? Will they be helpful?

Whew, I'm in luck! The book I'm currently reading, Bryan Davis's Circles of Seven, is urban fantasy with a twist, so at least most of the characters are familiar with modern inventions. Billy and Walter should have no trouble fixing my car, especially with Karen around, since she's a car expert. Not to mention Ashley's super smart. Bonnie can fly ahead to see where we are (and where the nearest mechanic is), while Shiloh keeps me company and Professor Hamilton regales me with Arthurian legend.

But if Clefspeare or Hartanna are around, I say we ditch the car and go for a dragon flight!

2. You go to bed one evening and wake up in the lair of the villain of the last fairytale you read. Where are you and how do you plan to get out?

I'm not sure what fairytale I've read most recently, but the latest fairytale retelling is probably The Tomb of the Sea Witch by Kyle Robert Schultz.

In which case I'm underwater and will probably drown in the next thirty seconds.

My plan is to accept my fate. I'll spend the rest of my days as a ghost wandering the halls of the Warrengate Academy of Advanced Magic. Perhaps I can haunt Malcolm the dragon every now and then . . . it'd be fun to scare him without fear of getting fried.

3. You are transported into a fantasy realm and given a mythical creature as a companion and best friend . . . Which mythical creature do you get?

The answer is quite obvious. NEXT QUESTION.

Oh, wait. You really don't know? A dragon, of course! Because although the blog's sidebar does say I might have one living in my basement, that dragon might be a figment of my imagination. Who knows? Either way, I need a real dragon bestie in my life.

4. In a strange series of coincidences, you end up needing to take the place of your favorite fantasy hero or heroine. Who are you?

"A strange series of coincidences"--does that kind of sound like a spinoff to A Series of Unfortunate Events?

But oh boy, this is a tough one. I'm going to fall back on a long-time favorite: Sir Eanrin from Tales of Goldstone Wood! While the term "hero" may be debatable at some points in his life, the sometimes-man, sometimes-cat is really a noble character deep down beneath his preening, poetry, and pride. (My my, the alliteration is flowing already.)

All credit goes to artist Jenelle Hovde!
(This fanart is on display at Dame Imraldera's Library.)

5. To go along with question #4, now that you are that character, is there anything you would do differently than that character, now that you are running the show?

Um, YES. TELL IMRALDERA I* LOVE AND ADORE HER. And that is all I will say on the subject.

*he? you? Am I talking about Eanrin, to Eanrin, or about myself as Eanrin?

6. If you were yourself in a fantasy novel, what role do you think you would play in the story?

I'd be the sidekick on the quest, the one who packs too many books, gives the heroes regular pep talks to keep their spirits up, and surprises everyone with a fiery verbal barrage against injustice.

But if I lived long enough, I would likely take up a profession as the village crazy person. You know, the mysterious kind who lives in a house crammed full of scrolls, knick knacks, dust, and half an apothecary--the eccentric old woman whose nonsense occasionally hides a scrap of wisdom.

7. One morning, as you are going about your daily business, you pick up an everyday item and a voice booms in your head with prophetic words about your future. What object is it, and what is the prophecy?

It is my phone, a companion that's a little too constant. And the prophecy that echoes in my head is:

Three for Goodreads stats falling behind
Seven for games with endless levels
Nine for Instagram photos divine
One for emails like Hydra devils
In the land of pixels where distractions lie.
One phone to rule them all, one phone to find them,
One phone to bring them all and in the appstore bind them.
In the land of pixels where distractions lie.

(I butchered the meter, but that's what you get for writing parody poetry after staying up too late watching a movie.) (Anyway, all that to say I'm trying to work on my phone habits!)

8. You are transported into a magical realm and turned into a mythical beast . . . What beast/fantasy creature do you want to be?

A DRAGON. Oh, right, I already used that one for #3.

How about a shape shifter? Then I can take the form of anything I want, dragon included! I mean, talk about convenient. I could swim with the mermaids, fly with the phoenixes / griffins / Pegasi* / dragons / etc., and infiltrate any castle in the kingdom. But if shape shifter wasn't an option, I would settle for being a talking fox, like the one in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe movie.

*what's the plural for Pegasus, anyway?

9. If you could read your way into any fantasy realm, but the catch is you can never leave, would you? Which realm would you choose?

Oh dear, don't do this to me. This sort of question makes me start needling around for loopholes and exceptions. Like, if I could take my family with me, I would pick . . . or, if I could still communicate with people on earth, I'd choose . . .

If such gracious allowances were truly forbidden, then no. I wouldn't read my way into a fantasy realm, because as massively tempting as it would be, I couldn't leave my fam jam behind! Buuuut if we can stretch the rules a little, I would pick Narnia hands down. It has the perfect blend of wonder, beauty, and just the right amount of danger to make for great adventures. (I would get stabbed very quickly in a place like Middle Earth, okay.)

