J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were good friends within their academic community at Oxford. Among their conversations, dragons were said to be mentioned as often as the average person might discuss the weather. I think many people have developed a preference for talking about the “dragons” that we can experience nowadays. The weather is just too stormy.
Fantasy has become a means of lifting the burden of the social anxiety of the past year – by compartmentalizing it into a darker, less-visited corner of our psyche. Let’s be honest. It’s far more enjoyable to sit back and talk about the world of entertainment than it is to discuss COVID-19.
It’s more relaxing to look into the latest streaming service than it is to research the latest strains of the virus that have developed in recent months (in locales as diverse as the US, the UK, South Africa, and China). Meanwhile, the fandoms have had plenty of time to do their homework and make theories regarding their favorite franchises.
It’s nice to leave behind your day-to-day worries and binge something you’ve been wanting to watch. It’s nice to get away from it all, slip into someone else’s shoes, and wait for the problems to just work themselves out.
The last year has not only been surreal in its actuality. It has made us turn to escapism all the more, making for a life that increasingly feels like walking in a dream. As much as I love reading about Hobbits and watching dragons swoop down upon their prey, I think I also need to start noticing the weather again, to look at the sky above the dragons. Soon summertime will begin to blossom, and with it – hope.