Just finished Alan Garner’s The Owl Service, which is fantastic. I should probably track down the TV version too.
It’s exactly what I want fantasy to be – old magic and stories bleeding into our world, fierce and wild and uncanny – as opposed to what fantasy apparently means these days* – Tolkien’s curiously bloodless tales of orcs and elves and humans, repeated ad nauseum with each repetition a dilution of an already weak ancestor. The endless noble battles and last stands just feel like an inability to deal with our world. Reality is more complex, and stranger, and you don’t get absolute good and evil here. I want stories that understand this, that try and deal with it, that push in odd directions, that haunt the present, not some antiseptic imaginary world where no-one can ever get hurt and nothing is at stake.
I sometimes get the feeling that most of the events in our world are set in motion by people who buy into that fantastic good vs. evil narrative, and that kind of thinking will only ever cause suffering.
“He is hurt too much she wants to be flowers and you make her owls and she is at the hunting”
* – Tbh, I’m basing this claim on my knowledge of videogames more than fiction, given that I haven’t read any recent fantasy in a long while.