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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”

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”

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”

Ravens: Portents of Evil, And So Much More

In celebration of my new release Raven Queen, Arise, and Edgar Allan Poe’s 213th birthday week, here are some fun facts about the often-misunderstood raven. Intelligence Ravens are very, very smart. Scientists guess that ravens are some of the smartest animals in the kingdom, next to dolphins and primates. Ravens can remember thousands of locations for stashedContinue reading “Ravens: Portents of Evil, And So Much More”

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”