Are you a fan of fantasy stories? Find out which stories have made it through history as the best of the best.
The greatest part of fantasy stories is that they thrive on the creation of new worlds, new people and species, imaginary universes that seem very real in our heads. We can begin a magical adventure, conquer new lands, fight villains, get the girl and live countless stories along characters that become our friends.
Anything can happen in fantasies, monsters are good and princesses are evil, there is no limit for the writers’ imagination, there are no stereotypes to follow, no status quo, animals can talk, humans can fly and nothing is what it seems.
To celebrate this great genre that has taken us into so many adventures, here is a list of the top 10 fantasy stories of all times!
If you have any title to add please feel free to share in the comment section!
- A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth #1) by Piers Anthony – First Book in the Series: The Way of Shadows (2008) Best because of setting, style and while not as big as some, and still very underground, there is a XANTH following, Xanth is a land where everybody has a special magic power, except for bink… Check out this fan tribute video for the series:
- The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss – First Book in the Series: The Name of the Wind (2007) This fantasy story is one of the most recently published on the list, and it is unfinished, just two books have been published but they´re so good! The Kingkiller Chronicle is not an epic hero journey, but a regretful autobiography by a secluded innkeeper, it’s a life lived large, filled with magic and adventure and it also includes love, music and the trials of a poor student just trying to survive until the next meal. Check out his fan made trailer for The Name of the Wind:
- The Broken Empire Trilogy by Mark Lawrence First Book in the Series: Prince of Thorns (2011) The Broken Empire Trilogy wraps an epic war around a family drama in an age story, creating fantasy series immersed in dark magic. Physically and emotionally damaged after watching the murders of his mother and brother, Jorg Ancrath, the titular of “Prince of Thorns,” becomes a coldhearted leader competing for the throne.
- The Magicians Trilogy by Lev Grossman – First Book in the Series: The Magicians (2009) It has been described as “Harry Potter for adults” associating the stories with the magical school setting. But this story actually is more relatable and real than other fantasy stories. It´s about a high school math genius, Quentin Coldwater, he is brilliant but miserable. The whole magical setting comes along with his fascination with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory because his life is disappointing by comparison.
- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis – First Book in the Series: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950) The C.S. Lewis classic Narnia Series is without a doubt, one of the greatest fantasies of all times, and has become this epic magical story that blends reality with a magical world that is supposed to be happening on a different timeline. The first book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was a great success not only in books but also in the movie theaters along with other productions of the series that had even better reviews like Voyage of the Dawn Treader or The Magician’s Nephew. Here you have one of the most epic scenes of the first movie:
- The Wheel of Time – The Wheel of Time is a series of high fantasy novels written by American author James Oliver Rigney, Jr. under his pen name of Robert Jordan. Originally planned as a six-book series, The Wheel of Time spanned fourteen volumes, in addition to a prequel novel and a companion book. Jordan began writing the first volume, The Eye of the World, in 1984, and it was published in January, 1990. The author died in 2007 while working on what was planned to be the twelfth and final volume in the series. He prepared extensive notes so another author could complete the book according to his wishes. Fellow fantasy author and long-time Wheel of Time fan Brandon Sanderson was brought in to complete the final book, but during the writing process it was decided that the book would be far too large to be published in one volume and would instead be published as three volumes: The Gathering Storm (2009), Towers of Midnight (2010), and A Memory of Light (2013). The series draws on numerous elements of both European and Asian mythology, most notably the cyclical nature of time found in Buddhism and Hinduism, the metaphysical concepts of balance and duality, and a respect for nature found in Daoism. Additionally, its creation story has similarities to Christianity‘s “Creator” (Light) and Shai’tan, “The Dark One” (Shaytan is an Arabic word that in religious contexts is used as a name for the Devil). It was also partly inspired by Leo Tolstoy‘s War and Peace (1869). The Wheel of Time is notable for its length, its detailed imaginary world, its well-developed magic system, and its large cast of characters. The eighth through fourteenth books each reached number one on the New York Times Best Seller list. After its completion, the series was nominated for a Hugo Award. According to Jordan’s French publisher, as of 2017, the series has sold over 80 million copies worldwide, and is the best selling epic fantasy series since The Lord of the Rings. Its popularity has spawned an eponymous video game, roleplaying game, and soundtrack album. On April 20, 2017, it was announced that Sony Pictures will adapt the series for television.
- The Hobbit – First Book in the Series: The Hobbit is the first novel by J.R.R. Tolkien set in Middle-earth, first published on September 21, 1937 and is set in the years 2941 to 2942 of the Third Age before the events of The Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit is set in a time “between the Dawn of Færie and the Dominion of Men“, and follows the quest of home-loving hobbit Bilbo Baggins to win a share of the treasure guarded by Smaug the dragon. The story is told in the form of an episodic quest, and most chapters introduce a specific creature or type of creature in the imaginary geography. Check out this video describing the main characters and creatures present on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Joruney:
- A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin; First book in the series: A Game of Thrones (1996) It’s not only one of the greatest fantasy stories of all times, its First Book in the Series has become one of the most popular TV shows of our times. This fantastic story base in the Middle Earth is an exquisite blend between amazing characters, power, survival, revenge, customs, religions and stories that captivate in spite of all the character killing critics. Here are some differences between the book and the HBO series, in case you were wondering:
- Harry Potterby J.K. Rowling First Book in the Series: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1997) This is one of the most beloved fantasies of all times, turning a children’s series into a millionaire franchise requires a magic touch. There is a world behind the fantastic story, there are movies, theme parks, costumes, toys and all kinds of props about J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world without forgetting a gigantic fan base around the world. Here are the 20 most memorable moments of the series chosen by the fans, in case you were getting nostalgic:
- The Lord of the Ringsby J.R.R. Tolkien First Book in the Series: The Fellowship of the Ring (1954) This one made it to number one because when we think of fantasy stories and tales The Lord of the Rings is our first thought. J.R.R. Tolkien spent a dozen years building this fantasy world in the Middle Earth. We fell in love with every location the Fellowship encountered and its rich history and language, songs poetry and extensive mythology. The story seems to complex too feel relatable, but four simple hobbits fighting in a magical world against all odds is what made the story relatable and the big hit that it is. Check out the scene that is considered the best scene from the movie series: Do you agree with our ranking? What would you change or add? Let us know!