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Working on the syllabus for my fantasy course! I have some questions that I'm hoping my flist will be able to help with.

1. Suggestions for critical essays or articles. So far I have Tolkien's "On Fairy Stories", Ursula Le Guin's "The Critics, the Monsters, and the Fantasists", extracts from Rosemary Jackson's 'Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion', and an article on Harry Potter by Richard Bernstein.

2. Films to watch. So so many, so little time! I'm thinking Fellowship of the Ring, Prisoner of Azkaban, and The Neverending Story. Good/not good? Better options? Maybe The Hunger Games? PotC: Curse of the Black Pearl?

3. BOOKS. The Hobbit, Goblet of Fire (not sure about this one -- Philosopher's Stone may be better?), H G Wells' short story "The Inexperienced Ghost". Should I include Earthsea? Will 18-19 year olds be able to relate? Any suggestions for works/extracts from Gaiman? I want to include Philip Pullman, but His Dark Materials is too long to read/discuss as part of the course, and the film version of 'The Golden Compass' does very little justice to the book. Maybe just the first chapter of the book?

4. TV shows:

- I'm thinking maybe one episode each from Buffy and Merlin. Would the pilot episodes work? Or maybe there are better options among later episodes?
- Possibly SPN? Although all the good episodes I can think of need context to understand. "Roadkill" is a good one, right? Something people who don't know the show will still be able to appreciate (given the awesome twist at the end)? Possibly "Dead in the Water", since it's creepy and atmospheric enough for the genre, and has some wonderful characters as well as great writing? Any other suggestions?
- I know Doctor Who is sci-fi rather than fantasy, but I can think of a couple of episodes, such as 'Blink' and 'A Christmas Carol' (the flying fish are completely awesome!), that might be fitting? Good idea?
- Game of Thrones. Definitely unsuitable to screen on campus, but I'm thinking maybe I can focus on one character (possibly Daenerys and her dragons) and show some clips that could be discussed? I really want to include GoT somehow.

Date: 2016-11-01 12:28 pm (UTC)
ext_26791: (Laura / Kara)
From: [identity profile] valeria-sg-1.livejournal.com
If you want to introduce them to urban fantasy, I would suggest the 'the Dresden Files' book series, by Jim Butcher. There's a TV show based on that that lasted only one season but that's pretty cool.

Date: 2016-11-01 04:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
Ooh, good suggestion. Thank you! Urban fantasy should really be a part of the course in some way.

Date: 2016-11-01 12:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] milly-gal.livejournal.com
I was wondering if you wanted to introduce them to something old school fantasy and it be all about the inner workings of the mind and insecurities etc. Based in our sexuality - Legend is a very good one to go with film wise.

I'd say go with The Chamber of Secrets instead of Philosophers Stone or Goblet of Fire books wise.

And for a television view Scarecrow from SPN because it's based on the urban legend but we've all had those fantasies where something incredibly scary from our childhood (scarecrows) has become a reality.

Buffy and Angel depends on the kind of fantasy you're aiming at.

I Will Remember You from Angel touches not only on the world of their own fantasy (Being able to be together despite Angel's vampire status) but the fact it is a fantasy show.

As for Buffy itself I think the film leading in to the pilot might be an idea because it shows a different take on the fantasy. How people can become bogged down in the minutia of making a buck and not telling the actual story as intended?

Blink is def an episode I'd show them from Doctor Who. Another great one would be Turn Left. The Donna era. she ends up in a new world where her destiny is changed by one simple action. Essence of fantasy perhaps?

I am so jealous, I would take your class in a heart beat!

Date: 2016-11-01 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
You are such a mind reader; I've totally been thinking of both the film version of Buffy and that Angel episode! (Which, by the way, we need to talk Buffy sometime! I'm so curious about your thoughts on what you mentioned.)

Ahh, how could I have forgotten 'Turn Left'? One of my favourites. <3

Great point about 'Scarecrow' and urban legends. Definitely has great discussion value!

