Red dragon breathing fire

Episode 16: Heroines, Witchers, Dragons and Heists – Beyond the Monomyth

In this episode, we finally dive into the massive fantasy genre. We explore the ideas in Gail Carriger’s book The Heroine’s Journey as an alternative story structure to the more well known hero’s journey, and how that works in different fiction formats

We also look at Farah Mendelson’s four different types of fantasy – portal quests, immersion, intrusion and liminal – and we also speculate on what the future of fantasy will be in the current dark times. Plus Nick declares that The Epic Is Dead. What do you think?

You can listen to this episode on our website, or you can subscribe on on Anchor.FM, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Guest Host:

Dave Gove:

I’ve mentioned Tolkien’s ‘On Fairy Stories’, which for me is one of the great moments in thinking about the fantasy genre. For me, that monologue at the end of Hogfather where Death explains why Santa Claus is important, that is Pratchett’s ‘On Fairy Stories’.



  • 0:00 – Introduction
  • 5:12 – Foundations of Fantasy
  • 22:16 – The Heroine’s Journey
  • 1:00:14 – Diversity in Fantasy Narrative
  • 1:31:34 – Fantasy structures in roleplaying
  • 1:48:54 – The future of fantasy
  • 1:58:48 – Wrap up & Outro

References – note: Flip still has a broken arm, so links will be added in slowly.

Isis gets Osiris back but he has to go into the Underworld every night because he is missing his phallus. She only managed to find 12 of his 13 body parts and sew him back together and invents embalming along the way.


What we have been reading:

  • Anon. Beowulf
  • Asimov, Isaac. Foundation
  • Berg, Alex P. Dagger and Steele series
  • Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre
  • Butcher, Jim. The Dresden Files
  • Blyton, Enid. The Magic Faraway Tree
  • Brooks, Terry. Shanara
  • Lord Byron. Don Juan
  • Campbell, Joseph. Mask of a thousand faces
  • Carriger, Gail. The Heroine’s Journey
  • Carrol, Lewis. Alice in Wonderland
  • Cavendish, Margaret. The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing-World
  • Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness
  • Cook, Glen. The Black Company
  • De Lint, Charles. Memory and Dream
  • De Lint, Charles. Some Place to be Flying
  • Eddings, David. The Belgariad.
  • Feist, Raymond E. Magician
  • Gaiman, Neil. ‘The problem of Susan’ (short story)
  • Herbert, Frank. Dune
  • Howard, Robert E. Conan of Cimmeria
  • Jackson, Steve and Ian Livingstone. Fighting Fantasy books
  • Jennings, Paul. Round the Twist
  • Jordan, Robert. The Wheel of Time series
  • Keyes, Gregory. Newton’s Cannon
  • Lewis, C.S. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
  • Lewis, C.S. The Magician’s Nephew
  • Lewis, Matthew. The Monk
  • Lieber, Fritz. Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
  • Lynch, Scott. The lies of Loche Lamora
  • Mandeville, Sir John. The Travels of Sir John Mandeville
  • Martin, George R.R.. A Song of Ice and Fire series
  • McCaffrey, Anne. Dragonriders of Pern
  • Mendlesohn, Farah. Rhetorics of Fantasy
  • Meyers, Stephanie. Twilight series
  • Moore, Alan. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
  • More, Thomas. Utopia
  • Morecock, Michael. Elric series
  • Paolini, Christopher. Eregon
  • Pratchett, Terry. Discworld series
  • Potter, Beatrix. Peter Rabbit
  • Radcliffe, Ann. The Mysteries of Uldolfo
  • Rhys, Jean. Wide Sargasso Sea
  • Roth, Veronica. Divergence series
  • Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter series
  • Sapkowski, Andrzej. The Witcher series
  • Shakespeare, William. The Tempest,
  • Shakespeare, William. A Midsummer Night’s dream
  • Tolkien, JRR. The Hobbit
  • Tolkien, JRR. Lord of the Rings
  • Tolkien, JRR. On Fairy Stories
  • Walpole, Horace. Castle of Otranto
  • Webhe, Kurtis. Rat Queens
  • Wynne Jones, Diana. Howl’s Moving Castle

The passion play of Putin in Ukraine would fit perfectly in The Witcher… You couldn’t put Putin in Lord of the Rings because in the end of Lord of the Rings, Putin has to get killed on a mountain top with lava. That’s the only possible option. Is that going to happen? Probably not. Is whatever replaces Putin going to be better? Probably not? So we actually can’t have those stories any more. We can’t have nice things.


What we have been playing:

  • Balders Gate 2
  • Balder’s Gate 3
  • Battlestar Galactica
  • Battletech
  • Call of Cthulhu
  • D&D 5th Edition
  • Middle Earth Role Playing
  • Piranha Games
  • Planescape: Torment
  • Rolemaster: Shadow World
  • Shadowrun
  • Spelljammer
  • The Witcher

What we have been watching:

  • Arcane
  • Ator the Invincible
  • The Black cauldron
  • Bright
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • Carnival Row
  • Chariots of the Gods
  • Click
  • Conan the Barbarian
  • Divergence
  • Dragonslayer
  • Dungeons and Dragons movie (2000)
  • Firefly
  • A Game of Thrones
  • Great Mysteries of the World
  • The Green Knight
  • Hawke the Slayer
  • Howl’s Moving Castle
  • Isaki
  • Jupiter Ascending
  • Mad Max
  • Monkey
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion
  • Ocean’s Eleven
  • Serenity
  • Severance
  • Shanara
  • Star Trek
  • Starwars
  • Supergirl
  • Sword Art Online
  • Westworld
  • The Wheel of Time
  • The Witcher
  • Wonder Woman

Other resources:

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