I’m left thinking, after the events of the last week or so, about what genre fiction, and particularly fantasy, have to offer that’s relevant to the contemporary world. For me, fantasy is about a good story and about escapism, but the stories that have lingered most have generally been about individual men and women who’ve stood up for what they believed in against sometimes terrible odds and have somehow made a difference by so doing. I’m sure someone who can spare more time to think about it could sketch out an alternative version of Lord of the Rings with Rupert Murdoch as Sauron, or News International as the numberless hordes of the Nadir. Personally I get stuck when Hugh Grant becomes Frodo Baggins, or Nick Clegg becomes Druss the Legend, neither of which particularly work for me. It does seem, though, that the Forces of Darkness(TM) have had a blow struck against them by the combined might of a lot of cheesed off hobbits, barbarians and peasant-folk who, on the whole, prefer to quietly get on with their own lives, but who have, for once, raised their voices. Signing petitions and e-mailing MPs is hardly a trip to Mordor, but if there was a meta-message running through the fantasy genre as a whole back when I used to read a lot more than I do now, it was that when your back was pushed against a wall, you damn well stood up and fought for what you believed was right, and if you were going to be an aspiring Lord of Darkness, you made damn sure not to piss off the hobbits. Litfic, you can stick that in your pipe and smoke it.
Oh, and the other meta-message, because every good fantasy epic has its sequels, is that the Dark Lord and the Wicked Witch WILL RETURN just as soon as everyone lets their guard down.