Harry Potter and Eragon Are Useless

Why Fantasy Fiction Fails Humanity

A look at Amazon.com’s best selling teen books list reveals a list of fantasy books. These novels include series like Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance,  Rick Riordan’s Son of Neptune and Stephanie Meyer’s Breaking Dawn. As high school students we don’t really read much. But if you look at all the books that people our age do read, the most successful ones are fantasy novels. Our generation is engrossed in this genre which includes fantasy series like Harry Potter, Eragon, Twilight, Percy Jackson, and The Hunger Games –  just to name a few.

Why are we so captured by these books that to me are all monotonous and apply to nothing that we do? These books don’t teach us any morals nor do they pertain to what we actually encounter every day. What I mean by this is that none of these books are going to help us because we are never going to have to face a dark wizard or a tyrannical king in a medieval realm. We won’t have to fight against the gods and we will never have to make the choice between a vampire and a werewolf.

Books like these don’t teach us about nor highlight the real and devastating problems on planet Earth: war, disease, poverty, racism, the environment – just to name a few. Instead they touch on already well established and cliché morals.

In past generations the most influential and successful books were novels like To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960) and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (1936) which together sold over 60 million copies and inspired films. These books dealt with real world problems like cruelty to African Americans and the Civil War.

Why is our generation seemingly the first to be enraptured with fantasy? It seems disastrous. Are our attention spans so low that we have to be taken on a ride to a mystical and fake land to be entertained?  I hope not.