Fantasy used to be just for nerds and gamers. Dragons, sorcery, quests: all that belonged in dark, poorly lit basements, around a plastic table where you and your friends-by-proxy donned personas, rolled dice, and pretended. That’s hardly the case anymore. If you’re not up to date on the latest goings on of Westeros or Westworld, or familiar with the adventures that took place in Mordor and Hogwarts, then why even bother? And it (arguably) doesn’t matter that you didn’t read the source material.
Perhaps we have 80s cartoons to thank for this mainstreaming of fantasy, at least in part. Escapism came in many forms back then, from shape-shifting robots to holographic pop singers and a never-ending supply of anthropomorphic animals. For the nerds (myself included) who didn’t feel enough connection to the formulaic good guy/bad guy shoot-ups of G.I. Joe and company, they had their needs catered to in a variety of shows set around magic and fantasy lore.