Hmm . . . the longer I think about it, though, the more I like the thought of living in one of the realms of my own making. Iror would be lovely, or Demetria . . .

Okay, okay, I'll stop! My answer is Narnia, but only if I can take people with me.

10. As you are going about your normal day, you discover that you have a magical power. What is it?

A super brain that learns ridiculously fast and retains it all would make college a breeze! But that sounds a little bit more like superhero/sci-fi stuff than fantasy, so . . . I think it would be cool to see an "aura" around people. Kind of a way to read their emotions, which is less intrusive than reading minds but would probably be quite helpful. Is there a name for that sort of thing? If no one's written a book about it yet, maybe I'll have to.


Whew, that got longer than I expected! I should've known that fantasy + books = much to talk about. And now it's time to tag some people to pass on the fun. I'm going to do something different and tag some of my newest followers. Feel free to take it or leave it, guys! (Either one or both of them.) If you do take them, leave me a link so I can check it out!

I tag:
Anyone else who started following Adventure Awaits within the last three months!
(I wanted to tag more of you, but couldn't find links to your blogs on your profiles.)

Well, that about wraps it up! What are some things you've learned from fantasy? Whose lair would you be escaping? Would you read yourself irreversibly into a fantasy realm???


  1. YAY!!!! O.K. I was shocked when I got tagged, and it made my day, so THANKS!!!!!!
    This was really fun to read, your poem was hilarious!!! I just got the Unexpected Journey soundtrack yesterday and have been listening to it quoting lines with as deep a male accent my voice can muster, and watched the first Narnia movie again today, so this post felt sort of like home...

    1. Awwww, you're SO welcome, Erica! I hope you have fun with it!

      Haha, thanks. :D The Hobbit/LOTR soundtracks are some of my favorites EVER, so I heartily approve. (It is physically impossible for me to match the dwarves' deep voices in the Misty Mountain song. xD) Same goes for the Narnia movies! So much love. <333

  2. This was a great post! Thanks for writing it! And thank you for the tag!! These type of posts are a lot of fun and I'm real excited to write mine. My blog post will be ready come Monday morning at
    I expect Narnia will show up a few times too. :) Thanks once again!

    1. Thanks, Thomas! Glad you're looking forward to participating. I'll keep an eye out for that post! And Narnia is always a good answer for questions like these. :)


    Can I just say all your fantasy life lessons are PERFECT and literally things I feel as well! You basically captured ALL the themes and importance of fantasy in one post. I, too, have been struck with how one, single, small person can make a HUGE different--like a little Hobbit saving an entire, enormous world. Or Imraldera changing history for ages. Yes, yes, yes!!! It's so easy to think of ourselves as insignificant, as small specks taking up space in the world. But, as one of my favorite quotes from Doctor Who states, "You know, nine hundred years of time and space and I've never met anybody who wasn't important before." Fantasy emphasizes that more than most genres I think. And YES, boy does it awaken a sense of wonder! That may be what drew me to fantasy in the first place--the enchantment and wonder of it all.

    The darkness does not last point is SUCH an important one, and something I think about a lot. Life is sometimes HARD, but the heartaches are not forever. As your last point states, "In the end, we win." YESSSS!!! Fantasy has such a focus on light overcoming darkness, on good always triumphing in the end, and we NEED that reminder. We need to know this darkness and hardship will be overcome, HAS been overcome. We have hope in Jesus. ^_^

    And then your point about God being recklessly in love with us. Oh my... That just made my heart swell reading that and thinking about how true it is.


    And the fantasy tag! :D I'm so in love with this tag. Your answers were golden! How perfect you get the DioM crew to fix your car! Lol. (Although, yes, forget cars when there are DRAGONS.) And I love your plan of haunting Malcolm. ;D Though...erm...I rather you not die, thank you very much.

    #3 THOUGH! XDDDDDD So accurate.

    Uuuggggh. That fanart of Eanrin and Imraldera! It does THINGS to my heart. I love your plan of being Eanrin and YESSSS. THAT BOY NEEDS TO TELL IMRALDERA HOW HE FEELS. Sometimes I just want to slap him!

    "...and surprises everyone with a fiery verbal barrage against injustice." <---This made me laugh. XDD Also, your plan of being the village "crazy person" is too great. That sounds like me as well! Lol.


    Being a shapeshifter and/or a talking fox and going to Narnia sounds like a dreeeam! Also having a super brain, YES. How great that'd be! Hehe.


