Tuesday, December 5, 2017


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"I can foresee very little of your road; and how your task is to be achieved I do not know. The Shadow has crept now to the foot of the Mountains, and draws nigh even to the borders of the Greyflood; and under the Shadow all is dark to me. You will meet many foes, and some disguised; and you may find friends upon your way when you least look for it."

Prophecies play a big role in a lot of stories, fantasy stories in particular. From The Lord of the Rings to more modern epics, we often get a foretelling or a warning, a prediction perhaps, of future events. Or of things to avoid, or that need to be done. It's often connected to the well-worn "chosen one" trope- and there can be a lot of variation in them, ranging from very simple to rather complex. One thing prophecies seem to have in common though is the mystery of them-  are they true, where do they come from, can they be changed?

I don't mind a prophecy in stories as long as they're done well and it feels right. How about you? Do you like a good prophecy, or do they annoy you to no end? I certainly think they can be overdone, less is definitely more when it comes to these things. I'd like to know what you think, and I've shared a few prophecies below that I find interesting. Let me know which ones are your favorites, or which prophecy you would add.

"Do not pursue him! He will not return to this land. Far off yet is his doom, and not by the hand of man will he fall."

Glorfindel from Lord of the Rings.

The castle is always empty... Even the ravens are gone from the rookery, and the stables are full of bones. That always scares me. I start to run then, throwing open doors, climbing the tower three steps at a time, screaming for someone, for anyone. And then I find myself in front of the door to the crypts. It's black inside, and I can see the steps spiraling down. Somehow I know I have to go down there, but I don't want to. I'm afraid of what might be waiting for me. The old Kings of Winter are down there, sitting on their thrones with stone wolves at their feet and iron swords across their laps, but it's not them I'm afraid of. I scream that I'm not a Stark, that this isn't my place, but it's no good, I have to go anyway, so I start down, feeling the walls as I descend, with no torch to light the way. It gets darker and darker, until I want to scream. 

Jon Snow from A Song of Ice and Fire, having a prophetic dream.

All that is gold does not glitter, 
Not all those who wander are lost, 
The old that is strong does not wither, 
Deep roots are not reached by the frost, 
From the ashes a fire shall be woken, 
A light from the shadows will spring, 
Renewed shall be the blade that was broken, 
The crownless again shall be King. 

The Lord of the Rings 


  1. Very interesting post, Greg! I actually enjoy prophecies, but I agree it has to feel right and they need to be done well, otherwise there's really no point. Also, everything about (Jon Snow) GoT is interesting in my opinion ;)

  2. I totally believe in prophecies in real life, so when I see them in books, I'm pretty much always on board because they make me think. I think a lot of people may read them in books, but not necessarily understand them because sometimes they can be so deep.I also believe that certain people have the gift of prophecy. I think I've already mentioned that I'm a hardcore LOTR fan and have the old and new school memorabilia and books. I also have all the movies on DVD which people have 'tried' to borrow, but never get. (lol) Great post. Hugs...RO

  3. Prophecies are tricky aren't they? They have to give clues but not give too much away. I like the example you gave from GoT. One of my favorite prophesies is from Harry Potter. Rowling gave us the prophecy in book 5 and we see it fulfilled in book 7. What I like about her prophecy is that she says it only was fulfilled because Voldemort chose to act on it.

  4. It’s a well used trope to have a prophecy and then find out it’s about the unsuspecting MC but I’m a sucker for them. So I guess I’m OK with them.

  5. Ohh I like this topic! It's hard- I think it HAS to be done really well, in a way that the reader doesn't know if it will be fulfilled or not. I have seen some in books, and you just KNOW that the MC is going to defeat whatever this thing is, and it's so obvious it's eye-rolling, and ends up almost seeming like a spoiler. But I have also seen them done well, and I think if they are done right they can really up the stakes. I love when they're really eerie (like Nostradamus-level, those freak me out and are the BEST), and just kind of unique in general.

  6. I love them almost as much as I like conspiracy theories. The only time I growl is when they are never answered or explained. Fantastic post Greg!

  7. Generally speaking, I hate prophecies. And chosen ones. It makes it seem like people don't have free will because everything has already been decided by fate or something. That being said, I've still enjoyed some books w/ prophecies. In fact I review going up tonight for a book in a series I really like that has a prophecy, because everything else in the series is done well, and I guess the prophecy part is written in a way that it doesn't really bother me.

  8. A prophecy for me has to be clear, resolved before the end and add something to the plot. If it is too vague or over complicated I can lose interest.

  9. Awesome post Greg. I've actually come to realise that I love prophecies if done well. I love when the author manages to basically insinuate the ending but you never guessed it and then when there are revelations along the way that you kick yourself that you never saw.

    In saying this though they can definitely be overdone so just because there is a prophecy doesn't make it an auto buy for me...

  10. Prophecies and Fantasy seem to go hand in hand.

  11. hummm those are good questions! I didn't use to mind prophecies either but I think I have read way too many books now and they are starting to bother me a little :)

  12. Interesting discussion. Prophecies are tricky so when they appear in the stories, I always intrigued of what will happen next. Some are pretty straightforward, others are open to intepretation. What I think the most interesting is when the person in the prophecy unknowingly set the things in motion himself to avoid the prophecy like Voldemort did :)

    Tasya // The Literary Huntress