This is an amazing summary of the symbolism of ravens and crows in literature. Anyone who has read my story “Frithigorn’s Birds” in New Realm knows that ravens play an important role in my Valley of Magic story world. They play an even more important role in the book I am currently revising, and will certainly appear on the cover prominently. As this was my first big project since getting serious about writing, I even adorned my very avisual blog with a raven perched at the top.
I think the cultural ideas and mythology of ravens is an important reason why they keep being used, particularly in fantasy. For me, though, it is their intelligence that strikes my interest. If you watch all those research videos of ravens completing elaborate puzzles, you cannot help but get a feeling of something almost supernatural driving a creature which what we assume to have such a tiny brain. Ravens know you, they recognize and remember you. It’s eerie. So that’s why I love them and will continue to use them in my writing.
Dragons are strongly associated withfantasy fiction, so much so thatthey have become a symbol forthegenre.Given that these imaginary beasts only inhabit the realms offantasy, fairy tale and legend, and thrillmany a reader, this makes sense. However, I’d argue the humble crow or raven pops up in fantasy books and filmsjust as often, even if it is sometimes ina more symbolic or background role.
Since I love crows, and recently changed the look ofmy blog to feature a crow rather prominently, I thought this might be a good excuse to take a closer look at thesesometimes under-appreciatedbirdsand their prevalenceinspeculative fiction.
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