Writer’s Glossary: Requiem Fantasy

Today on the Writer’s Glossary…
Requiem Fantasy:
This is a term I came across about fifteen years ago to describe a particular, and possibly under explored, genre of fantasy writing.
Unlike the Gothic style of daemons falling into particular categories such as the Vampire, Werewolf or Mummy, requiem fantasy instead takes its inspiration from the medieval imagery of damnation and redemption.

Used to describe a work that in some way involves Heaven, Hell and the battle ground of Earth in a drawn out conflict between the agents of the divine and the fallen. Although the sides can get directly involved, plots usually involve human intermediaries with only fleeting moments of supernatural presence as the angels and daemons often seem to decline the opportunity to get their hands dirty.

requiem fantasy

Requiem fantasy doesn’t have to be horror, but it is often explored in this genre. Image: The Exorcist © 1973 – Warner Brothers – All Rights Reserved

Playing on the themes of ritual and the battle for souls or ancient relics, involving characters – both human and other – with unknown origins and intentions locked in an eternal struggle for dominance, it opens up a rich, dark theatre of possibilities.
Examples of this genre include Constantine (TV show from the comic, Hellblazer) and The Omen, at the horror end of the spectrum, The Ninth Gate as a mystery thriller and Dogma as a comedy.
Do you have something you’d like explained in the Writer’s Glossary? Let us know and we’ll add it.

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