JRR Tolkien, in explaining why it took so long for him to write The Lord of the Rings, said that his ‘tale grew in the telling.’ It’s an expression that evokes the process of creating and discovering stories, now used by the likes of George RR Martin and many others.
It’s also just one of about a thousand quotes about storytelling we could have used for the beginning of this piece.
There is much said about how we are surrounded by stories and narratives. There is also much said about the type of stories we enjoy; the spy story, the ghost story, the fairytale and the detective story. About how our tastes lie in what excites us about these narratives, and what frustrates us too.
The aim of our podcast is to look at how these stories came about. How they have been formed throughout the years to become what we recognise today, sculpted into the archetypes and plots that we expect to see in our cinemas and on our bookshelves. To think of narratives as heroes, and look at their origins.
Simply put, to look at the story of stories.
Each series will concentrate on a particular genre, with each episode looking at a milestone in its evolution. Often they will be books, films and TV series, but nothing is off the table. Often genres are affected by particular and surprising things: video and board games, social movements and political crises.
The first series will look at Fantasy, from the Faerie tales of the Victorian Era to Tolkien’s classic masterworks, and from Game of Thrones to Harry Potter and Toni Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone. Over about 14 episodes, we aim to map how Fantasy has changed throughout the years, and what these changes tell us about the period in which the texts were born.
It might seem like an impossible task to pin down so many books, films and games in so little time. Luckily, we have an exciting list of guests made up of incredible writers to help us navigate the twists and turns of the genre. But, you know, it may take us more than 14 episodes, too.
After all, some tales grow in the telling.
We hope to give you, and all our listeners, both a fresh look at classic novels and films as well as an introduction to some forgotten gems. We hope that you will tune in to hear amazing people talk about amazing art. We hope that some of you will even read and watch along with us, so that we may solve the puzzle of genre history together.
Most of all…we hope you enjoy our story.
Julian and Kat