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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”

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”

Real Faeries Are Grimdark

There’s a reason the Irish curse the “fucking Fairies” under their breath. Forget everything Disney told you about these creatures. Human treasures are not what fae value. They don’t grant wishes (at least, not for cheap) and they don’t serenade you on your way to the ball. But that doesn’t mean the fair folk areContinue reading “Real Faeries Are Grimdark”

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”

Lovers in the Grimdark

Every fucking book, grimdark or not, has some love plot. Of course, people fall in love often enough that we have a day to celebrate it! 90% of pop songs? Talkin’ bout love. 99% of stories you read? Same. There’s something sickly-sweet and enticing about whether a couple will or won’t. What obstacles will ourContinue reading “Lovers in the Grimdark”