History vs. Historical Fantasy: It’s Much More Interesting When There’s Dragons

After another prolonged silence – here I am, again!  I tend to fall off the face of the earth when I’m embroiled in reading a new series of books, and that’s what happened this time.  I get too caught up in the story world to have much patience for the real world! Who needs it?  (Well, I do, actually.  My real world is pretty damned awesome these days.)

The series I read was Naomi Novik’s Temeraire series, which is basically about the Napoleonic wars, a la a combination of Hornblower and Sharpe – plus dragons.

Yes.  Dragons.

And Napoleon.

Who could ask for more??  Not me, for sure.

I love historical fantasy, I really do.  But it’s funny, because I never had much of an interest in history itself.  I dropped it as a subject in school as soon as I met the required number of credits, and that was that.  It never caught my interest.  Partly due to the way most subjects are inevitably taught, dry and fact-based with little to no interactive stimulation.  But also due to the nature of the subject itself.

Simply, it never lived up to my expectations.

What I wanted from history was for it to be like Lord of the Rings or an Icelandic saga.  But all we studied were endless wars, bureaucracy and legislation, memorising dates and the names of dead people.  Blah di blah.  Where were the daring adventures??  The intrigue and cunning??  It wasn’t there, and thus my interest was at a minimum.

So that’s why I like historical fantasy – it’s history as it should have been!

Because, quite frankly, I would have enjoyed learning about the Napoleonic wars a lot more if dragons were involved.

2 responses to “History vs. Historical Fantasy: It’s Much More Interesting When There’s Dragons

  1. That series is one of my favourites ever. The way Novik has combined her research, her passion, and her fantasy is just breathtaking.

  2. Agreed! And Temeraire is an amazing character, much more interesting and thought-provoking than the usual draconic stereotypes. Even Anne McCaffrey’s dragons of Pern can’t compare!

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