We spend a lot of time on this podcast talking about how authors are subverting or downright overturning classic SFF tropes. But there are still merits of entrenched tropes, after all, tropes became such because they were enjoyable and worked, so people reused them.
It’s often said that grimdark is popular because it rejects good and evil in favour of a greyer world where the hero can be the villain. Even where a protagonist has a greyer moral compass, can we ever really escape this dichotomy? Is all fantasy fiction ultimately about good versus evil?
We interviewed bestselling fantasy author John Gwynne on his approach to fantasy tropes, the power of choice, using mythology and religion as inspiration, and the lack of diversity in most fictional character representations. John also explains his love of historical reenactments and how they can be a great source of detail you might otherwise never know about when it comes to adding authenticity to your historically-inspired writing.
We highly recommend picking up John’s novels if you haven’t already done so. To whet your appetite, the first series was prompted by asking the following question after having finished reading Milton’s Paradise Lost: ‘What would Satan have done next?’
John Gwynne studied and lectured at Brighton University. He’s been in a rock ‘n’ roll band, playing the double bass, travelled the USA and lived in Canada for a time. He is married with four children and lives in Eastbourne running a small family business rejuvenating vintage furniture. He is the author of the epic fantasy series The Faithful and the Fallen including Malice, Valour, Ruin and Wrath, and his latest series, Of Blood and Bone.
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Texts and authors mentioned in this episode include:
- JRR Tolkien
- David Eddings
- David Gemmell
- A Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark
- First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie
- The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence
- Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
- Vicious by VE Schwab
- Despicable Me
- The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
- Paradise Lost by John Milton
- Dark Age Warrior by Ewart Oakeshott
- Game of Thrones