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Bailey Miller

Creatures That May (or May Not) Exist in the Wheel of Time

A question has always nagged me whenever I read the Wheel of Time: Where are the lions? The Savanna cats are the standard of Andor, a large country with a long history and a very prominent place in the storyline. But we only see an actual lion once, in The Shadow Rising, Chapter 11, while Egwene is dreamwalking in Tel’aran’rhiod and idly observes Aiel ‘Wise One’ Amys hunt a “boar” in the Waste. Given that it’s possible to mentally create a creature in the World of Dreams, the lion Egwene saw could be merely a construct of her or the Wise One’s imagination—although to accurately imagine a lion, one would probably have to have seen one in real life. (Unless Tel’aran’rhiod can fill in the details if a Dreamwalker attempts to imagine a lion?)

So, maybe there are lions in the Waste. But this leads to more questions, because if there are lions, then surely there must be giraffes, elephants, and zebras for the carnivores to munch on. Despite fifteen books worth of adventuring, these species remain unseen. So where are ANY of the animals?

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Series: Wheel of Time Master Index

7 Different Ways Fantasy Has Used Language as Magic

There are many ways to structure a magic system in a fantasy story, and even though expressing magic through language is one of the most obvious methods for a story to utilize (“abracadabra!” and all that), it is also somewhat rare. Language is precise, complex, and in a constant state of change, making it daunting for an author to create, and even more daunting for a reader to memorize.

There are some interesting shortcuts that fantasy stories have utilized over the years, however, some of which are utterly fearless in tackling the challenge inherent in crafting a complex magical language.

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Those Who Dance, And How They Choose to Fight

Dancing requires strength, speed, and flexibility. For instance, most fast-paced tap dancing requires precise muscle movement, otherwise your feet make the wrong sounds, even if the rhythm of your body feels exact. Tap moves also stack and accelerate while stacking, calling for more focus and precision, which can be frustrating if you’re having trouble trying to nail just one move consecutively, like a Maxie Ford. This isn’t limited to tap. Shaking of the hips, like in Polynesian dancing, requires a lot of strength and flexibility right at the start, and any dancing that requires the body to move onto and off of the floor is going to utilize almost every active muscle area, from legs to upper body. For dancers, strength equates to endurance. The stronger a dancer is, the longer they can repeat their actions with precision and speed.

Replace the word “dancer” in the previous sentence with “swordsman” or “fighter” and the statement remains no less true. So much so that dancing and superior fighting skills have become a common trope in genre fiction. It looks cool to see (or read) a fighter weave around their stronger opponents attacks, and it makes battles more interesting.

Here are a few noteworthy examples of this battle dancing as depicted in sci-fi/fantasy!

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Dwarven Skyscrapers! If Everyone in Middle-Earth Was a Style of Architecture

This recent reblog from Tumblr artist RomanYon certainly caught the eye. Now I know when my New York City surroundings mimic the graceful whorls of classically Elven work, or the strong sharp patterns of Dwarven craft!

Architectural works in art nouveau can be difficult to distinguish from works in art deco, as the two terms tend to be used interchangeably when referring to buildings, facades, and metalwork in NYC, even though, like their respective races, the styles often clash. The Lord of the Rings comparison offered by RomanYon is very handy for keeping the two separate in this regard! That Chrysler Building? A Dwarven skyscraper if ever there was one. (Though there wasn’t.) That iron fence circling Central Park? Clearly the work of Elves!

What kind of art style and architecture would the other races of Middle-earth warrant There are stylistic themes from various eras and movements, but each strongly identifies with one style or another.

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