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Myth and Folklore

by Gail Z. Martin

At the last couple of conventions I attended, I was on several panels about myth and folklore.  It was a lot of fun discussing how myth and folklore show up in fantasy, as well as how as writers we use myth and folklore to create our own stories.  We talked about modern myths and how myth influences the real world, both in terms of deliberate mythmaking and pop culture/urban legend terms.  For talking about stories that were thousands of years old, the conversation sometimes got rather heated!

I like to draw inspiration from myth and folklore because I figure that if something about a trope or archetype has captured human imagination for hundreds or thousands of years, it’s good.  So I enjoy adapting and adjusting folkloric and mythic elements to make them my own, and to fit them into the world of the Winter Kingdoms.

Of course the conversation came around to vampires, werewolves and magic, which are intrinsic elements of folklore and mythology.  I mentioned how I still chuckle about the one book reviewer who was very impressed that I had “used urban fantasy tropes like vampires and werewolves” in a medieval, epic fantasy.  Of course, urban fantasy stole the tropes from medieval folklore!

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