    THIS WHOLE POST WAS SO MUCH FUNNNN! I've been wanting to do this tag myself, but keep getting distracting with other posts. And who cares if it isn't February still. We should celebrate fantasy ALL year! :D

    (Alsooo, I, too, feel like when I do a tag it's not "real" content! AND YET, I loooove reading tag posts. They're always so fun. So why do I like it when OTHER people do tags, and yet feel guilty when I do them??? IT MAKES NO SENSE. I think tags are perfectly fine posts. We're probably just too hard on ourselves and think if we don't come up with completely original content we're failures WHICH IS ABSURD. I don't even know!)


      Oh my goodness, I don't think I've heard that Doctor Who quote before but I looooove it. I think fantasy naturally involves such humongous worlds that seeing a small character make a difference is even MORE impactful than in most genres! And yes yes yes, the wonder is one of the things I dearly love about fantasy. Always have and always will.

      Amen to all of that, sistah! ^_^ Stories in general--but especially fantasy--help me lift my eyes off the ground right in front of my feet to see the bigger picture. To see the victorious end even if I'm not there yet.

      It puts me in awe too! <3

      THANK YOU, GIRL!!!

      Jenelle's questions were 100% amazing, so I have her to thank for prompting all the fun discussion! XD Pffft, absolutely, I'll neglect modern conveniences if dragons are an option. And Malcom deserves a taste of his own scary medicine. XD I'll see if I can round up some magical potions and resurrect myself, don't worry!


      Saaaaame. *cries into pillow* That's one of the reasons I'm longing for more Goldstone books--we need to know how all of that turns out in the end!

      LOL, that *would* be me. (It already is me. Just ask my family. I fall into mini fits of rage about such things. XD) Hey, if you live in the neighboring village, we can be crazy people together!


      *nods vigorously* It would be so much fun! And so would a super brain, yes.

      YES MA'AM. I shall dutifully add it to the growing stack of notes-waiting-to-become-books... ;)

      Fantasy is definitely an all-year thing for me! I can't wait to see YOUR answers to this tag too!

      (I think you nailed it! I really like other people's tag posts, so I really shouldn't feel guilty for doing my own now and then. It's not a bad thing to break up the serious content with a few lighthearted chats and jokes! We're such silly bloggers sometimes.)

  4. You always have such thoughtful answers. Your tags are enjoyable to read, don't worry. Your love for fantasy and dragons, really shines through in this post.

    1. Awww, Skye, you're so kind! Thank you! <3 I will spread my love of fantasy and dragons until my dying day, most likely. ;)

  5. AAAHH this was so fun! :D I loved reading it, and all of your answers were brilliant!!

    Yes to all the lessons--so good!

    Also, ditching the car--so funny. XD

    AND I POSITIVELY DIED OF HUMOR OVERDOSE AT YOUR PHONE PROPHECY!!! XDDDDDD So. Good. (Mine is similar except it would be my laptop since I don't have a phone. Pixel distractions!)

    Haunting Malcolm. XD

    A strange series of coincidences DOES sound like a fantasy spinoff of A Series of Unfortunate Events. :O (Except we all know after reading Bright Empires that there ARE no coincidences... ;))

    I haven't even read Starflower yet but I totally echo the Eanrin thing. XD FOX!!! There's a great snarky fox in Plenilune, and a great clockwork fox in Spellsmith and Carver, so I mayyy have a fox thing too. XD

    Seeing an aura thing would be really cool.

    (And I'm the same as Lauri: I love reading other people's tags but sometimes feel like doing one myself is cheating or others won't enjoy it. WHICH IS SILLY. Also I have so MANY that it's hard to pick which one to do because I could easily do like twenty posts which would be like half the year and then I wouldn't have time for "real" posts? ANYWAY.)

    Anyway, this was so fun! Thanks for shariiing! <3 (A wizard is never late so you can be fashionably late, and we all know that a fashionable wizard MUST be Howl or Chrestomanci, so you can be late like that. ;))

    1. Yayyyy! Thank you! :D

      There's such richness in fantasy, I could go on forever!

      Who needs a car when you have a dragon? Or TWO? ;D

      Mine used to be my laptop, but my phone is unfortunately more portable and more distractable. >.> But yeeeahhh, I hear ya!

      Of course. Warrengate could use a resident ghost. XD

      I haven't read A Series of Unfortunate Events, but this could be interesting! (Ahhh, very good point. I wholeheartedly agree! ;))

      READ STARFLOWERRRRRR. Ahem. It's one of my favorites in the series, so I can't help but shove it onto TBRs everywhere I go. XD Oh, oh, I've been meaning to buy/read Plenilune sometime! And I've heard about Spellsmith and Carver; a clockwork fox sounds really neat, so I'll have to look for that one!

      Right? So useful.

      (Glad it's not just me! WHY ARE WE SO SILLY, THOUGH? Haha, that is very true. I think I just bumped my list to under 10 tags, but still--they add up quickly on the calendar!)

