Religion has been part of our society for centuries. Is it any wonder then that it can make up a large part of our fiction – from CS Lewis’s allegorical Chronicles of Narnia series to Anna Smith Spark’s Empires of Dust trilogy and the Loki books by Joanne Harris.

But with so many religions the world over, just what kind of pantheons are making it into the books we read? What kind of religious customs are authors creating in their fictional worlds, and to what purpose? What does the portrayal of religion in our fiction tell us about our own society?

The portrayal of religion is also tied up with the history and traditions of a world. “This is how we’ve always done it” can be antithetical to the hero and his or her journey and destiny. Religion, with its rites, rituals, and reliance on ancient entities, can be part of “why we do it how we’ve always done it.”

Joining us for this episode to share his perspective on religion, tradition, and history in fantasy is Andrew Knighton, author of the exceptional novella Ashes of the Ancestors, published by Luna Press. Thank you for joining us Andrew. Tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and your work.

Texts and authors mentioned in this episode include:

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
  • Empire of Dust trilogy by Anna Smith Spark
  • Loki series by Joanne Harris
  • Deadwood
  • The Vicar of Dibley
  • A Song of Ice and Fire by George R R Martin
  • Galactic Milieu Series by Julian May
  • Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon

Andrew Knighton

Andrew Knighton is an author and freelance writer, specialising in writing about history and imaginary worlds. He lives in Leeds with his partner and a curious cat named Spooky.

He indulges in all the best hobbies: comics, wargames, board games, roleplay games (both live action and tabletop), and of course reading genre fiction.

You can find him on Bluesky as @aknighton and on Mastodon as @gibbondemon.