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Trust in the Grimdark

There are neither traditional heroes nor villains in the grimdark. One-dimensional bad guys are boring in any genre. Forget one-dimensional good guys. No one buys pure heroes anymore, and the grimdark tends to chew honorable actors up and spit them out for their naivety. Grimdark characters, like in real life, are shades of grey andContinue reading “Trust in the Grimdark”

Heaven or Hell: The Afterlife in Grimdark Fantasy

“Dearly beloved, we’re gathered here today to get through this thing called life.” In the words of Prince, I think that’s why we read. Or write or do anything that sparks joy because at the heart of it, life sucks ass. The world can be a cruel, dark place. Grimdark offers us a catharsis forContinue reading “Heaven or Hell: The Afterlife in Grimdark Fantasy”

Beyond Lovable Rogues: Making Evil Characters Likable

It’s delicious as hell to root for a wicked character. That’s why the lovable rogue archetype lives on in literature and pop culture, from Han Solo to Aladdin. It’s fun to break the rules once and a while. Add a tyrannical force making the rules to the mix, and you can find yourself cheering forContinue reading “Beyond Lovable Rogues: Making Evil Characters Likable”

Women in Horror, Fantasy & The Oscars™

When it comes to the Academy Awards™, there’s an annual elephant in the room for grimdark nerds like us: Will any horror, sci-fi or fantasy films get Oscar™ noms/wins outside of the obligatory costume, sound, and visual effects categories this year? You don’t need to tell us that fantasy, science fiction and horror all deserveContinue reading “Women in Horror, Fantasy & The Oscars™”

Women in the Grimdark: Surviving a Cruel World

In a world where might makes right, you’d expect the protagonist to survive if he’s brawny, muscular, and can outfight and out-Machiavelli his opponents. But … what if the protagonist isn’t a brawny beefcake that can cleave anyone in twain with a battle axe or a claymore? What if they’re not in the position toContinue reading “Women in the Grimdark: Surviving a Cruel World”

Diversity in the Grimdark

The denizens of my fantasy realm are essentially color and genderblind. I don’t think having a society where this is possible is a further stretch than magic. Nor is having a diverse cast. Think about this: the potato was introduced to Europe in the Age of Exploration, about a century or two after the MiddleContinue reading “Diversity in the Grimdark”

Six Magical & Monstrous Winter Movies to Watch

That fuzzy Omen Punxsutawney Phil has declared we’ve got six more weeks of winter ahead. Whether you believe in groundhog shadow magic or not, February can be a little… blah. So let’s escape together with a movie marathon in the Grimdark. 😈🎬 Note: I’m not including The Thing or The Shining in this lineup, becauseContinue reading “Six Magical & Monstrous Winter Movies to Watch”

Violence: The Antihero’s First Resort

I was watching a new movie the other day, and since I don’t want to spoil anything, I’m leaving the movie nameless. The point isn’t the movie anyway, it’s about the hero’s tactics. Or rather, their ultimate goal. You see, these heroes’ goals don’t involve killing the dangerous, maniacal villains that threaten their world anymore.Continue reading “Violence: The Antihero’s First Resort”

Betrayal: Just Another Weapon in the Antihero’s Arsenal

“So many vows…they make you swear and swear. Defend the king. Obey the king. Keep his secrets. Do his bidding. Your life for his. But obey your father. Love your sister. Protect the innocent. Defend the weak. Respect the gods. Obey the laws. It’s too much. No matter what you do, you’re forsaking one vowContinue reading “Betrayal: Just Another Weapon in the Antihero’s Arsenal”

Weird Real, Grimdark Schools

If you like to escape by jumping headfirst into a dark fantasy read, you’ll know that your trip to faraway lands is always too short. Far sooner than you’d like, you’re back to the prosaic reality of dishes in the sink, yardwork you’ve been postponing, and the knowledge that tomorrow will be exactly the sameContinue reading “Weird Real, Grimdark Schools”