On Wednesday, January 23, the first episode of The Fantasy Realm aired, and it was titled, “The First Quest.” It seems only fitting that it ends with “The Final Quest.”
The final episode really centers around two main ideas: the human imagination and the end of a hero’s journey.
I started thinking about the final episode around the time I wrote Woods of Whimsy. Around this time, a lot of final projects started popping up, and it became very clear that the end of the semester was just around the corner. So, I began to think about my last episode as an epic finale to a great saga. For that, I needed to go all in with production, and I did.
When I started looking for music, I knew that I wanted to go back to the roots of this show. It is called “The Fantasy Realm” and so, the final episode should be of the fantasy genre.
Though I knew the kind of music I wanted for this episode, I think I changed the playlist about twenty to thirty times. I kept rethinking the story again and again, and with it, the music.
Still, a few songs on the playlist were staples from the very beginning, including “Edge of Night (Pippin’s Song)” and Enya’s “May It Be”, both from The Lord of the Rings.
Along with this idea of keeping to the fantasy genre, I thought it’d be nice to write with, for lack of a better term, “classic” fantasy in mind. When people (who aren’t fans of fantasy) think of fantasy, they often go straight to magic, elves, dwarves, battles, and mythical beasts. So, I wanted to keep true to that by having elves and dwarves as our main characters along with a major battle at the center of the story.
Still, I also wanted to keep to the true nature of fantasy. The genre asks of you to expand your imagination and to create what your wildest dreams can come up with. This is where Fanntasia and Nocna Mora come in. These are original world concepts mixed in with “classic” fantasy.
Another staple of the fantasy genre, or any fiction story, is the idea of The Hero’s Journey. Though this is a bit difficult with a show that is designed to showcase a different story each week, I still wanted to pay homage to the end of a hero’s journey. So, I took the traveler to the origin home of all the tales: The Fantasy Realm.
I also wanted to make sure that the hero (the traveler) had an opportunity to show what they learned on their journey. Ideally, the traveler has been listening to the whole show since the beginning and has had the chance to exercise their imagination and daydreaming skills.
It was imperative to me that I did not tell the traveler how they destroyed Nocna Mora. A huge part of this show is that it is interactive, so I wanted the ending of this story to be left to the traveler’s imagination. You get to decide how exactly you defeat Nocna Mora. I just made you the path to get you to face the sorcerer.
In Fanntasia, I was also able to include major easter eggs from all the fantasy stories of the show, give you the recognition as a traveler with a statue, as well as explain why the show is coming to an end.
Apart from that, I did this as a way to get a peek into the world of The Sage, who is also a character in the show, though we only see her as the narrator.
One night, I actually got quite excited about this and decided to create her using an app. Fun fact: her name is Adelaide Sage, because Adelaide has the same letters of my pen name twice, A. D. Sage. Here she is:
Of course, The Sage One is not the only character in The Final Quest. We also have King Vobrik Noblestone and Queen Arcaena Faewynn.
I admit, I love reading and writing dialogue. It’s my favorite part of any writing I do, and so I wanted to play with that in this final episode. Knowing a good portion of the episode would be dialogue, I figured it would get boring really quickly to hear me do some terrible accents. So, I recruited two voice actors to play my queen and king.
A special thank you to my good friends, Ally Urban and Aidan Brueckner, for taking time out of their busy schedules during the last week of classes to record their lines for my show. They added a whole new level to the episode, and I am so grateful for them.
With character-building comes world-building, especially in the fantasy genre. Though it’s nearly impossible to world-build in such a short amount of time, one way to do it is through language, and I love making up languages.
For Fanntasia, I wanted to play with Irish Gaelic and Slovak to make an interesting-sounding combination. So, some short names derive from those two languages such as Fanntasia (Irish) and Nocna Mora (Slovak for nightmare).
Arcaena’s armor spell “nechalig slova chuid le od vasho armur” is a fun mixture of the two languages, and it very, very roughly translates to “let my words be your armor.”
A few more fun facts:
- The City of Aaucan does have one permanent resident. Her name is Nami, and she is a woman who prefers poisonous plants over people.
- I did a small nod to one of my favorite character relationship dynamics in the whole fantasy genre: that of Gimli and Legolas in The Lord of the Rings. Their interactions with the kill count are so fantastic, and I just had to make a small nod to it by having my own elf and dwarf have their own kill count.
In each fantasy tale, I always try to have some kind of message I want to leave with the traveler. Often times, it’s very closely related to the story itself. This time, I wanted to leave a message that is extremely important to me and that has a very firm grip on my heart.
I do not have the resources or ability to explore the depths of the sea or the vast universe. I barely have the resources to explore this entire planet. However, I can very easily explore one of the most vast areas in our world: the human imagination.
This is why I write fantasy. I want to explore my imagination. I want to see if I can break through the barriers society has put up in my mind and truly imagine some incredible worlds to put them into words.
Daydreaming is not a bad thing when done at appropriate times. You are an explorer, so explore. Imagine with all your might, because it truly is the most wonderful gift the universe has granted us.
I started this show as a way to keep writing in my life during my busy semester in college. I end this show a stronger and bolder writer, and I am so grateful for it.
This show has taught me so many things as a writer, and it is because of each and every one of these stories that I am a far more confident writer than I ever have been. It pushed me and challenged me in ways I never thought it would. Though it is bittersweet that it is coming to its end, it has paved the path for me to take risks and to write the books of my dreams.
I always say I hate the first episode, because it’s just so terrible. There’s hardly any writing, the music has no cohesion, the story is boring, and it’s just a mess overall. However, it has its rightful place as the first episode. It is the episode that taught me how to write the stories that came after.
I wanted the final episode to be a reflection of the first. The first showed me how to create these stories and playlists. The final took the show above and beyond. It is a look into the potential of the show. In a way, the show itself has a beautiful character arc that I did not plan, and I love that.
Thank you for accompanying me on this journey. It has been so fun writing each week for you. I hope to put a book in your hands one day, so that I may take you on even grander adventures.
Fairfarren, dear traveler.