Lol, I wish you could be there! Since I have little space for anything else in my head when classes are on, maybe I'll post about how the course goes. ;-)

Date: 2016-11-04 11:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] milly-gal.livejournal.com
We so need to talk Buffy sometime because I have all these years of feels and ideas and emotions and mindful moments of WTF? going on ;)

As for what I mentioned, my thoughts on that are complicated, very complicated but that's a convo best placed not in one about your academic classes, lol.

I don't get to chat BtVS a lot anymore *sad face*

Good luck with it, and yes, if you *do* post pieces of the classes here I shall sit in learned silence and enjoy :D Or ya know, ramble and chew your ear off ;)

Date: 2016-11-01 02:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/_profiterole_/
Should I include Earthsea? Will 18-19 year olds be able to relate?
I think so. I read it when I was 21 (I remember because it was my Erasmus year). Also, there's a whitewashed US adaptation and a Ghibli movie adaptation. Not something to watch for the course, but they can be mentioned.

And what about something like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell?

Date: 2016-11-01 04:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
I'm trying to avoid long books because I want it to be a lighter course compared to the more traditionally academic ones, but maybe I'll put in one of the Earthsea short stories. And I think I can put Strange & Norrell on a recommended reading list that students can choose from for their essays. Thanks!

Date: 2016-11-01 03:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ragnarok-08.livejournal.com
That sounds like a neat class :DD

Blink is a great episode from Doctor Who, and a Christmas Carol sounds like a good contender for the course.

Date: 2016-11-01 04:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
I'm glad you think those are good options! Thanks. :-)

Date: 2016-11-01 04:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] daria234.livejournal.com
No suggestions but this course sounds SO COOL

Date: 2016-11-01 04:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
Haha, thank you! I plan to have lots of fun with it. *g*

Date: 2016-11-01 04:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] indiachick.livejournal.com
That sounds SO COOL.

I took a Narratives and Metaphors course in school where my professor used Game of Thrones, LOTR and Harry Potter to show us how Death is a common cause of, ironically, "rebirth" in fantasy (a la Voldemort, Lady Stoneheart, Sauron) I thought that was pretty cool.

Gaiman's "Stardust" might be interesting? Shorter than his other stuff, also more of a fantasy bent, though I think his take on fairytales (Sleeper and the Spindle, the snow white one whose name I don't remember) were also really cool. If you're looking for a different sort of fantasy, though, maybe Diana Wynne Jones? Howl's Moving Castle, Christomanci etc. There is a movie also, for that one.

If you want to add an animated non European based fantasy for some diversity I think Spirited Away would be a great movie to watch. And, speaking of animated non-European fantasy, Death Note. And if you're looking at Urban Fantasy def. Dresden Files, though I think for 18-19 year olds in this country Shadowhunters would also work well.

Edit: also for SPN episodes I think Hell House is a good one, because humor/some amount of outside POV and also "power of imagination". Roadkill is great too.
Edited Date: 2016-11-01 04:50 pm (UTC)

Date: 2016-11-06 08:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
That course sounds awesome! Great way to link the stories. Also interesting to think about how someone like Gandalf is also reborn but in a more 'purified' sort of way than 'dark' characters such as Sauron or Voldemort.

I've been oddly disappointed in my readings of Gaiman. I couldn't even bring myself to really like the episode he wrote for 'Doctor Who'. But his take on fairy tales sounds interesting, so I'll check it out. I do like some of his essays, especially the one on why we need libraries. And Death Note has been recced to me before, so I'm really curious about it.

Hell House ~is a good one! It'll be good to watch something humorous, and it's also pretty relevant in terms of the power of the internet.

Thanks so much for all the suggestions!

Date: 2016-11-01 05:05 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] bk_forever
The Buffy pilot is a great introduction, but have you considered 'Hush'? The lack of dialogue take the fantasy to a whole other level, relying on other ways to get information across to the characters as well as the viewers, it might open up some interesting topics for discussion.

Also, books, would you have room for a bit of Terry Pratchett?

For Gaiman, I'd go with one of the Sandman graphic novels.

Date: 2016-11-06 08:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
Yes, 'Hush' is a great one. I thought of it too and my sister suggested it at once when I asked her for recs.

