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Initial revision by user avatar Therac · 2019-12-08T13:14:28Z (7 months ago)
**Lord of the Rings** is as definitive an example of Fantasy as they come. It might even be the benchmark others are measured against. The ideas of elves, dwarves, etc. predate JRRT, but he was the one that most later writers based their races upon.

At the same time, Lord of the Rings includes very few uses of magic. They're very impactful, and magic is involved in the shaping of the world, but most of the characters' ordinary lives are quite magic-free.

So it can be used as a litmus test: If one found a copy of Lord of the Rings where all the pages describing magic were missing, would it still be clearly identifiable as belonging to the fantasy genre? The answer is clearly **"yes"**.

Fantasy is not a strongly-defined genre, there are simply a few patterns that mark a setting as a fantasy one. Multiple sentient species + pre-industrial world = fantasy. Species directly borrowed from Tolkien = fantasy. Placing Tolkien's races into an industrial world and springing it with heavy cyberpunk (Shadowrun)? Now that's deliberately playing with the genre boundaries.

Magic alone isn't enough to define fantasy either. Call it Supernatural and you can have almost as much magic in our world as Harry Potter. All in all, whether a book falls into fantasy or doesn't is based on the weight of "yes-fantasy" (magic, elves, medieval settings) and "anti-fantasy" (computers, spaceflight) elements within it, and most of all on the reader's perception.

Attribution notice added by user avatar System · 2019-12-08T13:14:28Z (7 months ago)
Source: https://writers.stackexchange.com/a/48977
License name: CC BY-SA 4.0
License URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/
Imported from external source by user avatar System · 2019-11-16T08:56:54Z (8 months ago)
Original score: 0