“The man who must brag for himself knows that no one else will.” – Robin Hobb, Royal Assassin
Embarking on the Farseer Trilogy reminded me of how much I appreciate a good fantasy read. I remember the first official book that I picked off the shelves of Kinokuniya’s fiction section as I marvel at the beautiful artwork of picturesque autumn leaves and warriors, undaunted by the thickness nor the number of words. I remember the unique smell of paper the publisher favored, unlike the white smooth sheets I was used to in school. Like bees to honey, I was attracted to the portrait of warriors, to the word ‘dragons’. I didn’t realize it at that time, but the eleven-year-old me probably yearned to be a hero when he grew up.
The title of the book was “Dragons of Autumn Twilight” by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.
Finding myself in a comfortable spot leaning against the towering bookshelf, I sat cross- legged as I dived into the world of fantasy and dragons, my imagination roaring with curiosity. Being new to the descriptive writing style of the authors, I repeatedly find myself struggling with words that didn’t make sense to me. I would read long sentences, skipping the words I couldn’t pronounce or understand and often ended up with pockets of blank space in the world I envisioned. It was somewhat frustrating, but my inquisitiveness knew no boundaries. I would ask my mom, and if she too didn’t know, she would check the dictionary and get back to me. Along the way, I learned to use the dictionary as well. It was from this moment that I knew, a book was the gateway to many worlds of my choosing.
Over the years, I finished the Dragonlance Series and moved on to other series such as Harry Potter, World of Warcraft, Eragon, Black Magician Trilogy and many more. Every series I completed fueled my endeavor of becoming a hero, a protagonist of such amazing stories. But as I age, so did my take on reality. I came to realize that fighting dragons were just fragments of imagination that I would never ever experience in my lifetime. It’s no wonder Harry Potter was such a phenomenon. Every kid could relate to the feeling of wanting to be exclusive, to be the protagonist of their own story and be worthy of a hero’s title.
Now as an adult in my early twenties, I go about fighting my own battles. Only it isn’t dragons I’m fighting against, nor champions or beast. As I grow up among the perpetual streams of influences in today’s society, I constantly remind myself that the least I can be is the protagonist of my own story. Yet among the billions of human writing their own stories every day, from time to time, droplets of insignificance taint my credence and I find myself questioning if I’m really that unique after all.
While fantasy may be my favorite, I try to expend the genre of books I read periodically. Perhaps it’s a way of telling myself to give up on the foolish dream of wanting to be a hero, but the alternate between fiction and non-fiction, thrillers and biographies allow me the opportunity to taste the different delicacies of writing. And I’m glad I forced myself to, for I would have missed out on so many gems like The Rosie Project, The Last Lecture etc…
But like the cravings for a good home cooked meal, my love for fantasy will always be there in the corner of my mind, vying for my attention every so often, so that a small part of me will continue to hang on to that minuscule glimpse of hope in becoming Argonaut someday…
© 2018 Xavier Lee – All Rights Reserved / Featured Image Photographer: NeuPaddy