First time doing one of these! But I see so many other bloggers doing it and it looks like fun so let’s give it a go!
Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Frequently Used Words In [Insert Genre/Age Group] Titles! As the majority of what I read is fantasy, that is what I will be going with! These are really in no particular order and also some of them are more phenomenon of wording in fantasy stories rather than specific words.
Giving things titles that include the word “of” is sooooo commonplace in fantasy. Game of Thrones, The Court of Broken Knives, Kings of the Wyld. Not even just titles but within stories themselves, the titles of characters very frequently include an of somewhere. Game of Thrones is pretty notorious for this: Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, King of the Andals, Lord Commander of [insert name of army]. Fantasy books love the word “of.”
Everything from Draco Malfoy’s constant exclamations of “Wait until my father hears about this!” to a simple “Yes, Father” from a teenage son going to do what his father tells him to. I honestly can’t really pin down why I like this and after spending 30 minutes trying to describe it, I am giving up. Because it does sort of evoke a reminder of the male dominated stories and perhaps its presence and frequency of use is a bit sexist but honestly, fantasy as a genre has been doing amazing in recent years about showcasing kickass female characters so I feel like we can also enjoy the more traditional setup of a father being the pillar of a household of kingdom. Because another word that is really common?
This word just embodies to me the strength that women in fantasy can have. Princess kind of indicates a character that is somewhat weak or at least not fully come into her own yet. But a queen is someone in charge, someone with power but also with intelligence. As she frequently does not have the outright political clout that her male counterparts have, she has to be cleverer, more sly.
This one seems like kind of a given. Someone is always stabbing or killing someone else. The backstabbing and betrayals are kind of part of what makes fantasy what it is and so it goes without saying that blood shows up a lot.
Both of these words are used both as proper pronouns (Dark Magic, etc.) and also used to set many an ominous scene. I don’t think much needs to be said about this one. Fantasy stories would not be what they are without some darkness and shadows.
MADE UP SWEAR WORDS
This is everywhere in fantasy (and also some in science fiction). I know there are readers that groan when they see it but I really like it. Sometimes it is used to PG-ify a story while also giving the characters a way to express frustration (“Bags!” “Crows!”) but as long as there is at least some sort of logical path that I can take to see why that word because a swear word, I am totally okay with it. But they are also used to add to the worldbuilding sometimes. For example, something like “demonshit” is sometimes used. To me, saying demonshit instead of horse/bullshit, implies that demons are just as commonplace in this fictional world as horses or bulls are in the real world. See, worldbuilding!
I mean, honestly, what sort of list would this be if “sword” wasn’t somewhere in it? And swords are just cool in general! The word itself is cool, the way they look, the amount of training that goes into being able to effectively use one. Just everything about it.
This one is not as frequently used as some of the others but it definitely still pops up. I like it because, kind of going back to the frequency of the backstabbing, I like the whole “fall from grace” stories. Sometimes this is characters that have hit an all-time low that have to climb their way back up and sometimes this is a character that is a traitor. All around, I just like it.
Once again, this one kind of goes hand in hand with some of the other words in this list. If queens and swords are the more majestic side of fantasy, thieves and assassins are the underbelly, the ones that stick to the shadows. Without them we would be able to say things like “sneaky sneaky stab stab” and I just don’t know if I could go on living my life if I didn’t have a reason to say that.
Ah, stories about stories. A bard coming to a small village to spread the news of the kingdom/empire and telling tales and legends to give the reader some insight into the history and mythology of the world. Again, this is a word that just screams fantasy to me. Strangely, “bard” is a word I don’t like much (regardless of how badass they may be in D&D campaigns).
What are some of your favorite words that you see all the time in fantasy? Let me know below!