Many people read fantasy. It is a popular genre, and for good reason. To many fantasy provides an escape from the world that we currently live in. It allows one to step through the door and play in a different world for a time, allowing them to disconnect from reality.
This is not the reason that I read fantasy. Nor do I read it to sit and compare who is more powerful or what the potential of what spell is. I don't have any desire to argue over which character is stronger than which character. Those reasons are not the reasons that attracts me to fantasy.
No, the reason that I read fantasy is because it is a genre that is filled with beauty and helps us to connect to the world at large. This may seem a strange thing to say as, it is clear, fantasy is a world filled with magic and dragons and beasts without names. It is filled with things that crawl through the night and for epic tales and epic songs.
However, it is this very quality of the fantastic that makes me feel so connected with the world. Allow me to explain before you leave, assuming that I'm some nerd that needs to get out more.
Far from. Think of it this way, fantasy shows us that there are things that are huge, monstrous, powerful, and even evil. Fantasy points out to us that there are strange things in the world that we may not be able to understand, or that may require a long, arduous study to begin to grasp it.
All of these things are shown to us when we read Tolkien, or Le Guin, or Eddison, or even Gaiman. In these stories we see the world as a fantastic place filled with magic and beauty beyond what we though capable. We find ourselves marveling at human action that the strange mysterious that snake beneath us.
Yet even still, when asked by others what I read, I am often times given the look that I'm so very used to from my days in high school student. It is a look that tells me that I am strange. It tells me that I am a recluse and, most of all, it tells me that I am not good at speaking to anyone, especially those of the opposite gender.
Or else I find myself in the company of those that look describes, at least in part. I find that the people who also enjoy fantasy tend to enjoy it for its more Dungeons and Dragons appeal and while I find no issues with a good game of D&D, I do find folly in cramming the genre fantasy into a box of complex rules and over explanation that, ultimately, boils down to the power someone can wield.
I don't find enjoyment in that so much as how that power affects the person, and ultimately, affects us as people. I want to feel as though I am connected to the world when I finish a book. To look at the strange world we live in and see that the world is filled with magic and that we have just grown used to such wonder.