      I'm so happy you liked it--thanks for reading! <3 (I am 100% okay with being Howl. Haven't met Chrestomanci yet, but I keep hearing good things from you and Jenelle, so I won't object. XD)

  6. I enjoy it when people do tags... and I also enjoy using them when I have no other blogging ideas. So... yeah, they're kind of a cop-out, but they're fun to read, so it's okay. :) (at least, that's what I tell myself).

    I loved reading this! So so so fun.

    Somebody pointed out to me that if Narnia were chosen, you could technically stay there forever and then return home less than a second after you left... so, there's a built-in loophole with that particular choice. :)

    Hahah, you noticed that, did you? I actually wrote "in a series of unfortunate events" before I realized that since the series came out, that phrase is a bit too recognizable. hee hee hee

    I really need to read the Tomb of the Sea Witch! Also, I love your plan to come back as a ghost and haunt everyone. That's fabulous.

    If you ever figure out the plural of Pegasus, please tell me. I'm trying to remember how Rick Riordan did it in Percy Jackson, but I can't, and I don't have any of the books handy. It's a problem... pegasuses... pegasi...? I tend to default to pegasi, but the problem is, as I understand it, that "Pegasus" was actually a proper name, and not the generic term for "winged horse." It's just that every winged horse after Pegasus has been called "pegasus" after him... soooooo complicated!

    I loved your lessons learned! Every one of them is so true and beautiful.

    1. I feel like I'm copping out by doing tags too, but you're right: they *are* very handy when one runs out of ideas. (Or time, which is more often my case these days. Except then I decide to do two tags at once and it ends up taking just as long as a regular post. XD)

      I'm happy to hear it! ^_^

      THAT IS AN EXCELLENT POINT. YES. I knew there were more reasons I love Narnia. XD I can go live an epic, long adventure until I'm old enough to apply for my Village Crazy Person License, and then I can come home and resume my normal life. SIGN ME UP.

      Haha, I didn't think it was intentional--that's pretty funny.

      Yes, you do! It was such a fun book. Being a ghost would have it's plus sides. No physical boundaries, built-in pranking abilities...

      I haven't read far enough in Percy Jackson to know. But that whole Pegasus being a name AND a species makes it so tricky! Pegasi sounds right to my ears... maybe it's because of octopi??

      Thank you! I had fun writing that part. (Well, the whole thing, really.) :)

  7. Oh my word Tracey, the village crazy person, huh? XD *dies laughing* Though, now that I think about it, that would probably be me as well...That weird lady with all the strange potions and vials of who-knows-what, but just might have some little snatch of wisdom to give. If you can figure out what she means, behind all the cryptic-ness and metaphors. XD

    That phone prophecy is the absolute best. XD

    And READING AURAS WOULD BE SO COOOOOL. :D It could be used to help people or it could be used as a weapon, depending on who you were in the story... :)

    1. Not gonna lie, that is exactly who I'd be. XD Hey, we could be crazy old biddies together! *clinks murky vials in a toast* Who knows if we're even wise at all--those nuggets of wisdom could be pure accidental madness. xD

      Hahaha, but it's too accurate!!

      I think so too! It strikes me as the stereotypical INFJ on fantasy steroids--you know how Pinterest and whatnot is always going on about how we can supposedly read people so well? WELL JUST YOU WAIT. NOW WE CAN SEE PEOPLE'S MOODS IN FRONT OF OUR VERY EYES. XD

  8. Sometimes I worry the same thing about posting tags- yet I always enjoy reading them. They feel a bit like a fun conversation, and they're great for connecting the blogging community.

    Those are great Fantasy lessons! That's one of the amazing thing about Fantasy books- they remind me how full of wonder the world is, how real the battle is, how incredible the ending will be!

    I wasn't expecting such an answer to question #2 of the What If tag. The thought of you becoming a ghost is depressing and distressing...but the thought of what you would do as a ghost is hilarious!

    1. Well, that's good to know! I agree, they do feel like friendly chats. ^_^

      Those vivid reminders are one of the biggest reasons I continue to love fantasy with all my heart! To me, even the word "story" rings with the sound of fantasy; and story has a way of cutting straight to the heart.

      LOL, don't get TOO depressed! I'm sure ghosts can still blog... as long as I can figure out how to press the keys without physical fingers. ;)

  9. Tags totally count as aacceptable blog content, but then I find your writing voice fun to read period.

    Plus, all the lessons learned from fantasy = <3

    1. Really? Thanks, Meaghan! That's so kind of you to say!


  10. You took the words right out of my mouth for most of the things I've learned from fantasy! Oh and the plural for pegasus is pegasi. ;)

    1. Great minds do think alike! ;) Ah, thank you for confirming that! Pegasi *sounded* right, but I wasn't 100% for sure. XD