At its best, fantasy is a reflection on character. It is a vehicle for fundamental truths. It is an excellent tool for the author who seeks understanding of self and of society. It portrays humanity’s bigotry, racism, fanaticism, blindness, ignorance, arrogance and what we would like to believe of ourselves. It also portrays all that is good about us. The motives and philosophies that drive nations can be painted safely distance in otherworldly settings. The harsh reality of life is softened for the reader, made more acceptable, more digestible, even if we are presented with the truth about ourselves and not merely what we’d like to believe. Beneath the entertainment there is no less rugged criticism on humanity than is to be found in any other discourse.
Fantasy authors, as do most successful authors, generally shine a spotlight on particular areas of interest both to themselves and to their readers. Because authors often portray an exaggerated and repressed aspect of themselves, this genre’s novels, as is the case in most other genres, are often horrifying.