I’m pretty sure we all have that one (at least one) fantasy world that we would love to travel to, if only … (FILL IN THE BLANK) …
Why sure, I’d love to travel to Florin and Gildor (Princess Bride), if only the ROUS didn’t exist. *shiver*
Or, why not swing over to Narnia, if only there wasn’t the chance that you would grow up there and then have to turn back to your previous age when you went back to our world? (Seriously … can you imagine growing up once in Narnia—AWESOME—and then having to do it all over again in our world, where a) you aren’t a king or queen and b) you have to go back to boarding school after ruling a country and leading armies in battle! Whew. Talk about tough!)
For some people, this might be the villain. “I’d love to travel to Hogwarts but only after Voldemort has been defeated.” (Harry Potter) Or “Panem … but only if I was assured protection from the Reaping. Or only if Snow and Coin and all the rest of them were gone.” (Hunger Games) Yeah … I still don’t know about that one.
But for me, I find that my one hang-up typically isn’t related to the villain. I know, I know, that probably sounds completely and totally nuts! After all, who wouldn’t want to get the villain out of the story before you hop into it? Do you really want to have to fight the Fangs of Dang (Wingfeather Saga) or spend your time dodging the Steel Inquisitors (Mistborn series)?
Well, not exactly. But I do think that the author part of me recognizes how the villains and the challenging, sometimes earth-breaking, events they cause do shape our favorite characters and their worlds. Before his adventure in The Hobbit, Bilbo had spent most of his life stifling his Tookish side, the part of him that was attracted to wonder and longed for adventure.
Afterwards, well, he was a much more interesting fellow. If I could travel to a fantasy world, I would want to join the heroes in the fight … not hear stories about it afterward.
For the longest time, Middle Earth has been that place for me. (Now closely followed by the world of Roshar from the Stormlight Archive, because that series is incredibly epic, and if you haven’t read it yet, you should!) But while I dreamed of wandering the northlands with the Dunedain Rangers, or patrolling the rolling hills of Edoras with the Rohirrim, or strolling through leaf-strewn paths in the spring of glorious Lothlorien, there was one minor hang-up …
Okay, let’s be honest, it was a MAJOR hang-up.
Yes. It’s true. I would have a hard time embracing the beauties of Middle Earth for love of coffee. (Don’t judge now. Bilbo loved his pocket handkerchiefs. I love my coffee.) But while visiting family, I recently started reading The Hobbit aloud to my little sister. It’s actually been a few years since I sat down and read it all the way through.
And I made the most incredible discovery!
“Some called for ale, some for porter, and one for coffee, and all of them for cakes; so the hobbit was kept very busy for a while. A big jug of coffee had just been set in the hearth, the seed-cakes were gone, and the dwarves were starting on a round of buttered scones, when there came—a loud knock.”
– The Hobbit
Folks, we are saved, there is coffee in Middle Earth!
Done. Sold. When can I pack up and move there?
How about you? What fantasy world would you love to go to, and what one hang-up—minor, or major, like coffee—would make you pause before leaping into the portal to get there?
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