Discussion: Class systems in fantasy?

Forums Fiction Themes Discussion: Class systems in fantasy?

This topic contains 3 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Naiya Dyani 1 week ago.

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    Mrs. Skywalker

      Hey everyone! I know a lot of Story Embers members write fantasy up here and I know you guys take your world building seriously (as you should!)

      One aspect of fantasy worldbuilding I find interesting is the different social classes and how they interact with each other in their worlds.

      As in, what type of prejudices do they have against each other, and why?

      But what kinds of things do you think makes for a good social system and classes in fantasy societies? The things that separate the people into different classes, higher and lower? And do you feel like things like race, gender, and money for status quo are overdone in fantasy?

      Keeper Of The Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger has made an interesting social class system by making where you are judged based by your ability to preform magic (it’s a little different than magic but basically) and who you marry (which is predetermined for you based on genetic perfection).

      What are YOUR thoughts? I’d love to know. I am interested in writing fantasy, and I could use the help!

      "I never made a deal with Kanjiklub."


      Naiya Dyani

        @padawanpadme Ooh, class systems. . . something I need to work on!

        My current WIP mostly takes place in a rural mountain village where class lines are a lot more lax than they might be elsewhere. However, I am dealing with some social issues in the village that I have to figure out. See, there are two characters that give me an interesting dilemma. One is from a racially different tribe from most of the other characters, and one is deaf. I’m trying to figure out how to portray different views here, because I want my MC to be on their side (like, in an equal rights sense) but since this is fantasy in a time kind of like the 1600s-1700s, I also want things to sound realistic (i.e., not sounding like a 21st century civil rights article, you know?). Because in all honesty, for most of history, life hasn’t been easy for people that don’t fit into the norm in a culture. The problem isn’t quite as huge with Kiet, the racially different character; contention over his association with his tribe (not just from a skin tone standpoint) is already part of the plot. My bigger issue is with Kedori, my deaf character. He’s in the care of his aunt after his mother died, and he wants to go to school, but his aunt doesn’t think it’s practical (since finding a job using those skills would be much harder in that time and place with the deafness factor added in). I’m trying to figure out how to make my main characters take his side while still making them sound like people of their time, you know?

        If anyone has tips on this, by the way, I’m very much open to assistance! 🙂

        Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.


        R.M. Archer

        @naiya-dyani What if your MCs’ values are in line with supporting Kiet and Kedori, but the society around them has biased them somewhat against it, so it results in awkwardness and discomfort on the part of the main characters as they want to support Kiet and Kedori but aren’t really sure how, or how to balance their desire to help with what they were always taught/what they’re familiar with?

        Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.


        Naiya Dyani

          @r-m-archer Hm, that could help! This is the book I’m doing for NaNo, so even though I don’t have a ton of time at the moment to stop and rework stuff, after November (or when I get a moment–oh wait, that doesn’t happen lol) I definitely need to fix that stuff, so it’s great to have plans queued up in advance! Plus, if I can incorporate ideas right now, that means less work for me later. 🙂

          Kiet’s an interesting situation. He lived in a different country for the first thirteen years of his life, then met another character under crazy and dangerous circumstances, after which they both moved to the village the story I’m working on takes place in. At that time, he’s about fifteen or sixteen (still deciding) and has lived there for some time. He’s my INFP character and most people love him as long as they don’t have anything against Sirakani Birkatans (his tribe). The first part of the plot centers around trouble with certain people who do.

          Anyway, since he’s an INFP, I’ve heard (including from people here) that that type typically acts automatically on their values over the general biases of the culture, though they can be influenced by each other. (I can also agree with this generalization since I’m an INFP 😉 ) So far in the story, when Kedori is bullied, Kiet steps up with more passion than you usually see out of him. One of my other characters takes a passive bystander stance to most of the bullying that happens to Kiet and Kedori. The main one I have an issue with is my INTJ(ish?) MC. Gotta figure out how she’ll react!

          But yeah, incorporating your advice could definitely add a valuable layer of realism to all that. Thanks!

          Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.

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