Pratchett should definitely be included. Thanks for reminding me! :-)

Date: 2016-11-06 10:03 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] bk_forever
You're welcome, sounds like it's going to be a very interesting course =)

Date: 2016-11-01 08:49 pm (UTC)
ext_301790: (kiki)
From: [identity profile] peachpai.livejournal.com
What about the film version of Howl's Moving Castle? It's such a lush piece of visual fantasy.

Date: 2016-11-06 08:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
I haven't watched it yet but it sounds amazing, so I'll check it out ASAP!

Date: 2016-11-01 10:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] geekslave.livejournal.com
Sounds like a really cool course!

For movies, I would suggest The Princess Bride. A classic and one of my favorites. There's also something like Labyrinth.

I think the Buffy pilot could definitely work. As for SPN episodes, I think something like "Tall Tales" could work, too. For Merlin, I'll just throw out "A Servant of Two Masters" since it's my favorite episode. :)

Stacey

Date: 2016-11-06 08:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
I love 'A Servant of Two Masters' too. *g* Also 'The Poisoned Chalice'. I'm thinking of beginning the course with 'Merlin' since it might be a good way to look at how contemporary fantasy is rooted in mythology.

Thanks for the suggestions! :-)

Date: 2016-11-01 11:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adafrog.livejournal.com
Cool course.
Have you checked out Seanan McGuire's books? She has an InCryptid series that includes a lot of little local legends and etc. http://seananmcguire.com/incryptid.php

Date: 2016-11-06 08:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
Not familiar with the series, but it sounds intriguing! Will check it out, thanks. :-)

Date: 2016-11-09 02:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] adafrog.livejournal.com
You're welcome. She's got some great stuff. And a lot of free small one shots for her series on her website.

Date: 2016-11-02 04:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ramasi.livejournal.com
Re: Gaiman – Sandman? I personally didn't like either his the novels of his I've read much, but I liked the first Sandman book a lot, and it might be interesting to have a comic as well. And also Pratchett – Guards! Guards! is my fav as an intro, but any of the stand-alones or first first parts of a series would work, and most are not super long.

IDK if you even looking for books recs, but for Urban Fantasy there's also The Golem and the Jinni, which is a pretty quiet sort of fantasy (which I guess might bore people, mind), mainly set in 19. century New York. Two other personal favs are A Stranger in Olondria (really cool about creating a world that's itself full of stories people tell) and City of Stairs (secondary world fantasy set in a modern-ish world as opposed to mediaval), but I'm not sure how long they are.

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell itself is long, but maybe one of the short stories in The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories could be interesting for alternate history/pastiche.
I'm also partial to a bunch of Beneath Ceaseless Skies (http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/) short stories, they tend towards wordy epic fantasy, but they also have a pretty cool variety of different story types (more legend-like, more fairytale-like, sci-fy elements etc, I could look up specific stories if you're at all interested).

Would just the first volume of the trilogy of His Dark Materials be too long too? I'm not sure how well the first chapter stands on its own; maybe the third? It's the one with some backstory on Lyra's life in Oxford. :/

I don't see any reason not to go with the first episode for Merlin.

I can't think of any theory.

Date: 2016-11-06 08:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
I haven't really enjoyed the two books by Gaiman I've read either. I just read the first volume of 'Sandman', but I think I'll have to read up on it to see if I can really come up with any interesting things to say about it. And that's a great suggestion for Pratchett, thanks!

Suggestions for books are always welcome! I'm going to put everything we can't discuss in class on a recommended reading list that students can choose from for their assignments, so longer books would work for that.

Yes, I was thinking of that section of His Dark Materials too. I love the descriptions of Lyra's Oxford so much, and the whole idea of daemons is too cool to not introduce to my students. Pantalaimon. <333

I think I'll probably go with the first episode of Merlin. I'm so excited about the chance to discuss it in a course. *g*

Date: 2016-11-02 07:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aletheiafelinea.livejournal.com
Maybe The Hunger Games?
Social science fiction feels belonging more under, well, sci-fi to me, but 1. I'm not really well versed in the English literary terminology, and 2. haven't seen (or read) Hunger Games anyway, so that's just a tiny doubt from my side.

