Fafnir 3/2016

Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research 3/2016

Aino-Kaisa Koistinen, Jyrki Korpua & Hanna-Riikka Roine:
Editorial 3/2016

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Stefan Ekman and Audrey Isabel Taylor:
Notes Toward a Critical Approach to Worlds and World-Building

Abstract: Imaginary worlds and how they are constructed are central to fiction. The term world-building, however, has been applied so broadly in scholarship that it has become ambiguous and difficult to use in critical discussions. Aiming to contribute to greater clarity in the critical use of the term, this article introduces the concept of critical world-building. This is distinguished from other types of world-building, such as that performed by an author or reader, mainly by the fact that a critic analyses a world through a combination of their sequential presentation, as complete world, and with critical interpretation and theoretical filters in place, applying all three perspectives simultaneously. Two possible approaches to critical world-building are presented, based on the functions of a world’s building-blocks and how to interpret those functions. The first approach focuses on a world’s “architecture” – its structural and aesthetic system of places – and the form, function, and meaning of those places. The second emphasises the dynamic interplay between building-blocks and their interconnections in a web of explicit, implied, and interpreted information about the world. The authors base their discussion on textual, secondary fantasy worlds but invite applications of critical world-building to other genres and media.

Keywords: imaginary worlds, world-building, secondary worlds, fantasy, topofocal analysis.

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Brendan Sheridan:
Dragon-riding: Live and Let Fly Reinterpret the Ramayana

Abstract: This article examines the dragon rider as a recurring trope within contemporary fantasy fiction and film. While considerable scholarship has focused on dragons in literature, the subject of dragon riders has been neglected, an oversight this article seeks to redress. My research utilises Jonathan D. Evans’ application of Validimir Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale to construct a formula reflecting this narrative pattern. It also draws on human-animal studies, particularly the work of Phillip Armstrong and J. M. Coetzee. Through these theoretical lenses I interrogate the relationship between dragon and rider, exploring how the relationship forms as well as the power dynamic between the participants.

Keywords: Dragons, Dragon-riding, Wildness, Human-animal.

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Diana Marques:
The Haunted Forest of A Song of Ice and Fire: a space of otherness

Abstract: George R. R. Martin’s world of Westeros is inspired by the European medieval period, as stated several times by the author. In using history to confer authenticity to his world, Martin shapes certain elements not only of medieval history but also of its imagination. One of those elements is the forest. The medieval forest was considered a land legally set aside for specific purposes such as royal hunting. This notion of the forest as a separated space also influenced its portraying in medieval imagination as a counterpoint to the civilized world and as a space of chaos, danger and the supernatural, connected with pagan religions and cultures. These characteristics are also present in A Song of Ice and Fire particularly in the Haunted Forest.

The Haunted Forest is located in the North, beyond the Wall and is inhabited by the free folk or wildlings. It is a separated space and it carries much of the symbolic charge of the medieval forest. It is connected to the supernatural, to danger and to a culture regarded as barbarian. It is also associated with the mysterious creatures known as the Others – their identities established by the fact that they are different from the supposedly civilized world south of the Wall and are, therefore, dangerous. The aim of this article is to show how the forest is as a space of alterity, of otherness, where the real and the symbolic mix together, unveiling the fantastic aspect of the narrative in A Song of Ice and Fire.

Keywords: Forests, Fantasy, A Song of Ice and Fire, Medieval Imagination, Otherness.

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José Luis de Ramón Ruiz:
The Favor of the Gods:
Religion and Power in George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire

Abstract: This article examines the relationship between power and religion in Westeros, the continent created by George R. R. Martin in A Song of Ice and Fire. Participants in the conflict of Westeros, I argue, embrace religion as a source of legitimacy to gain power and to support their claims. By doing so, the conflict acquires a religious dimension. They are not only fighting a civil war, but also a religious war.

Keywords: George R. R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire, power, religion.

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Will Slocombe:
Margaret Weis: A Literary-Biography

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Hanna-Riikka Roine:
Lectio praecursoria:
Imaginative, Immersive and Interactive Engagements. The Rhetoric of Worldbuilding in Contemporary Speculative Fiction

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Megen de Bruin-Molé:
The Promises of Monsters: Report on the Inaugural “Monster Network” Conference in Stavanger (28–29 April, 2016)

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Dennis Wilson Wise:
A Book Review: Jamie Williamson – The Evolution of Modern Fantasy: From Antiquarianism to the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series

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Aino-Kaisa Koistinen and Tanja Välisalo
A Book Review: Colin B. Harvey – Fantastic Transmedia: Narrative, Play and Memory Across Science Fiction and Fantasy Storyworlds

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Apply Now for the Editor-in-Chief of Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research

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