In the past, we have shared our favorite real-world places which wanderlusty books have made us yearn to visit. We have also shared our favorite books set in non-USA (Europe specifically), and we are working our hardest to honor other continents and lands by finding literature as diverse in terms of place as it is in terms of cast.
But there is another kind of wanderlust entirely - one which we can never fulfill, but we do our damndest to try. One where the worlds are less real and tangible, but more engrossing and inviting than any we have come across in our own lives. These are the lands of magic, of beasts, of dragons, fairies, angels. And these are quite possibly our favorite places to be.
So this Tuesday we are sharing our ten favorite fictional lands which have stolen our hearts, in no particular order (except for #1, because let's be honest; we have made no secret of this).
1. Wizarding World (Harry Potter)
In many ways, the Wizarding World exists in perfect synchronicity with our less exciting non-magical one. From wizard-exclusive villages to international Quidditch Cup tournament gatherings, and from magic schools to magic shops - the wizardfolk have polished their track-covering skills over the years, thus ensuring peace and harmony between their world and ours, which they will defend with their very lives. Other magical lands on this list, in fact, would do well to take a leaf out of this book (though not literally, we do not condone book-violence!) where unity and accord are concerned. But the Wizarding World is also fun, whimsical, and just about the easiest place in the world to lose oneself in. Believe us, we have done it. Where else could one come across candy which makes one levitate, books with a mind of their own (literally!), and Sphinxes who speak in riddles, all in one place?
The seven Courts of the High Lords converge in Prythian, the land of the Fae. Despite the age-old war with the mortals which resulted in a wall-divide, and a tentative peace with its neighboring island-state, Prythian is evocative and magical in the most literal of ways. From the blossoming wonders of the Spring Court to the night-veiled secrets of the Night Court, Prythian is a land to be explored endlessly, and never quite mastered. Each of its Courts is a state in its own right, and each abounds in customs, traditions and rites unique to its territory and its people alone. And whether you'd prefer a land of eternal summer, or a land of eternal dawn, in Prythian there is a place for everyone. Just... make sure you're Fae beforehand. (Trust us.)3. Middle Earth (The Lord of the Rings)
You may know Middle Earth as The Land of Fantasy. This land is the birth of the fantastical races as we know them today - home to the Elven Kings, the Dwarf Lords, the mortal men, and Dark Lords alike. It is home to wizards and hobbits, orcs and goblins. And as all collide in a battle for the fate of the Middle Earth itself, modern fantasy is being born. Read carefully. You might just notice the moment you fall into this world and understand its intricacy and its vastness. And you won't be alone. Millions of others have done the same along the way.
4. Narnia (The Chronicles of Narnia)
Narnia is a place that's been imagined and loved by children for so many years, it's one of the first places we wanted to visit when we were kids, and it'll continue to remain in our hearts. It's a magical place full of such wonderful imagination, quirky characters and such beautiful scenes. I remember being a child and searching my own wardrobe to try and get into Narnia, and I think a lot of people can relate.
5. Eretz (Daughter of Smoke and Bone)
Eretz is not the most hospitable of places. It has been ravaged by a thousand years' war between the Angels and the Chimaera - a war each believes to have been started by the other side. At the time of Karou's visit to Eretz, one side is to be found banished from their homeland and on the run, and the other in hot pursuit. Eretz itself, meanwhile, is suffering the consequences - more literally than most worlds do. The skies are bruising and tearing at the seems. But even at the height of destruction, Eretz is fascinating. Expansive as it was once beautiful, immersive as it was once whole, it is a place to go back to even in its darkest hour, and admire the world of Gods and Monsters that Laini Taylor has dreamt up.
It's the home of the Greek Gods. I mean, can you imagine how cool it would be if you could sit and hang out with the Gods, who casually say things like: 'Yeah I'm God of the Sea,' 'Well, I'm the Goddess of Love,' and then tell you all that they can do. I find Greek mythology so fascinating and strange that I could sit all day and hear everything that's happened, like how Athena came out of Zeus head. How amazingly weird. Even just sitting there with their big thrones, and seeing the world and taking control. So cool.
7. Discworld (Discworld)
So, here's the thing: Discworld is a literal disc which rests on the backs of four giant elephants which stand on the back of a still more giant turtle by the name of Great A'Tuin. The Great A'Tuin slowly (as turtles will) swims through space. Discworld being a disc also makes it perfectly possible to intentionally or unintentionally drop off the edge of the world, which might result in highly amusing adventures (but side effects may vary). At first glance, there appear to be three (or four) continents, but there have been others over the years. They have just sunk, exploded, vanished, or been spatially or temporally displaced. Because that sort of thing is commonplace in Discworld and no one really gives it too much thought. Now take a moment to picture all this and try and come up with a single reason why Discworld would not be a fascinating place to visit. (Note the use of fascinating rather than healthy. We know our challenges.)
8. A Land of Ice and Fire (A Song of Ice And Fire)
In terms of expansiveness, the Land of Ice and Fire rivals the Middle Earth. In terms of its knowability, it is more along the lines of the aforementioned Discworld. Comprising at least three known continents and many yet-uncharted (but not necessarily uninhabited!) islands, there is so much of the land to explore that thousands of pages into the series, it is only scarcely less mysterious than when we first alighted on this world. This is a land where dragons are hatched in funeral pyres, where primitive tribes are oftentimes more civilized than the ruling class, and where the one on the throne is usually the one least likely to do right by it. A Land of Ice and fire is lousy with deception and political intrigue - but also with the inexplicable, the yet-to-come, and the otherworldly. And we for one can't wait to see it all converge and come to a head in the end.
9. Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland)
"We're all mad here," says the Cheshire Cat, and the reader is inclined to agree. Whether you choose to see Alice's Wonderland as a mathematical equation, as a metaphor for drug use, or quite simply a fantastical world dreamt up by a brilliant mind, the end result will be engrossing, entertaining, and possibly mindblowing (in as figurative or literal way as you choose to interpret it). We are inclined to believe that everyone's Wonderland is, in fact, a different Wonderland. And the common thread is none other than the Cheshire Cat's famous statement: "We're all mad here." (If you are feeling like madness suits you right now, you may go back and read this part in circles, from one Madness to the other. It's quite entertaining.)
10. Ravka (Shadow and Bone)
For all tired of the US trend in current YA fiction (by which we mean having every book under the sun set in the United States), Ravka is a prayer answered. Heavily shaped by the Russian history, language and traditions, Ravka is the land of mortals and magicians alike, a land of beasts and birds, where magical creatures give power, and magical creatures take it. Given its inspiration, it is also a land of the bitter cold and the still more bitter Coups. Ravka is not conducive for a holiday, for sure, and it is unlikely to give anyone a sense of great security. But if you can imagine a land where shadows consume and divide lands, where pirates rub shoulders with magicians, and princes with hunters - then Ravka might just be a world to get lost in and explore.
Share your favorite, most engrossing, or most terrifying magical worlds with us. (Bonus points if it comes with a map!) We do so dearly love to get lost in a land quite unlike, but very much like, our own. It might not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live, as Albus Dumbledore so wisely puts it, but it does only too well to roam in other lands for a while and allow ourselves to get lost. So leave us a comment below, or find us on social media, where we casually take over the world, one post at a time.
TOP 10 MAGICAL WORLDS
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