How about Pratchett? I mean, it's not only pretty important for the genre, but also plays with the genre, so it'd be pretty meta.

For TV shows, I haven't watched it, but how about "Once Upon a Time"? (One of reasons being that I think urban fantasy should certainly be covered in such course, too! *reads comments* Seconding "The Dresden Files"!)

As for SPN, I'm wondering on "Hammer of the Gods", because of the whole mix of pantheons, not to mention the archangels thread, but I don't know if you'd consider it good enough. Never really been one of my favorite episodes... Also, would it make sense as a single piece?

My friend is a big Whovian, I'll ask her what she thinks. :)

Date: 2016-11-06 08:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
Yes, there's such a thin line between fantasy and sci-fi sometimes. The Hunger Games is really cool in terms of its take on dystopian worlds, which I always love.

Pratchett is a must! Thanks for the reminder. :-D

'Once Upon a Time' has a great premise, but I couldn't really sustain my interest in it. I watched the first couple of seasons (and loved all the femslash in the fandom *g*) but didn't really think it managed to live up to its potential. I can suggest it as a text for extra watching, though.

'Hammer of the Gods' is so meh, lol. But it might be interesting to discuss in terms of how it shows gods from other cultures.

I'm glad you have a Whovian friend! Jack Dav's wife played the antagonist last season, so you should watch it just for her if nothing else. ;-)

Date: 2016-11-03 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] chaosmaka.livejournal.com
HELLO

CAN I SUGGEST EYEWITNESS AS TV SHOW?
CAN YOU PLEASE WATCH IT
LIKE
YES
TER
DAY
AND
THEN
COME
AND
SCREAM AT
ME?
PRETTY PLEASE?
WITH CHOCOLATE
ON TOP.

THE END.

Date: 2016-11-06 09:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
EYEWITNESS HAS BLOWN MY MIND AND YOU ARE ENTIRELY TO BLAME <333333

MY TURN: PLEASE WATCH CLASS. WATCH IT WATCH IT. You will adore Charlie/Mattheusz.

Date: 2016-11-04 02:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] alumfelga.livejournal.com
Hi, I'm a friend of a friend, she said you'd like any suggestions :)

I'm not an expert, but I don't see many fanstasy elements in "Blink" - the angels are just creepy statues for the most of the episode, and the whole plot revolves around time travel and its paradoxes. I'd pick "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe" instead. "Eleventh Hour" feels like a fairy tale to me, but maybe it's just me. Same thing with season 5 finale, but you can't show it without context.

Other things that came to my mind: Howl's Moving Castle (the book) or something from Pratchett, if you're looking for a different take on fantasy.

Good luck with the course!

Date: 2016-11-06 09:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
Thank you for coming by! Suggestions are most welcome. :-)

Heh, I know. 'Blink' is just a favourite, but since it's from Sally Sparrow's PoV, I thought it would make sense without much context. But yeah, I totally agree that it's way more in the realm of sci-fi than fantasy. Guess I'll just have to run a sci-fi course sometime. ;-) 'The Doctor, The Witch, and the Wardrobe' is a great suggestion, thank you! I'm not doing Narnia since the students are reading 'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe' for another course, so it'll be a good way to talk a little about Lewis too. I really love 'Eleventh Hour' too: it captures so much of the fairy tale feel of Moffat's stories.

Pratchett is a must, and 'Howl's Moving Castle' sounds awesome -- I'm going to check it out ASAP. Thank you. :-)

Date: 2016-11-05 03:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] woodenshores.livejournal.com
I don't have anything to contribute mainly because you already have a ton but this class sounds SO FREAKING AMAZING.

Date: 2016-11-06 09:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
Thank you! I'm planning to have lots of fun with it. *g*

Date: 2016-11-10 03:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dancingdragon3.livejournal.com
Just stopping to offer more squees for this class!

Also, I third "Hush" and I love the Neverending Story. Some good, classic themes and symbols there.

Date: 2016-11-11 03:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lyryk.livejournal.com
Thank you! There's a gap between planning and execution, but I hope things go well. :-)

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