It’s a strange world.
At least, I thought it was when I first set foot in it.
But aren’t new places usually, sometimes, strange at first?
Within this world lives creatures I’m unfamiliar with – monsters with gnashing teeth, razor sharp claws, large wings, and too many other characteristics to name. Some have magical abilities while others are born killers. (Although, I sometimes wonder if the real monsters are some of the humans.)
Now, this place feels like a second home. I’m absorbed in the world, transported, as it becomes real within my mind. Forest trees give shelter, mountains loom in the background, roads are treacherous, towns are burned and reduced to ash, swords clash, arrows fly, the smell of burning embers rise from the campfire at night, and monsters hide in the shadows. These places and the characters leap off the pages. Although, they’re more than mere characters. Some of them are my companions. In fact, I would go as far as to say they’re my friends.
We’ve been together on a daily basis for the past four months. We’ve traveled great distances, across many lands. We’ve been on numerous adventures and camped under the stars at night. We’ve met a variety of people as well as many different species of creatures. And we’ve defended each other in battle many times.
So, what world am I traveling through? I’m not sure it has a name. I don’t remember if it does or not, but it’s the world of The Witcher.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to talk about specific books, specific adventures, or even the series in general. I would hate to accidentally leak spoilers. (Especially when I believe you should experience it all for yourself.)
No, I just want to talk about this world and how much I love it, how I’ve grown to care about the characters and look forward to our adventures.
I recently finished the seventh book (if you count the collections of short stories) and thought that was the end. I was under the impression my time in this world was over, that I would have to say goodbye to my companions…but there’s still one book left. I discovered it hiding out on my bookshelf. When I found it, I was overcome with joy because I didn’t have to say goodbye just yet. Now, I can spend a little longer with these characters in this world I’ve grown to love.
I think we all discover those books, those series, that have the power to capture us and take us away. And if we’re lucky we find them more than once. (The last time I remember being truly swept away to a fantasy world was many years ago, in middle school, when I journeyed through Middle-earth.)
Some days, I feel like I’m stuck in this world. (Not in a bad way, of course.) There are times when I’ll read all day and everything else slips away. Even after, long after, I’ve closed the book, I find myself reliving the adventures written on the pages. I discover myself still traveling with my imaginary companions.
But don’t we all need to slip away from reality sometimes?
Don’t misunderstand, I love reality. There’s so much beauty in this world. (Right now, it’s spring – trees are leafing, flowers are blooming, birds are singing, the sun is shining. And there are also many beautiful people, beautiful souls, walking this earth.)
But, sometimes, things happen and all we wish for is a momentary reprieve.
And fantasy is a great escape.