The Creepiness of Fantasy Pictures Explained

        Okay, people. I have a question to ask you all. It involves a two-second favor. Go on Google Images (this is always an interesting activity) and look up "fantasy".

        See how creepy 75% of the pictures are? And I swear 90% of them would use up a substantial amount of your printer's black ink. Some of the cooler ones:

Nature is huge in these pictures. I like wolves.
Roar. This thing was cursed by Zeus, I tell you. The pentacle must mean that it was summoned by a magician/evil druid/sorcerer/mage-type person.
A major theme among the pictures: sexy female warriors. Or just sexy females in general. I suppose their prevalence may have to do with the large number of teenage boys reading the stuff.
One has to really look to find something with a warm color scheme.
So the question here is - why are they all so scary and often death-oriented?

Except for this one, which is death-oriented and wicked funny.
Fantasy is an exploration of humanity on a grand scale. Through this lens, people can blow up life into epic proportions that reality just can't handle. By magnifying all aspects of the human condition, including life and death, people can better understand the world around them. In addition to explaining natural phenomena, mythology was created to explore aspects of human nature. To quote Rick Riordan, "If the novel puts life under the microscope, mythology blows it up to billboard size" (Demigods and Monsters, XI).

Along with this magnification comes exaggerations of everything, stretched far into human imagination. One of the most prominent themes is the nature of "good" versus "evil".

About 99% of fantasy stories are about an epic battle between Good and Evil. Everything from Greek mythology to The Lord of the Rings to Eragon to His Dark Materials involves a sort of moral conflict on a grand scale. In a way such distinctions between two halves of a coin satisfies the human need for a black-and-white representation of the world, separated into those we root for and those we condemn.

Of course, in fantasy, like any other mode of storytelling, there are nuances with respect to who is "good" and "evil". Or at least doubts within the characters of their own moral value and so forth. But there are usually at least two camps of people who are clearly antagonists and protagonists, respectively. If there were no distinct camps, It wouldn't be half as fun to watch Harry Expelliarmus Tom Riddle's Avada Kedavra back at him. I always thought that was a clever, but kind of cheap, way to dispose of Voldy. It ensures that Harry didn't technically kill him, thus preserving a shred of his "goodness". Especially after Harry's portion of the Horcrux was removed during that weird Kings Cross/creepy wailing-baby-under-the-chair-scene and Dumbledore was all like, "You can stay here forever, basically naked, or go back to the living world and help your dying friends. GEE I WONDER WHAT YOU'LL CHOOSE, MR. GOODY-TWO-SHOES".

But I digress.

So, when the representations of good and evil are drawn, they tend to be... exaggerated. Doing so brings out the larger-than-life quality of fantasy:

Few good-evil battles are as iconic as the knight and the black, scaly dragon. That's one hell of a dragon. I'd like to ride it one day. Although that realm doesn't look too happy. Kind of like St. George when he was walking through the terrorized village. Maybe that's Saint George. The dragon needs a name... Lucifer.

And the prominence of such dark pictures? I suppose that creepy stuff is just more fun to depict than happy things. What with people being programmed to take more notice of negativity and so forth.

I shall leave you with a happy picture of purple angel dust, and go play RuneScape.


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