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Difference between High Fantasy and Epic Fantasy

1 year ago
Darkki avatar
(admin)
250 rated books, 146 posts
High fantasy and epic fantasy are two subgenres of fantasy literature that share some similarities but also have distinct differences.

High fantasy is a type of fantasy story that is set in an imaginary world or alternate reality, often with its own unique history, cultures, and rules of magic. The focus of high fantasy is typically on the characters and their relationships, as they embark on quests or battle against evil forces. High fantasy often involves the use of magical creatures and magical powers.

Epic fantasy, on the other hand, is a subgenre of fantasy that focuses on the hero's journey, often involving a quest or battle against a great evil. Epic fantasy stories typically take place in a fully-realized fantasy world, often with complex political systems and richly developed histories. The story is usually told from multiple perspectives and can involve a large cast of characters.

While high fantasy and epic fantasy often overlap, the key difference between the two is that high fantasy is more character-driven, while epic fantasy is more plot-driven. High fantasy tends to focus on the emotional and personal growth of the characters, while epic fantasy is more concerned with the larger struggle of good versus evil. Additionally, high fantasy can take place in a variety of settings, while epic fantasy is almost always set in a fully-realized fantasy world.

Many high fantasy stories include elements of epic fantasy, such as a large cast of characters, intricate world-building, and epic battles. The works of J.R.R. Tolkien, for example, are often considered both high fantasy and epic fantasy, as they feature a richly imagined world and a large-scale battle between good and evil. Similarly, the works of George R.R. Martin, including the "A Song of Ice and Fire" series (adapted into the television series "Game of Thrones"), are often considered both high and epic fantasy due to their intricate world-building, complex political intrigue, and large cast of characters.

Nevertheless, these differences between high/epic are often blurred, and many works of high fantasy are also considered to be epic fantasy, and vice versa. This is the reason why on Risingshadow we don't make a difference between high/epic fantasy and we have classified all these books as high fantasy.